This episode is another ON AIR Coaching Session where I coach a coach to help her click on the certainty button for a unique target audience and then we formulate their coaching niche.
It’s clear from reviews that you really like these coach the coach
sessions, so it’s my goal to do one every month.
Ellen Fowler has worked in the field
of training, organizational and leadership development for over 25 years. Her
experience includes work in the public and private sectors as well as academia.
She lived and worked in Ireland for
12 years, so she has firsthand understanding of the challenges of cultural
diversity and radical life change.
She is also an ordained Christian
minister. Ellen’s career has always involved working with individuals whether
as a counselor, teacher, consultant or coach.
When I help coaches choose a profitable coaching niche, I always start by asking about their background so I can guide them to pull in experience, expertise, interests, gifts and passions into their niche.
Ellen’s background includes:
and organizational & leadership development
& diversity management
adults returning to the workplace on how to make their companies more efficient
Want to Be An Entrepreneurial
Then, I asked Ellen if she was interested in being an entrepreneur because it’s a certain type of person who does.
Ellen wants to run her own business because she wants it to be
portable so she can travel. However, she feels a bit intimidated by the
marketing side of things.
I was intimidated by marketing at first but when I learned to put
the spotlight on exactly what my target audience wants, it became fun.
Two Potential Audiences That
Ellen had 2 main ideas for her target audience:
I asked Ellen if it was okay with her if we focused on Church
Leaders as a possible target audience first.
I made this choice for 4 reasons:
- Ellen is an ordained minister and much of her career has been as a church leader. I felt that gave her credibility and gravitas with this audience.
- Her faith is very important to her.
- She’s currently coaching 10 clergy and staff from a church group in Pennsylvania and getting more referrals from that group. So she already has a toehold there.
- She loves the work she’s doing with this audience.
Ellen shared that the work she’s doing with the Church Leaders is based on an instrument called Human Synergistics that she’s certified to use. It helps people identify effective and not so effective behaviors in the workplace and to develop action plans for changing those.
Is The Target Audience Viable
I also felt that the audience — mid-career professional women — is not the most viable audience for Ellen because:
are in corporations and hard to access.
might expect their company to pay for coaching, and that’s an uphill battle to
get a foot in the door with corporations.
a lot of competition and marketplace noise for that audience already.
Passion and Fit Are The Best Coaching Niche Indicators
I asked Ellen:
What do you love about working with clergy and what do you enjoy about the Human Synergistics instrument?
As Ellen described how she uses Human Synergistics in her work with clergy, I heard her enthusiasm louder than her words.
Then, I wanted to check whether Ellen was earning well with this
current gig with clergy because more and more it was sounding like a viable
audience for Ellen.
Ellen explained that she felt blessed because the way she was connected with this particular group was that the church leader who hired her was part of the Human Synergistics training she took. He said: “I’d like you to do some work for me.”
And he gave her carte blanche about what she’d do with the staff
and how she’d price.
Right time – right place opportunities happen when you target a
unique audience and focus your niche on their big problems.
So, I bee-lined to the bottomline question:
“Ellen, of the two audiences — church leaders or mid-career professional women, which is more attractive to you?”
Ellen said that she could go both ways. Her inability to commit
comes down to how she’ll get in front of the audiences.
I spoke to the difficulty with gaining entry to corporations where
with her background and current active church leader clients she already has a
strong entry place.
I pointed out that if she were to have an international business, especially
with her desire to travel and her experience in other countries, that the pond
to fish in would be bigger. She could target larger churches and religious
organizations with bigger coffers.
I explained that the Church Leader audience would likely mean more offline marketing than online marketing. I asked how she’d feel about that and she said:
“Oh, I like that!” More enthusiasm.
I pointed out that that’s the old fashioned way, right? Not everyone
has to use social media channels to build their business.
- Ellen knows this world.
- She understands their challenges and goals first hand.
- She’ll be able to speak their language.
- They’ll be more accessible because she’s been in their shoes.
- And she’ll have testimonials from her 10 current clients.
For Ellen, the other audience is less viable. Viability is determined by 5 factors:
enough (to help you stand out in the crowd)
Ellen added another key reason that Church Leaders are more ideal
for her that spoke loud and clear:
“The spiritual side of life is really a bonus for me.”
I asked Ellen to do a check in with herself. Is church leaders the
audience she can get fully behind with your heart, mind and spirit?
Then we shifted to talking about her niche for a moment … I
asked Ellen what is the number one challenge and what is the number one
tangible desired outcome that church leaders want?
Ellen said the most acute thing is how to avoid burnout. There’s
always somebody needing something and they’re often understaffed and
overworked. They feel called to the work, so it’s a burden of responsibility. They
get into it because they want to help other people transform.
Burnout can begin to wear away their faith, which is critical for
She felt the Human Synergistic instrument is a so effective in
uncovering what’s really going on for the leader and the team.
Each time that Ellen spoke about Church Leaders and working with
them I heard passion and compassion — a depth of understanding and certainty
that she could help them thrive with her knowledge and the instruments she’s
She said: “Thank you, Rhonda, for helping me think it through it. It’s been really enlightening.”
The Next Episode is: Would You Buy Your Own Coaching Program?