Ep 116 – Why Losing Potential Coaching Clients Is a Gift

This episode is inspired by the wisdom of hindsight. Don’t we all love hindsight!

As a highly experienced coach, I can say without hesitation that not every coach will be the best client for me. And not every client will be the best client for you either.

In fact, some clients could end up being difficult to work with. Episode #98 was about this. In that case you and the client may suffer each time you have a session. And that’s sad because here you are intending to do good yet harm could be done.

I assure you, it’s not because there’s anything wrong with that client or that there’s anything wrong with you. It comes down to how well the client aligns with you and you align with the client.

Differences in Pace, Style and Values

When communication style, pace and guiding values align there’s a harmonious coaching relationship.

Let’s take pace. Have you ever had a client who talks so fast you can’t understand them? Or maybe it’s you who is the fast talker and your client is struggling to keep up with you. Pace in speech and processing is very personal.

There can be differences about the way our minds work. Differences in learning style, in work style too. Some client’s will have very different values than you and that could be challenging.

It’s true that part of our job as coaches is to learn our client’s ways and meet them with respect and agility in our approach. Sometimes that’s just not possible.

One of the preferences that I have with my clients is that we value each other as human beings. I’ve had clients where I felt like their slave. Obviously, that didn’t last.

But I’ve also had clients who are warm and connective, which brings us both so much joy. Now I ask for this kind of connection when I begin a client relationship. I don’t just want to help a coach build their coaching business from the ground up. I want us to enjoy the journey and each other.

5 Ways Fit Helps You and Your Coaching Clients

Fit between a client and coach makes the difference in whether:

  1. You end a session drained or energized
  2. Your coaching lands with the person
  3. The client makes real measurable progress
  4. You receive testimonials and referrals
  5. The client comes back for more

If you’re just getting started as a coach, there’s a strong desire to enroll anyone! You may be feeling “I’ll take anyone!” After all, at first client flow can be a slow trickle. I remember that. And I totally get that need to experience yourself coaching and earning as fast as you can.

As you gain experience though you might find yourself turning down a potential client before you’ve ever coached them. I have many times. I know that might seem hard to imagine.

Can You Fire a Coaching Client?

You may even need to end a coaching relationship at some point in time. I’ve had to let clients go. Each time, I’ve reflected and realized that there were warning signs that the fit wasn’t right when I met them in a Discovery Call.

Having a Discovery Call not a sample coaching session is a highly effective way to assess fit because you can ask questions to understand pace, style and values

It’s worth it to build up your intuition and pay attention to what’s important to you in the co-creative relationship.

Nearly every time I’ve let a potential client or existing client go, they have felt the lack of fit too on reflection. I take my part of the responsibility and emphasize that I’m not a good fit for them rather than the other way around.

But there have been a couple of times where a potential client insisted I work with them even though I knew for certain we weren’t a good fit. I’ve had to kindly say to them that for the sake of my integrity I know that it’s not right for me to work with them. Where possible I’ve referred those individuals to someone else. And I’ve found they are grateful that I spoke up.

Ideal Clients for Every Coach

Back in 2006 when I launched Prosperous Coach and became known as the Coaching Niche Strategist I had a vision for the field of coaching that every coach would become highly specialized, not only in their unique audience and niche but also in the parameters of the work they do with a client.

The idea is that all coaches become excellent referral partners for each other. So instead of taking on a client that is not a fit for you or your niche, you’ll refer them to a coach who has that specialty and style. I still hold this vision.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if instead of tens of thousands of coaches all in the same few niches you would stand out and quickly become known for your narrow specialty? You’d become a subject matter expert.

I’ll talk about finding the niche within your niche in an episode soon. Have you ever thought that someone else could be a better coach for a client?

There’s a maturity in that mindset. And there’s a bonus too. Because you’ll stop suffering if a potential client does not hire you. You’ll find peace in the idea that it’s simply about fit. And that will allow you to attract clients who are ideal for you.

Ep 114 – 10 Things That Help You Become a Coach in High Demand

One of my VIP clients was researching other coaches in her niche last week. She came away from that shocked and concerned.

So many of the sites felt like ghost towns. A lack of current content or pages out of date seemed to signify the sites were abandoned.

Besides this one, three distinct fears crop up fast from researching other coach’s websites:

  • Is the coaching field too saturated?
  • Can I compete with this?
  • Should I even try to make it in coaching?

First, I assure you the coaching field is not too saturated, especially if you do things to stand out in the crowd, which you’ll hear me reinforce a lot.

And should you even try? Only you can answer that. You know your mind and heart. If this truly important to you, you’ll go after it with singular focus and true grit.

It may be hard to accept this. A lot of coaches do not make it — mostly because they lack determination.

Building and sustaining a business is no small feat. So many coaches will spend all the time and money to learn coaching skills then do all the tasks to launch but let the whole thing go before they even cross the threshold. Or, they give it 6 months then give up.

Looking back I’m amazed that I stayed the course considering my many mistakes and some slow years. I’m stubborn that way. Stick-to-it-iveness pays off.

So yeah, there’s tremendous attrition. And that’s true for all startups, not just coaching startups.

I encourage YOU to think of this attrition dispassionately. What really matters is YOUR courage of conviction. Don’t give up. Every problem has a solution.

Find your way and enjoy the journey because few things in life will teach you so many meaningful life changing things as growing your business.

What most coaches ultimately want is to become a coach in high demand. That golden place where clients find YOU and they are ready to enroll. It’s something you absolutely can achieve if you give it a chance.

I ’ve narrowed it down to 10 things all coaches need to become a coach in high demand:

Specialize on an Audience with a Specific Big Problem and Goal

The viability of your audience and niche is the cornerstone of your stability as a coach. If you stand out in the crowd and become well known by a unique and viable audience, you set yourself up for success. The more broad your audience or light your niche, the less likely you’ll gain traction.

Implement a Strong Content Strategy

Standing out matters here too. If your blogs, episodes, videos and social posts seem to be just like every other coach’s, those efforts won’t pay off. Content is still King and Queen!

Grow Unstoppable Determination

This is about character. Will you apply discipline? Will you believe in yourself and this calling even when there’s no proof you’ll make it?

Take Daily High Payoff Actions

A high payoff action makes you squirm. Coaches who make it will do the hard things until they are no longer hard to do and then they’ll find other challenges.

Have Patience

The first eighteen months after launch is a critical time. Because it’s during that time you’re most likely to give up. Patience is absolutely required. Without it, you’ll live in disappointment and give up before you’ve gotten started.

Value Your Time Highly

Act as if you are already in high demand. Choose wisely where you put your time and energy. Control your calendar and pinpoint your efforts. Set up and hold boundaries. Be a professional.

Charge High Prices

Graduate from student mode quickly. Stop charging by the session or month and develop a Signature Program. Charge fees that will allow you to work with few clients each year.

Develop a Platform

A platform is a stage that allows you to reach people. I was asked to train at Coach Training Alliance and to re-write their curriculum. This put me in front of hundreds of coaches that wanted my help to build their business. As you network to reach your specific target audience, because you’ve specialized an organization or center of influence might notice you and help your star rise.

Help Your Client Achieve Critical Results

If your clients are satisfied you’re worth the investment, you’ll enroll more but only if you’re charging well for your services. Professionalism and a sense of authority are strong attractors.

Ask for and Reward Referrals

I used to think any happy client would refer. But people are busy. You have to incentivize referrals. For example, when one of my VIP clients refers someone who enrolls in my 5-month VIP Coaching Business Breakthrough program I reward them with 2 free sessions to use anytime. It’s a strong incentive.

Ep 108 – How To Develop Your Signature Coaching Program

This episode is part of my Money Mastery series and it’s being reprised as LISTENER’S CHOICE because it had record listens over the last year.

Thank you, Coaches, for your loyal listenership! I’m grateful for you!

Today’s episode is about a better way to package a coaching program and earn more than by the session or group of sessions.

First, let’s talk about schools of thought. There are schools of thought about everything.

If you’re still in coach training some trainers may insist that coaching should not be programmed. In other words, you shouldn’t create an offer other than coaching sessions because it means that you take away the coach’s agenda.

If you’ve been listening to me for a while you know I believe that you can both serve a client’s agenda AND offer a specific program for a specific audience that solves their biggest problem and gets them where they want to go.

After 22 years of experience in my own coaching business and helping hundreds of coaches reach financial success in their businesses in my private VIP program, I know that selling coaching by the session only may keep you at poverty income levels.

So what is a better way that helps you earn well as a coach? I’ve been leading to this in the previous episodes so I hope you’ll listen to those too.

Create a Customized VIP Program

This is what I help all my clients create.

It helps the coach feel confident they have something of value to offer. They learn to articulate what they do in meaningful terms and without the agony of trying to convince people to buy coaching.

Of course, like all successful aspects of a coaching business, creating this program has critical steps that go before.

  1. It begins by targeting a viable audience – one that’s full of seekers – people who do invest in their professional and personal growth.
  2. Next you uncover their biggest known problems and the ultimate outcome they want to achieve. That becomes your coaching niche.
  3. Then, you put together a signature program tailor made to that audience. Your program has a clear set of milestones that you’ll help your clients achieve on the way to that ultimate desired outcome.
  4. Then, you learn how to articulate that to prospects in a way that’s benefit rich, supplying them with assurance of both tangible or concrete and intangible or emotional things they’d like to achieve with your help. That there is a structure in your program helps them to trust you and feel inspired to invest.
  5. Lastly, you need a strategy to attract clients, build trust and rapport, then gently send them through a conversion process, sometimes called a funnel, so they are motivated to have a Discovery Session with you, where you’ll enroll them.

Getting all of this done isn’t easy by yourself.

It helps to have a guide like me help you with all the steps no matter how big or small.

Examples of VIP Coaching Programs

For example, let’s say you’re a relationship coach helping people to find their soul mate. Your program might include the following milestones – takeaways you’ll help your clients achieve:

  • Identifying personal values and partnership values. What are their must haves and deal breakers in their life partnership?
  • Getting ready for a partner. What are their strengths but also habits and behaviors in need of adjustment? What are their limiting beliefs about relationships? You might even have something like a life makeover in your program.
  • Setting first date goals. Helping them set personal boundaries and show up with confidence.
  • Discovering the best places to meet people and connect.

There’s a clear arc to the program and plenty of opportunity for the client to bring the agenda to sessions. This structure is more about helping prospects feel confident to work with you.

Or, let’s say you’re a leadership coach and target HR leaders to gain greater impact in their role – something you’ve discovered from market research that’s a top goal of HR leaders. Your program’s milestones might include:

  1. Creating a vision for the impact they wish to make.
  2. Identifying what’s been in the way.
  3. Uncovering their professional strengths and learning how to leverage them.
  4. Identifying skills and behaviors that need attention and areas to stretch.
  5. Develop good habits to strengthen their resilience, mindset and competencies.
  6. Building their rapport, identifying sponsors and other relationships that would help their star rise.
  7. Helping them develop a thicker skin and become bolder in meetings.

You can see that the focus in these descriptions is not about you and your skills as the coach. It’s about the target audience and what they want. But at the same time these kinds of milestones are what all coaches can help their clients achieve.

Either of these programs could be a 4 – 6 months or longer.

Bundle Significant Value Into The Program

So far in your coaching business you might be simply trying to convince a client to hook on … to want coaching and be willing to invest in a certain number of sessions up front.

It’s painful. And it’s without context especially if you haven’t narrowed to a viable audience, done market research and discovered what your audience wants so much they’d be willing to invest in your help to get it.

Programming your coaching into a VIP program creates a context for why a person would want to invest at a high level in their future success. And, you can develop this program without even using the word “coaching”. That’s your toolbox not an outcome they know they want.

Identify What They’ll Get In Your Coaching Program

The next step for creating your program is to identify the features. What do they get when they invest in the program? Consider bundling some of these things into your program:

  • A certain number of private sessions, say 10 – 18 sessions depending on length of your program, your preferences, and what it takes to achieve the goals
  • A certain number of group sessions or access to a closed Facebook group for community support
  • Annual retreats
  • Half or full VIP day where they fly out to work with you face to face on some aspect
  • Unlimited emails to you
  • Session recaps
  • Pre-created guides, forms or assessments to ease a process.

These things still involve coaching and coaching skills. But they add excitement to a program and help justify the fees to enroll.

Ep 103 – Should Coaches Have Expertise?

This episode is part of the Smart Mindsets & Habits series.

I wanted to let you know that my last episode had record listens. I was sharing how there’s one thing you must have going for you to be successful in your coaching business.

It’s worth a listen because it’s likely not at all what you think. Check it out at prosperouscoach.com/102.

Many coaches worry that they need expertise to be successful as a coach. Well … do you need expertise?

I say no.

But if you cultivate expertise you will gain credibility and find many ways to serve others with it.

Experience is the Primer for Expertise As a Coach

Sometimes I’ll talk to a coach who has decided to focus on a target audience and niche because they think that’s where the money is.

For example a coach who has never been in corporate decides to become a corporate coach. Or a coach who has never had any business experience deciding to be a business coach.

While it may be true that there can be increased income potential in corporate or business coaching, the competition is fierce. And without a background – some experience in those worlds – targeting them would be fruitless.

You’ll notice, in those particular circumstances it’s not expertise they need so much as experience.

When I help coaches choose their target audience and develop their niche I do look for and encourage them to leverage their unique experience, knowledge and wisdom.

It doesn’t have to be career experience by the way. It can be life experience.

In those cases it can be the foundation for a natural audience and coaching niche solution.

Are You Second Guessing Your Experience?

But sometimes, even with vast experience, a coach won’t fully perceive and believe in the value of their own experience. They second-guess it.

Or they find holes in their knowledge that they think disqualifies them off hand to work with an audience.

I don’t see it that way. I know the power of story. And I know that if you’ve experienced what it’s like to be your target audience – even if you’re not there now – it brings you credibility.

So consider thinking of experience as the primer for expertise.

Gain Expertise in Days

I think a lot of people have an old fashioned concept of expertise. There’s that apprentice idea that you have to follow the master around and learn everything they know before you can go out on your own.

But we live in modern times where knowledge and experience are at our fingertips.

I have a fluid concept of expertise. And I invite you to consider adapting it.

To me, expertise is when you’ve applied focus and awareness on a particular problem and you’ve solved it for yourself or at least begun to solve it for yourself.

Focus + Awareness are powerful ingredients to quickly build expertise.

Do you think I was an expert in coaching niches from the very beginning? Nope.

Do you think I was a skilled copywriter and copy editor before I started helping others write? Nope.

Do you think I knew how to help coaches develop their niches to the extent I know how now when I first decided to target coaches as my audience? Nope.

I floundered around just as most coaches do confused about where I belonged and who would find me credible. I struggled horribly with Imposter Syndrome. And for a very long time I charged prices for my services that were too low to be sustainable.

But one day I decided to become an expert. And that alone got me half way there.

I focused in on a top challenge I had as a coach and I played around with theories about how to fix it until one day I had a clear step-by-step system that I could teach others. And then I focused on other specific problems.

This way is what I call the teacher archetype. If you haven’t listened to that episode yet you can find it at prosperouscoach.com/12. And anyone can take a problem then apply awareness and focus to solve it. And anyone can pass that knowledge forward to others.

But here’s what most people don’t realize … expertise grows very quickly if you apply yourself. It doesn’t have to take years. In some circumstances it only takes days.

So why doesn’t everyone have expertise?

It is only because they haven’t applied themselves to acquire it.

So, I leave you with this. Look closely at your own life and give yourself credit for all that you’ve figured out on your own. Then pick an area that fits a very specific acute problem that one narrow target audience has. Make that your area of study and then leverage that.

To all the wonderful coaches out there who don’t yet believe in their own experience I invite you to OWN it and build upon it. Become credible in your own eyes. Let go of the doubt.

It’s only doubt. You can blow it away with a breath. You can do it!

Ep 101 – Authentic Marketing Is Alot Like Coaching

This episode was inspired by a recent conversation with a coach …

I’ve never met a coach who loves the idea of marketing. And most coaches tell me they hate the idea of selling. And that’s why it always surprises me when I see coach’s websites, emails and social posts worded in a salesy way.

I made up that word. Salesy is when you make your marketing about you and what you do instead of your target audience and what they want. Salesy is about pushing and convincing prospects to buy your program way before trust and connection are established.

For example, imagine …

  • a coach’s website whose brand, domain and messaging is mostly about them and the wonders of coaching. That’s salesy.
  • or social posts that spout the tenets of coaching. That’s salesy.
  • or a lead magnet — also called a free offer or freebie — that delivers a bit of coaching guidance about limiting beliefs, balance or imposter syndrome — addressed to no one in particular.

These approaches shout “hire me for coaching” but coaching isn’t something most people know they want.

Listen, I did ALL of these salesy things when I started as a coach, so I totally get why coaches do this. None of us knew any better.

No One Likes to Be Sold

So then how will you convince people to hire you without selling coaching? First, let’s shift that to a more powerful question:

How can you EARN the attention of IDEALclients and INSPIRE them to hire you WITHOUT selling coaching?

Let’s break this down. I ask the question this new way for 3 main reasons:

  1. Earning attention comes way before asking for the sale.

In our fast and full marketplace with so many marketing messages flying at everyone, earning attention is a true art. Before you throw out social posts or throw up a website develop a smart strategy.

Attention is earned when you show up consistently focused on what’s most important to your target audience. Speak their language. Build trust and connections.

The word ‘coaching’ or ‘coach’ is not present at all in that effort.

  • It’s better for you and your prospects if you DO NOT TRY TO CONVINCE them to hire you.

Think about a time when someone tried to convince you of something. How did that feel? If someone tries to convince me of something I am turned off and will quickly get excuse myself.

If I’m online I’m bouncing away so fast it will make your head spin!

Convincing someone is to try to hard sell them. It’s the stereotypical car salesman joke – relentless high pressure. Human beings are wary of pressure. Inside them the walls go up.

As a coach you want to run your business with integrity. You want to feel good about what you do 100% of the time. You want to put out positive energy.

Yes! So let the pressure off. Let go of any whiff of desperation to enroll a client. Instead SERVE your target audience faithfully. Serve as a form of marketing. That’s called generosity marketing.

Generosity marketing is about connecting to your target audience with respect for them and for yourself. You repeatedly show them that you understand them because you’ve taken the time to do that.

Show your vulnerability. Be real.

The amazing result is that over time you build trust and your ideal clients will want to hire you totally without you exerting any pressure.

  • Lastly, it’s far better for you if you DO NOT SELL COACHING at all!

Coaches may think I’m crazy when I say this … at first. But then they shift their mindset and a big AHA happens. It’s such a relief not to push the idea of coaching on anyone.

Coaching is a Toolbox Not An Outcome People Know They Want

For a moment … open your mind and think about what coaching really is. It’s a highly effective set of skills. It is part of your toolbox. It’s a process.

However, and this is critical, coaching is NOT an outcome. It’s not an ultimate desire. Coaching is not something people readily know they want.

Selling coaching will feel for you like pushing a large boulder up a steep mountain with lots of false summits. Again I know this because I tried to do it for years and failed.

So if you’re thinking of naming your business with the word coach or coaching in it. Don’t. If you’re thinking that your website should have a whole page about what coaching is and why they should want.

Don’t. There’s a better way.

My 99th episode was called What Coaching Clients Want Vs What You Think They Need. I invite you to listen to that after this if you haven’t already.

With big hearts wanting to help, coaches often feel people need coaching and then decide to spread the word about how great coaching is. When it doesn’t result in eager clients it feels so disheartening.

Why aren’t more people hiring you and staying with you longer?

Authentic and effective marketing is about listening to the words your target audience uses to describe their most urgent challenges and their specific urgent goals. Then you relate back what they’ve shared and provide a pathway to their ultimate desired outcome. Authentic marketing is a respectful and patient process.

In your toolbox are freshly minted coaching skills and other talents. Your paying clients will appreciate you but won’t be focused on your toolbox. They will be focused on their results — a testimonial to your value.

Ep 95 – Is Coaching a Seasonal Business?

Recently I overheard a coach saying that her business had been doing well and then over the last two months everything came to an abrupt halt.

Prospects weren’t showing up. People stopped opening emails and engaging on social media. And her income slowed way down.

She was ready to give up on her business. And I thought to myselt, “Don’t do that! Instead accelerate and expand your efforts to attract ideal clients.”

Hearing her anxiety made me remember when I was a new coach. But here’s what I realized down the road. That daily pain I felt about fluctuations in my business came down to one mistake …

Taking things personally instead of responding strategically.

Do you know what I mean? If you are feeling blown around in the wind and like you have no control over your coaching business, it’s time for a mindset shift.

You Control Your Results in Your Coaching Business

Here’s the truth … you do have control over your business. Yes, you may need to may small incremental adjustment to help your coaching business thrive, but YOU hold the controls for the most part.

Think about it …

You control how often and how effectively you’re getting in front of your target audience. This is the first place to look if you’re not earning enough as a coach.

You control your fees, what value you deliver and can even have a significant influence over how attracted your audience is to what you offer.

If you haven’t heard it already, I have a whole series called Coaching Business Checkup with 9 episodes that go step by step into the most strategic things you can do before you launch your coaching business.

There’s also a downloadable self-assessment to test what’s working and what’s not working in your coaching business.

The Seasons of Your Coaching Business

All that said, there is one thing you can’t control. You cannot control a seasonal slow down.

But you can shift your mindset about how you respond it and even plan for it.

Depending on your target audience and the flow of their lives there may be a few times each year when paying clients will be less likely to hire you.

Typical slow down times relate to the school year:

  • Spring break
  • Late summer
  • Christmas and New Years

And then there’s events like major elections, such as the Presidential election coming up in the US.

Short-term stress leading up to and just beyond an election may mean people are less grounded to make big decisions. The stock market often dips then as well.

But don’t think that long-term stress has the same effect. It does not.

That’s why I don’t recommend that you hold off on launching your business or keeping it going during the pandemic.

Recently, I published an episode called Should You Launch Your Coaching Business at a Better Time. Find that at prosperouscoach.com/91. Give it a listen because there’s more insight in there about how we fool ourselves into thinking certain times aren’t good for running a coaching business.

How Can a Smart Coach Respond to Seasonal Slow Downs?

Plan both practically and emotionally for these slower times.

First, manage your money to prepare for a temporary doldrum. And work on your mindset so you don’t feel blown around and out of control.

For example, a typical response to school year related slow downs is to sit around and wait for things to improve.

A more decisive approach would be to plan vacation for those times.

But a different and more savvy approach is to use those slower times to plan and create more ambitious campaigns that you can launch when the slow down passes.

Just after the first week of September and the first week of January are the classic times in Western cultures when adults swing into action to improve their lives.

If you are extra active during those times you stand a good chance to win significant market share. By market share I mean attracting attention and inspiring people to hire you.

Look I know that phrase might make you wince. But truly, we all are vying for attention, including coaches and any other type of marketer, which is simply a person who has something valuable to offer and wants to let people know they exist.

That’s all marketing is. It’s communication. And it can be done in an authentic and non-salesy way.

To grab attention target a narrow audience and create a stand out niche so you’re not just another voice in an ocean of voices but rather a unique voice for a unique group with a highly valuable message that they want to hear.

The way I respond to shifts in the market place? Never stop publishing valuable content weekly and have smart systems in place to continually attract paying clients no matter what’s going on in the world.

This is a big part of what I help coaches to create in my 5 month VIP Coaching Business Breakthrough program.

So, as I say all of this about seasonality, consider not taking my word for any of it.

Do your own assessment of peaks and troughs in enrollment for your business. Give yourself a few years to track the flow and make micro adjustments in the way you do things.

But know this … most experienced business owners and marketers will tell you the key to success is consistency.

Stopping and starting your marketing in cycles could actually cause the slow down.

One last thing to contemplate … the pandemic has shifted normal peaks and troughs.

For me, April and May, normal robust times, were slow. Then surprisingly July and August of 2020 were my biggest enrollment periods ever in 20 years and it’s continuing with no slow down!

My theory is two things created this shift:

  1. Family vacations were cancelled, and
  2. The strong desire to break out of status quo during a global crisis

Isn’t it fascinating how the human mind works and what drives us to real change?

As a business owner your goal is to learn to be agile and move with the flow instead of against it or just let it push you around. You can do it!

In the Next Episode: Can You Want Too Much for Your Coaching Clients?

Ep 93 – Bring Your Full Self to Your Coaching Business

Having a coaching business may be the only income-producing role in your life where you get to bring your full personality, values and life experience together to serve others.

You get to be authentic and vulnerable.

Sure, you put your best foot forward whenever you can. But you don’t have to pretend or puff yourself up.

You don’t have to build a persona but rather draw from and OWN all that you are.

Human beings tend to forget to OWN their intrinsic value and earned wisdom.

Truly, if you’ve never had a paying client before you can be honest about that.

In fact, I suggest to my clients to say with their first coaching prospects “I’d love it if you’d be one of my first clients!” It takes the pressure off. And your prospect will appreciate your honesty.

But you say it with enthusiasm for the person you’re enrolling and what you offer, right?

Build Your Coaching Business On Your Values

I took my training at Coach U, one of the first coaching schools, which was created by Thomas Leonard, who is often called the father of modern coaching.

He was known for an abundance of short pithy exercises. I received by mail 10 pounds of notebooks full of his exercises and curriculum!

His concept was that anything you did with a client you should first do yourself. In other words be just one step ahead and make sure your come from is authentic.

One exercise was meant to identify core and business values. Maybe you’ve even seen this exercise or a derivative of it out there somewhere in the coaching sphere.

I’ll never forget that exercise because I learned principles about myself that have never sent me in the wrong direction — that is, whenever I let them guide me.

For example … I realized that money is not in itself important to me. However EARNING is a core value. It’s important to me to deliver great value in exchange for my income.

See I crave independence in thought and action and the ability to choose what’s right for me moment to moment.

Those values made me a perfect candidate for entrepreneurship … for developing my own coaching business.

Sometimes, I’ve gone astray from my values trying to implement something that I saw other coaches do.

Sound familiar?

Through trial and error and a desire to serve myself while serving others I’ve found what fits me better.

Over the years I’ve made adjustments in my business to find my sweet spot – the way I love to work, when I want to work and who I want to work with. All of that is possible by making micro adjustments.

It takes time to find your sweet spot.

With my VIP clients we do much to uncover the clues to their sweet spot. But I also know that it’s a journey that’s worth the exploration.

And this is part of what it means to bring your full self to your business.

I think that being an entrepreneur and running a business is a spiritual journey.

If you have a big message you can put that out in an honoring way that fits your target audience. It could be that you launch your own podcast or get on a stage with that message.

Or it may be in a more quiet way where as it fits, you bring that message to a client in session.

How else can you create freedom in your coaching business to fully be yourself?

Look … you can dress the way you want. Let your freak flag fly. And you don’t need to worry about what people are going to think because the name of the game is attract YOUR people, your tribe.

I’m not a good fit for every coach. And you don’t need to try to be a good fit for everyone in your audience. This is the secret of niching that a lot of people don’t know … you want to become known for serving a micro audience because it helps you thrive.

Decide The Size of Your Coaching Empire

You can morph it as you go. I encourage my clients to start with 1:1 services and then build from there, as they feel called. But you may never need to do anything more elaborate than 1:1.

Beware of doing what everyone else says you should do. Just because there’s an exciting online training program about creating an online training program don’t feel you have to go there.

The reality is you can earn more with less labor and costs with 1:1. It’s the simplest coaching business model. I learned that through trial and error too.

I have adapted my business to fit who I am now. I’m on Prosperous Coach version 6.0 in 20 years.

Some jobs allow for some of that personal growth but most can’t allow you to do that fully because they have a internal structure, a hierarchy and proscribed ways of doing things.

NOW with your coaching business you can make and control all of those decisions.

Bring it! Bring your expertise, work experiences, life wisdom, skills, passions & interests to your business. It doesn’t have to be THE focus or your niche but rather something you bring to your client in the moment.

Consider What’s In Your Coaching Toolbox

Let’s say you’ve studied yoga and meditation. That doesn’t mean you have to be a yoga coach or meditation expert. Instead look for the opportunities with your target audience where that insight or practice will help them achieve their goals. Make those thing part of your toolbox instead of your specialty.

Now don’t get me wrong. I still believe it helps to target a narrow audience, to find out what they want so much they’ll invest in your help to get it. This is your niche. And niching helps you stand out, grab attention and grow your business faster than if you just do the life coach, career coach or wellness coach track thing.

Targeting and niching is about building a pipeline of clients. It’s about EASE and speed so you can earn more and market less.

How you work with your paying clients is up to you. And that’s where your uniqueness, your message and your style all come into play.

And play it is!

So, how will you make your business YOURS?

How can you bring your fully authentic self to this?

For a clue, think about how you’ve been limited in a previous role or business. What are the ways that you chafed against some boundary or rule? 

How could you give yourself freedom of expression while you serve?

Your coaching business is the opportunity of a lifetime to bring all that you are and all that you know to the table.

In the Next Episode: Maybe You Don’t Need a Coaching Niche

Ep 90 – Test Your Coaching Niche with 4 Powerful Questions

This episode is part of the Smart & Profitable Coaching Niche series. And … it has eye opening questions to help you test the viability of your coaching niche. So test your niche with those questions, which you can find in the Show Notes for this episode at prosperouscoach.com/90

By the way, there are 14 episodes in that niche series – lots of intel for you —so if you’re having trouble choosing a viable target audience and developing a niche that solves a BIG enough problem so clients pay you well, check that whole series out.

It’s easy to miss the earlier episodes if you are new to listening to Prosperous Coach Podcast.

I decided to take a break from the Client Management series because there’s a louder cry out there in the coaching community for help to choose a coaching niche.

I have several clients who are still enrolled in coach training and they tell me that the other coaches are really struggling with all the business steps especially the niche part.

What usually happens is coaches create a website first, which is really just an online brochure about coaching and not super effective before they think to choose a unique target audience or find out what those people want so much they’ll invest in help to get it.

It makes me wince because I know that website is likely a waste of money and effort. Audience and niche come before any other actions – before websites, blogs or social posts.

When coaches ask me in a Strategy Session:

“Is this a good coaching niche?”

What they really want to know but don’t know to ask is:

Will focusing my energy this way repay me with a consistent flow of clients who are willing to invest?

That’s the 6-figure question!

Choosing your niche is a critical decision to get your coaching business right from the get go. It’s the true north for your financial success.

Without that direction and focus your messages and offers will be vague and won’t capture attention. Which means you won’t have that consistent flow of paying clients.

What is a Coaching Niche?

It has 3 critical parts and most coaches miss two of those.

  1. Choosing a NARROW target audience.
  2. Knowing what they want so much they’ll invest in your help to achieve it.
  3. Applying your special talents and skills to help that audience overcome BIG problems as they reach that goal.

So a viable and profitable coaching niche is the intersection of those 3 things. If you’re missing one piece then you don’t have a profitable niche.

Do You Really Need a Coaching Niche?

Of course, I’ll say YES emphatically! Ultimately, there are 12 smart reasons to niche and they boil down to this:

  • Ease
  • Reach
  • Profitability

We choose a niche so we can market less, earn more and help more people transform. It goes a long way towards making you credible early on in your coaching business.

If your intention is to build a solid long-term coaching business that you can rely on for a satisfying income, it’s worth it to choose wisely now before you invest time, money and energy on your branding and marketing.

A smart niche helps you to:

  • Quickly become a coach in high demand through momentum.
  • Leverage your efforts and contextualize your messages and offers, instead of being all over the place.
  • To command higher fees.

Test the viability of your current coaching niche with these 4 powerful questions.

Stand Out in the Crowd

POWERFUL QUESTION #1:

Does your coaching niche help you stand out in the crowd?

If yes, give yourself 2 POINTS.

If not, consider narrowing your niche before you go much further.

There are more service entrepreneurs than ever before. And they are all vying to get attention online and offline. People only pay attention to the messages that speak specifically to their most important desires and problems. Everything else is ignored or deleted.

Think about it … isn’t it true? If you’re on Instagram or Pinterest or Facebook you’re scrolling like mad until you see something that speaks directly to you. You don’t give attention to 95% of what scrolls by.

As a coach, if someone is talking about coaching you’re listening because it’s high up on your list of favorite topics. But if you’re talking about coaching to a general audience and not contextualizing that message to fit their specific problems and goals, then no one will pay attention to what you’re saying except for other coaches.

You, just like everyone else, are out there seeking SPECIFIC information. Let’s say you see messages about coaching niches right at the time when you are struggling with that challenge.

BOOM! Your attention magnifies and you are reading, engaging, possibly even clicking through to take action such as sign up for a guide, listen to a podcast episode or enroll!

For that reason, it’s critical to go beyond identifying your coaching track — such as relationship, wellness, business coaching. This is all the further into considering their niche that most coaches do.

You can do far better than that!

Refine your niche in 3 additional ways:

  1. Choose one narrow audience that’s easy to find.
  2. Zone in on one specific hot problem or urgent goal that audience faces.
  3. Customize all your messages and offers to help them achieve that outcome.

That’s how you’ll:

  • Get noticed.
  • Build rapport quickly.
  • And continuously enroll clients that are eager to develop themselves.

New Coaching Client Accessibility

POWERFUL QUESTION #2:

Can you easily find hundreds of your prospects in your audience right now?

If yes, give yourself 4 POINTS.

If not, your niche audience probably isn’t viable.

Having a viable niche feels like you have access to a deep and reliable well full of potential clients. You’ll never go thirsty for clients.

Some niche audiences are “overdrawn”. For example, the large group of Entrepreneurs or Small Business Owners is barraged with messages from all angles.

If you want to serve entrepreneurs or business, give yourself the advantage of narrowing to a specific industry or type of business owner or specific problem and outcome. Pick a unique topic critical to that group that hasn’t been claimed out there yet. You’ll differentiate yourself from all of the other providers for entrepreneurs and they’ll be willing to co-promote with you.

When I started coaching coaches, which was a natural thing because I wrote curriculum for a popular coach training program, I just offered myself as a coach for coaches. But there were so many other people offering that who had more experience and a higher profile than I did that I wasn’t getting enough tractions.

And then I realized that even though I can help coaches with every aspect of building their business and do, if I spoke more often about the challenge of choosing a profitable coaching niche I would stand out. And I have for 2 decades now. Imagine the cache of that?

That’s what you want to do with your chosen unique audience.

Targeting a narrow audience gives you a boost, especially if there are already events, associations and publications designed for them.

Know What Your Audience Wants

POWERFUL QUESTION #3

Do you know exactly what your target audience wants so much that they’ll invest to get it?

If yes, give yourself 3 POINTS.

If not, dig deeper before you launch your coaching business.

With a bit of fun market research it’s easy to find out exactly what your target audience wants (instead of what you think they need). That’s different! When your messages and offers reflect their top goals, you earn their trust. They feel understood and want to work with you.

You know this … people reach for professional support when they have a big goal to achieve or a painful problem to solve or both. The more acute their problem or goal, the more they are willing to invest.

A niche like Women in Transition doesn’t usually pay off because it’s trying to cover too much ground. Imagine how narrowing to one specific type of transition — first time pregnancy, re-entering the work force, or menopause — would help you standout with that audience?

Reality Check on Your Coaching Niche

POWERFUL QUESTION #4

Would you invest in what you’re offering if you were your target audience?

If yes, give yourself 1 POINT.

If no, your current niche might not earn well.

If you, in all your years, would not have invested your time and money in the solution you’re offering, it won’t inspire your audience either. For example, if your niche is Stay at Home Moms, you may have already realized that they love you and your free stuff but they aren’t likely to take a greater step. That’s because, first and foremost, they spend their money on their kids.

Refine that audience or choose a better one. You can do it!

How Did Your Coaching Niche Test Out?


8-10 POINTS = You’re on track for a profitable niche!
6-7 POINTS = Test your niche in the marketplace to see if it pays off or refine now for the best bet.
0-5 POINTS = Choose a better niche for long-term success.

Hey, if your niche didn’t do well on the coaching niche test, consider having a Strategy Session with me. It’s a private 90 minutes session with me, the Coaching Niche Strategist. I’ll send you exercises before we meet and then we’ll dig in during the session.

In the Next Episode: Should You Launch Your Coaching Business at a Better Time?