Ep 9 – 12 Ways a Smart Coaching Niche Empowers You

This episode is part of my Smart & Profitable Niche Series. Hey, I know I’ve been talking a lot of coaching niches in my podcast so far.

And I know that topic might make you groan … because it’s so hard to figure out on your own.

But let me clue you in to my strategy in focusing on this topic for a while.

  • 93% of coaches struggle with choosing a smart & profitable niche. It’s a big issue.

Do you have to choose a coaching niche? No.

Some say let your niche find you.

You can just float around, stay a generalist, coach all sorts of people about all sorts of topics.

I think that’s a good way to go if you haven’t consciously chosen to become an entrepreneur. You’re just trying this coaching skill set on. You don’t expect to earn much. You just love the process.

But if you want to leave your current job and make coaching your job … if you’re serious about being your own boss and being the director of your career why not give yourself all the advantages and take the time to niche your coaching business in a smart and profitable way?

It’s a strategic approach, and an internal shift as well, away from thinking like practitioner to becoming an entrepreneur. Treating your business as a living entity that grows and changes with you over time.

I’m about to illustrate the advantages that come with focusing your business on a unique audience and niche. And notice how one advantage leads to another.

One smart decision makes everything easier and empowers you for long term success and exciting turning points in your business and life that you can’t even imagine yet.

First a quick suggestion … if you are agonizing over your coaching niche fill out an application for FREE On Air Coaching.

The way On Air Coaching works is you and I have a private business coaching session that’s recorded and later that session is aired as an episode in this podcast series.

On Air Coaching is perfect for you if you are a trained coach who hasn’t yet landed your own profitable coaching niche.

It’s okay if you haven’t done anything yet to build your business.

It’s equally okay if you’ve tried one or more niches and, for whatever reason, it’s not working for you.

In our session I’ll ask you questions to uncover possibilities. We’ll identify a fantastic target audience for you, and brainstorm what they most want and how to apply your gifts and skills to help them get it.

Knowing your audience and niche will give you a profound sense of direction and focus for you coaching business.

So apply for On Air Coaching on my website at prosperouscoach.com/8.

I’d love to work with you.

Now let’s roll out this cascade of benefits you experience when you do choose a smart and profitable niche and focus your attention on one target audience:

#1 You Have a Solid Direction and Focus

I remember when I started coaching without a niche how aimless and lost I felt. Every day was a head scratch. My brain searching around for purchase. What should I do?

First, I went to friends and family to convince them to hire me — the low hanging fruit. But those clients didn’t stay long. And I didn’t have the heart to charge them much.

I also noticed how hard it was to get them to focus. They brought weak agendas. There wasn’t a clear enough goal or a big enough why. It was as if my lack of focus didn’t inspire them to commit to serious process or changes.

I came away with some fluffy testimonials about the value of my coaching but little sense of true impact.

After exhausting people I knew, I palpably experienced that uncomfortable sensation of having to beat the bushes to flush out potential clients.

My marketing was pitiful but I worked so hard trying to interest people in coaching.

Having a solid niche replaced that aimless, listless feeling with certainty and focus.

#2 Your Message Stands Out and Grabs Attention

It’s not easy to get attention these days. Humans are more distracted than ever.

We flop around social media and websites in a trance. The only thing that breaks that trance is relevance.

Have you noticed how much of the same message is out there and how quickly you skip over it?

But when someone hits a hot button for you, you snap to attention.

How do we as coaches hit the hot button in our messaging?

It’s not going to be by talking about coaching. Because only coaches and wanna-be coaches pay attention to those messages.

What is personally relevant to you is not personally relevant to everyone.

Our brains in a constant state of overwhelm only hone in on specific words, specific problems, specific desires that are urgent to us.

When you focus your business around a smart niche with a unique target audience suddenly you’re able to speak with relevance about what those people care about.

Relevance is how your message gets noticed, liked, shared.

#3 You Know What to Do Each Day

Because you’ve focused your attention on a unique target audience and found out their urgent challenges and desires, the spotlight comes off of you onto them.

And suddenly, marketing is no longer the big scary.

You know what to do.

And if you need help learning what to do, the money you spend on training applies now, because you are 100% clear about your audience and niche.

Suddenly, you have the understanding about where to go to find these people and the courage to speak in a way that attracts them.

You know what they want. You understand their problems. You know more about why they invest in their transformation.

And you’re no longer throwing out random messaging and offers like spaghetti and hoping it will stick.

#4 Your Marketing Efforts Are Leveraged (So You Can Market Less)

Over time your consistent messaging and strategic approach gains power and momentum.

Attention becomes interest and interest becomes engagement.

#5 You Become Known and Trusted By a Community of Engaged People

Trust turns engagement into investment … in your programs.

#6 You Get More Client Referrals

Because you’ve geared your offers to fit your audience’s challenges and goals, your coaching produces more than just warm fuzzy feelings.

Your clients are getting tangible results. The kind of results you can put into a testimonial on your website.

They will refer other people in the tribe to you. Not just a casual referral but a specific testimonial about how your program helped them.

#7 Prospects Seek You Out Already Pre-sold on Hiring You

You’re known, liked and trusted. You’re on the inside of your target audience now.

They Google and find you.

And when they arrive on your website they’ll go directly to your Work With page wanting to hire you.

#8 You Know How to Enroll Without Being Salesy

Enrolling is easy now. There’s no convincing. There’s just a connective conversation that helps ideal prospects to “YES”!

#9 You Command Higher Fees

You’re a leader now. A sought after guide.

Before you tell them your fees they know it will be a significant investment in their growth and they’re ready to leap.

#10 It’s Easier to Create Irresistible Products & Programs

With your experience coaching one target audience who have a set of unique challenges and goals, you grow expertise quickly.

And it’s easy to turn that expertise into workshops, masterminds, retreats and online products.

Write the book. Launch the podcast. Grow!

#11 Big Opportunities Find You

The natural result of your commitment and focus on one smart niche and narrow audience is invitations

Invitation to speak. Nominations to lead a larger group.

It’s surprise time. Your Magic is fully awakened and alive.

I’ve had clients who because they stood out in the crowd were provided platforms to get their word out in a massive way or offered jobs in coaching firms or brought internally into an organization to coach the organization.

Those opportunities don’t show up if you’re a tiny voice in a sea of voices all saying the same basic thing.

#12 You Build a Legacy Business

Coaches have been sponsored, televised and awarded all because they had the courage to niche, specialize and become an advocate for one narrow audience.

Coaches contribute to their families and their communities in major ways.

Some coaches build a business that employs dozens or hundreds. A business that can be sold for a windfall.

It all starts with a smart & profitable niche.

Mentioned in This Episode

My next episode is W/hy Do Some Coaching Niches Fail?

Ep 8 – 3 Crucial Parts of a Smart Coaching Niche

With today’s episode we’re heading into a new series — Smart and Profitable Coaching Niches.

I know you might be groaning about this topic because the whole niche thing feels so hard.

But this is my super power ya’ll.

Helping coaches design a smart and profitable coaching niche is the first thing I help my clients do.

Because … building a coaching business without a smart niche is like building a new house without a foundation.

Think about it. If the foundation is good, the house is solid and secure. It won’t fall down.

If the foundation is crap, the house feels flimsy.

If you’ve been feeling like your business is a bit flimsy and you don’t know exactly what to do every day to attract clients that pay you well … it’s worth your time to get this centerpiece of your business right.

And I’m sorry to say that a majority of coaches that I meet have glossed over their niche or haven’t decided Instead they put up a website selling a certain type of coaching or all types of coaching and it doesn’t work.

If you haven’t listened to my last episode called — Why is Coaching a Hard Sell?check it out here.

It explains why selling a certain type of coaching is hard — too hard to enjoy and earn well. It’s a great primer for everything I’m going to talk about from here on.

Most coaches only consider what they want to coach about. And it leaves out the most essential thing — who you serve and what they want so much they’d be willing to invest money to get it.

Over the next several episodes I’ll reveal my process for helping coaches choose their niche.

First, a quick announcement …

I’m now accepting applications for free On Air Coaching.

The way On Air Coaching works is you and I have a private business coaching session that’s recorded and later that session is aired as an episode in this podcast series.

On Air Coaching is perfect for you if you are a trained coach who hasn’t yet landed your own profitable coaching niche.

It’s okay if you haven’t done anything yet to build your business.

It’s equally okay if you’ve tried one or more niches and, for whatever reason, it’s not working for you.

In our session I’ll ask you questions to uncover possibilities. We’ll identify a fantastic target audience for you, and brainstorm what they most want and how to apply your gifts and skills to help them get it.

Knowing you audience and niche will give you a profound sense of direction and focus for you coaching business.

I’d love to work with you.

Okay let’s dig into this niche thing!

Most Coaches Only Choose a Track

First, let’s define it because in my nearly 2 decades of studying coaching niches there are some big gaps between what some call a coaching niche and what I’d call a coaching niche.

Some people say that a coaching niche is the area you focus on, for example:

  • Health and Wellness
  • Relationship
  • Career
  • Business and entrepreneurship
  • Executive and Corporate Leadership
  • Spirituality

See, to me, these are not quite niches.

I would call these coaching tracks instead. You might have taken coach training in one of these areas and don’t worry because it will be very valuable to you and your clients.

You might have set up your website, messaging and offers to sell that certain type of coaching. That usually doesn’t work well as I covered in the last episode.

Few people buy coaching for the sake of being coached. But they will invest in help to overcome specific urgent problems and to reach their goals.

To be able to speak about specific goals and challenges focus your efforts on a specifc audience.

Choosing a Specialty is a Smart Step

Now some coaches take a wise step towards a smart niche and name a specialty.

For example, a wellness coach might focus on weight loss, or a relationship coach might focus on dating.

That’s smart because it speaks to a specific PROBLEM people have. I’ll come back to these examples in a minute.

If you’ve specialized on a certain problem, take an additional step and target a unique audience.

The 3 Essentials

1. A single narrow target audience.

2. That target audience’s urgent problems and desires.

3. Your savvy solution for that audience which incorporates your skills, talents — everything in your toolbox.

Let’s take these one at a time.

A target audience, also called a target market or a tribe by Seth Godin, is a unique group of people defined by a common set of specific interests, challenges and goals.

I’m reading his latest book called This is Marketing. He says:

“Find a corner of the market that can’t wait for your attention. Go to their extremes. Find a position on the map where you and you alone are their perfect answer.”

– Seth Godin, This is Marketing

For example, what if you are a relationship coach, specializing in dating and you then decide to focus on single parents as your target audience …

Wouldn’t you agree that single parents have a set of unique challenges and goals when it comes to dating?

They have to consider their kids in every aspect of dating and also as the relationship grows.

Pre-Selling a Coach Client Without Selling At All

So suddenly, instead of selling relationship coaching, you become a dating specialist for single parents. You messages and offers are specific using language single parents relate to. And it makes building your coaching business easier in so many ways.

The single parent feel special because they feel heard and understood by you.

When you speak their language in your blogs, podcasts or videos, they trust you and you are effectively pre-qualifying and pre-selling them on your programs.

Another example … let’s say you are a wellness coach specilizing in weight loss and you target corporate executives.

Execs are overworked, overstressed individuals who need help to enhance their performance, feel more confident and present so they can get short listed for a promotion or garner favor with shareholders.

Do you see how in both examples targeting one specific audience would help you as the coach to stand out and attract attention fast?

Getting Attention is Job #1

And it’s not easy. We live in a too busy and highly distracted world. So your message will only snap people to attention if it’s highly relevant and to be relevant it has to be specific.

If you haven’t chosen a track yet, don’t worry about it. You can actually skip over that part.

Instead target an audience that’s easy for you to find and connect with, find out what they want so much they’d be willing to invest in your help to get it.

Coaches serve people. That’s why your coaching niche should be designed starting with the unique audience you serve and their real problems.

Next week I’m going to give you a clear picture of the advantages to choosing a smart and profitable niche.

You’ll be amazed how it can change your day to day as well as setting you up for long term success and and incredible opportunities. 

     

Mentioned in This Episode

This is Marketing by Seth Godin

The next episode is 12 Ways a Smart Coaching Niche Empowers You

Ep 4 – How to Feel Less Isolated in Your Coaching Business

This short episode is part of the Start Smart Series. I share 4 ways to get relief from feeling alone and isolated in your coaching business. And, I make a plea to all coaches to be good to each other in your peer groups. Let’s help each other grow instead of strutting and competing.

Ep 3 – Do You Really Need to Be Certified?

This short episode is part of the Start Smart Series.

Let’s explore a sticky question today. Do you really need to be certified in order to say that you’re a professionally coach?

It’s sticky because there are two camps — the yeas and nays — with strong opinions.

Ultimately though, whether you certify or not is your decision.

2 Types of Coach Certification

  1. Certifying through a coach training organization. You enroll, complete training and certify through some sort of review process when training is complete.
  2. Independent certification such as through the International Coach Federation (ICF). You work towards it by completing requirements and paying an application fee. You’ll need a certain number of hours of paid coaching, completed training with an accredited organization, and being mentored by people who are certified at the master level.

To maintain or advance your ICF certification you have to re-up every few years. It’s a significant ongoing investment in time and money.

NOTE: The ICF and other certifying bodies often change requirements for the various levels of certification. So, if you’re on route to certify, stay in touch with the requirements so you’re not blindsided by changes.

Independent certification helps to mature emerging fields and garner acceptance in the marketplace. ICF launched in 1995, when life coaching was burgeoning, and now has a presence in 140 countries and over 30,000 members.

There is a segment of the coaching industry who will firmly say YES, that you must be certified to be considered a professional coach. I was in that camp when I first became a coach but I’ve softened on this over the years. Let’s look at the reasons proponents give …

6 Main Reasons to Certify with an Independent Body

Reason #1    That coaches who certify are more likely to earn more and not drop out of the profession.

Reason #2    That certification distinguishes you from all the people who co-opt the term ‘coach’ but who have not been rigorously trained.

Reason #3    That maintaining certification requires you to stay in tune with best practices.

I’ll chime in here and say there’s a logic to these reasons to certify. A professional path does help you stay in the profession. However, independent certification does not necessarily mean you’ll earn more.

Your income largely depends on your coaching niche, target audience, offers and your ability to market and enroll.

Reason #4    That the public will perceive you as being a more skilled coach if you’re certified.

Reason #5    That your clients will require it.

If you go into the executive or leadership coaching track where you’ll provide services to people within corporations, coaches that are ICF certified will likely have a competitive edge.

But for many other tracks, niches and audiences, certification is a non issue as far as clients are concerned.

In my 20 years in the industry, only 2 people have asked me if I was certified and that was early on by representatives of ICF. None of my potential or actual clients has ever asked me.

And, I’ve checked recently with experienced fellow coaches, who either have never certified with ICF or haven’t maintained it. We agree that for most niches the client does not require or even ask about certification.

Reason #6.    That you may be legally required to be certified in the future.

This could happen, however, I don’t see a lot of energy being put forth to move in that direction.

Regulation would likely only come about if coaching, as an industry, becomes a nuisance. In other words, enough coaches irritate enough clients that those people lodge complaints or sue. If there’s a push for regulation there will likely be a ramp up period and it will be licensing rather than certifying. Although the ICF will definitely lobby for certification to be a part of the regulation. And who can blame them?

The Bottom Line

Here’s what I tell my clients … why not work towards certification?

Research the requirements and work diligently towards them while growing all aspects of your busines. It will keep you on a professional path.

Then, as you grow in your coaching business, if your integrity tells you that to feel legitimate and be valuable to your clients you must maintain certification, then you’re ready. If not, trust yourself and find other ways to walk a professional path.

I keep records with the number of hours I coach/mentor each client. I also have a Terms & Agreement document that I ask each client to initial and sign that gives me permission to share their name with ICF as proof of our professional connection. Although I’ve heard that ICF eliminated that requirement.

Know that independent certification is a significant and continuing investment of time and money. I’ve been through it and I respect the rigorous effort and institution.

On the other hand, through the years, some of the best coaches I know are not only NOT certified but some are not even trained through a coach training organization. They are financially successful, highly respected and doing great work.

In any case, some sort of familiarization with what coaching is and is not is critical if you’re going to call yourself a coach.

And here’s something to ponder …

How will you learn and maintain best coaching practices?

How will you challenge yourself to higher levels of skill and integrity in your services?

Because it’s only through maintaining your integrity that you’ll achieve true professionalism in any field.

Mentioned in this episode:

International Coach Federation (ICF)

Click here to download an example Terms & Agreement document. Note: This is not a legal document. Have your lawyer assess your own final Terms & Agreement document.

The next episode in this series is: How to Feel Less Isolated in Your Coaching Business

Joel Bass created my theme music. Thanks Joel!

4 Ways to Choose Your Coaching Niche


stand out in the crowdCoaches are more business savvy than they used to be. Now, every coach knows that when you land a smart coaching niche, all the doors of opportunity open up and prosperity flows in. It solves so many problems:

  • It’s easier to enroll clients without being salesy.
  • It clues you in about how to connect with future clients.
  • With many niches, you can charge more and clients will stay longer.
  • You can move beyond your region into international coaching.
  • All your efforts can be leveraged for a bigger impact and result.

And, if you choose wisely, you quickly become a coach in high demand. That means you earn more, coach more, and marketless. That’s the way I like to do it.

When to Say No to Coaching Business Opportunities


Sometimes it’s a smarter move to say ‘NO’ to a new client or opportunity.

But how do you know when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’? And, what’s the difference between a good opportunity and the RIGHT opportunity for you?

https://prosperouscoachblog.com/coaching-business-opportunitiesThe right opportunities will align with:

  • Your values and strengths.
  • Your work-style preferences.
  • Your business model and vision.

Factor those things into a set of “success criteria”  as a way to filter out your best opportunities before you commit.

What Your Headshot Says About You


I’ve been doing a lot of website reviews for coaches and consultants lately. Many are squeamish about the idea of putting their face prominently on their website. Yeah, I tried to dodge that early on too. But I came around and here’s why it’s a good idea for all service providers…

https://prosperouscoachblog.com/headshot/You are the face of your business and your face speaks miles about you. Your future clients want to see you before they engage with you. What would it say about you if you weren’t there to greet them when they arrive on your Home page?

But don’t worry. This isn’t about the popular notion of good looks. What matters is that your core essence comes through. Your ideal clients will see it and respond positively. Here’s how to help yourself show up for the camera and get a great set of shots:

7 Insider Tips for Great Headshots

#1 Be sure to get really good sleep, eat well, and drink lots of water the week before your shoot.

Could This Be the Reason Your Coaching Business Hasn’t Arrived Yet?


Your mindset.

It’s true. The make or break factors in coaching business success are rarely about education, specific business skills, or experience. Instead, it all comes down to how you manage your mind.

Nearly all my clients have struggled with believing in themselves at one moment or another. I’ve struggled with it on and off myself. What’s pulled me forward again and again is a BIG WHY. With all my heart I want to serve and earn with the freedom to do it my way. Over the years I’ve learned to use obstacles as my prosperous path.

Change Your Mind

https://prosperouscoachblog.com/reason-coaching-business-arrived/When you break through, it’s a shift in perspective that does it. You simply change your mind. Suddenly, what seemed like a steel wall in your way becomes a wisp of cloud. If the steel wall persists, it’s not because it’s real. It’s just waiting for you to see the wall come down. You have the power.

There’s a simple tool you can deploy whenever you feel that knife edge of wanting to give up: Turn what feels like a big deal into no-big-deal. Release your fixation on whatever you think is lacking and put their focus back on serving.

Move forward like a toddler reaching for a toy – with joy and determination.