Ep 85 – How Can New Coaches Be Perceived as Credible?

You’ve heard that you need to build the know-like-trust factor with your target audience before they’ll hire you. It’s true.

Imagine that your ideal clients reach out to hire you already feeling a deep connection with you and wanting what you offer. It raises their willingness to invest at a high level and fully dedicate themselves to the work.

But how can you convey credibility as a brand new coach?

That’s what today’s episode is about.

To answer that question, let’s turn this around. Shift your perspective on the problem. It’s nearly always the best way to solve problems.

What inspires YOU to feel that a resource is trustworthy?

Some people say things like credentials, years in business, reviews or testimonials. Absolutely. Those things help.

But there’s something that grabs attention and builds trust even faster …

Coaching Prospects Trust Coaches Who Understand Them

I hear constantly from clients, prospects and fans of my podcast that they feel like I’m speaking directly to them. Someone wrote me today saying: “I’m beginning to think your podcasts are written for me.”

That is your goal.

People will trust you if they feel understood by you. And this is the territory where brand new coaches can get real traction.

As a new coach you’d be unlikely to have loads of credentials or relevant testimonials. You haven’t had the chance to build up social credibility online. And, you don’t have ‘word of mouth’ going for you yet.

So instead, put your attention on KNOWING your audience inside and out.

I just received an email from a company that wants to promote my podcast. It took me all of 5 seconds to decide to toss that email. Not only did they not even use my name, I could see that they had not bothered to research me at all. It’s arguable that they know little about the challenges and goals of podcasters.

That’s a stupid and wasteful way to develop a business.

I get countless requests to connect on LinkedIn from supposed experts pushing out blasts to all coaches promising to help them get a steady stream of clients. It’s clear from what they write that they don’t understand coaches. They haven’t bothered to look at my profile. They searched “coach” and then put out the same basic message as thousands before them – all of whom I summarily blew off.

Don’t ever market like this. You will LOSE CREDIBILITY so fast. And essentially it’s spamming. Never spam.

Do Your Homework Coach

Do your homework! Your future and current clients are your most important asset. Treat them with great respect and speak to them with relevance.

Here you are — a coach – someone who loves people and wants to help them achieve something grand. Well, before you throw up that website selling coaching take the time to choose a specific target audience, research that group lovingly, then speak their language.

This concept of speaking your target audience’s language and contextualizing all of your copy and offers to fit them like a glove is the crux of everything I teach new coaches.

That’s because it quickly builds credibility. And in today’s market place you absolutely need credibility to grab attention, inspire a belief that you can help them, and motivate their investment in you.

Narrow Your Audience and Coaching Niche to Build Credibility

You can only show that you know your audience in your social posts, content, web copy and offers if you have already narrowed to a specific unique and narrow group of people who are seekers – people who naturally do invest in their own personal or professional growth.

The broader you are in your audience or niche the less likely you’ll be able to build trust quickly. Many typical niches coaches choose such as helping people get unstuck, transition, do self care or build confidence don’t inspire investment because there’s so much free stuff out there on those topics.

So the WAY you narrow and the way you articulate your coaching niche do matter. It’s an art. And it’s a strategic process that deserves your time.

So what undermines credibility?

Shoveling out there the same stuff that many coaches do.

For more information about how NOT to undermine your credibility consider listening to a few of my past episodes. Why is Coaching a Hard Sell? And also listen to the whole Coaching Business Checkup series.

What will you do this week to narrow your audience if you haven’t already, to research them thoughtfully and then SHOW that you understand them in all you do?

Ep 82 – The Mindset Shift That Helps You Charge More with Coaching Clients

This will be a super short episode. And it’s part of the Smart Mindsets & Habits series.

I feel so honored that when I work with my clients I get to see them shift their mindset in ways that will help them succeed faster at this game called entrepreneurship.

By the way, thinking of building your coaching business as a game is one way to take the pressure off and enjoy the journey.

So the specific mindset I’m digging into today is about OWNING your right:

  • Own your right to be in business for yourself
  • Own your right to earn well
  • Own your right to live the life you want

That may sound odd. Let me explain.

My Early Coaching Business Was An Albatross

When I was new to my own coaching business I treated myself like I didn’t deserve to be in business, like I didn’t deserve to earn well and have the life I want. Here’s what I did:

  1. I overcomplicated my business model by offering too many options.
  2. I undervalued myself and charged way too little to sustain my business.
  3. I over-delivered in every way.
  4. I was too accommodating with my schedule.
  5. I allowed late payments.
  6. Ultimately, I didn’t think through what I wanted and plot a strategic course to get there.

Bottom line … I was operating unconsciously in my coaching business. I was driven by a mindset that doesn’t go well with being the CEO of a business. Big mistake.

A few years in, I realized that I had created a monster — a business that was complex, running me ragged and paying me poorly.

Its part of the reason why I now teach coaches to create a Simple Coaching Business Model and to strategically grow their business from the get go.

The Big Takeaway for Coaches

So here’s the secret I want you to come away with from this episode … ACT AS IF

Act as if you are already in high demand.

There are 7 ways I can think of that will help you do this:

  1. First decide what you want your life to be like.
  2. Strategize every step of your business development to fit that vision.
  3. Only offer times on your schedule that you truly want to work.
  4. Only offer exactly what you want to offer and not what you think you should offer.
  5. Create a low overhead, easy to manage business.
  6. Treat yourself with the respect you want your colleagues, prospects and clients to have for you.
  7. Charge prices that will help you reach your financial goals right NOW!

Imagine the difference between a business where you act like you deserve all the perks that come with being your own boss and a business where you act like you don’t deserve that.

I’m not saying you need to be mercenary. Simply honor yourself. Do what is right for you.

Is it a bit scary to charge for your services in a way that pays you well.

I shared in Episode 58 that you can plan for profit from day 1 and in Episode 60 how to strategically price your services. When you charge prices that feel like a big investment to your clients they will invest energetically into their own growth. It’s a win – win. Whereas charging low fees is a lose – lose.

You don’t want to lose. You don’t want your clients to lose. OWN your right to be successful at your coaching business.

It’s time to build this muscle … how will you ACT AS IF you deserve what you want today?

In the Next Episode: Overwhelm is a Bad Habit Coaches Need to Break Now

Ep 80 – Competition, Comparison and Shame in the Field of Coaching

This episode is part of the Smart Mindsets and Habits series. The last episode was about the crucial role of courage in success and how it comes before confidence.

I received a lot of sweet comments about that episode along of the lines of “Thanks, I needed that!”

Yes! Every coach needs encouragement, especially in the early days. Have you ever noticed the word ‘courage’ within the word ‘encourage’? I encourage you to encourage other coaches too.

Now I want to talk about adverse affects on your confidence as a coach. Namely, petty competition, comparison and shame. One leads to the next.

Shame is the Dark Secret in the Coaching Industry

I’m going to get right to the elephant in the room … the toxic result of comparison.

Have you ever felt a sense of shame when you compare yourself to other coaches?

It’s okay if you have. And actually it’s healing to acknowledge it.

Just thinking about it my body can produce that hot pit in the stomach feeling — the distinct sense memory of shame.

Teddy Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” So true.

I don’t much do the comparison thing anymore. But I know the territory intimately.

Here’s the way I experienced it:

As a new coach I’d bounce around the Internet looking at other coache’ websites. Immediately, I’d feel there’s so much I need to do better and overwhelm surged in.

A little aside here … I had no idea whether those website were helping the coach at all. Chances are most were dud websites even though they are pretty and flashy. I’ve learned a lot about what makes for a client winning coaching website since then.

When I used to attend monthly local ICF meetings I’d brace myself for the continual display of superiority by some coaches there. It felt like a room full of peacocks and I didn’t have anything to display.

Don’t get me wrong, I met wonderful coaches there too — people who, two decades later, are beloved colleagues. But the atmosphere was rife with competition rather than camaraderie.

Later in my career, as part of a circle of joint venture colleagues who were helping each other promote programs, the competition was even more fierce. There was a thick sense that we were all vying for the same thing and there was only so much to go around.

Social media amps up competition and the knee jerk to compare yourself with others. From the number of followers to the quality of reactions to the images … if you let yourself go there, you can compare yourself into a little dark corner and never come out.

I see so many coaches give up because of comparison and shame.

On Instagram … I see so many women coaches dressing up for the camera and sexing up the space. What’s up with that? And what does it have to do with running a successful business?

Okay, I’m being brutally honest here. I’m exposing the gritty feeling on purpose. And I realize that this says a lot about my own insecurities.

Still, I’m not the only one that’s noticed this – an inherent and ugly thing that can go on in circles of coaches that feels so out of place.

And I hear from my clients that they can’t find positive groups of peer coaches that they trust and feel comfortable with. That breaks my heart because it’s an echo of how I felt. And I know how critical support is when you’re launching and growing your business.

A Healthy Response to Competition

Look, if you don’t feel that icky shame that comes from competition and comparison, I’m glad. My guess is someone taught you how to have a healthy response to competition.

So let’s talk about that. Imagine navigating in the coaching and marketing world without torturing yourself. What would that look like?

Well, I’ll tell you. It’s NOT an internal hardening but rather a softening.

5 Internal Shifts to Move Past Comparison and Shame as a Coach

  1. Believe there is enough for everyone.
  2. Acknowledge that YOU bring something unique to the world and the world is better for it.
  3. See the competitive field as a place where everyone wins simply by showing up.
  4. Realize that other people’s apparent success is not necessarily the way it is or how it feels inside of them.
  5. Recognize and own your place on a developmental journey while you grow.

5 External Shifts to Move Past Comparison and Shame as a Coach right now:

  1. Narrow your target audience and coaching niche so you stand out and won’t compete with all coaches.
  2. Actively generate an atmosphere of camaraderie and support in all coaching groups.
  3. Be transparent and vulnerable with other coaches.
  4. Give other’s social media love by engaging and sharing generously.
  5. Find like-minded coaches to hang out with.

I call all coaches to love each other up now.

When I decided to start podcasting, I was so blessed to find and be invited into Facebook support groups. I was amazed at the loving and generous nature of podcasters. I’m so grateful to my colleagues in these groups and I daily pass forward what I know and celebrate the successes of others.

That’s what need to happens more and more in the coaching world.

What can you do today to foster an open and supportive environment with other coaches?

The more we all do that, the more successful we’ll all be.

For a follow on episode to this one go to: How Shame Crushes Your Momentum in Your Coaching Business

Ep 76 – Will You Exclude Some Coaching Clients If You Narrow Your Audience?

Today’s episode is short and sweet. It was inspired by something that came up in Prosperous Coach Club, my Facebook group.

Several new coaches were having trouble drilling down to a narrow and viable audience to serve because they didn’t want to exclude anyone.

I had that concern myself in my early days of coaching. I waffled and stayed general for far too long. I didn’t realize how much easier it would be if I did narrow my audience.

But as time passed and my income from coaching remained small I became keenly motivated to do anything I could — including things I was afraid to do — to change that.

With hindsight I know without a doubt that finally narrowing my audience catapulted me to success so that now I reliably attract ideal clients and earn well – even during the pandemic.

Now I fully understand that my choice to narrow was a strategic choice.

I’ve been talking a lot about strategy in my current podcast series Coaching Business Checkup. That series is all about assessing what pieces of strategy might be missing if you are having difficulty enrolling enough clients to quit your job and pay for your lifestyle.

4 Ways Strategic Choice Makes Your Coaching Life Easier

And because I’ve been a business coach for coaches for a long time I also know this. When you target an audience and discover their big problem then gear everything –messaging, offers, web copy, social posts – to speak directly to your audience 4 wonderful things click into place:

  1. You have clarity. It’s as if the fog lifts and you can now see your path.
  2. You grow confidence. You understand your value and believe in yourself.
  3. You know what to do. You have pinpointed focus and direction.
  4. You have leverage. Now everything you do builds momentum.

So, the best reason to narrow to one specific audience is to make your life easier.

Stand Out in the Crowd

Look, if all you want is a coaching client now and then and a bit of spending money, then you can afford to be a generalist.

But if you want your coaching business to be a going concern, as they say, and feed you and your family for years to come, then being a generalist and selling coaching won’t do that for you.

Why are you listening to my podcast? Because you’re a coach and this is specially designed to help coaches. I know coaching. I know business.

There are lots of other mentors helping any type of business owners out there. But isn’t extra helpful when someone understands exactly where you are and where you want to be and what’s in the way?

That is the power of narrowing and specializing.

You’ll Help More Coaching Clients

By choosing a narrow audience you are setting a powerful intention for your own good.

But the beauty is that your intention also makes it easier for serious prospects to find you. That’s another benefit for you but it’s also a benefit for your clients.

Don’t you want to help more people? If so, then make sure your voice, your topics attract attention. In this marketplace specificity is what snaps people to attention.

Specialize Doesn’t Exclude Anyone

And here’s what I also know because of hindsight. Focusing your niche on a specific audience doesn’t mean you can’t work with people outside of that audience. You can!

I’ve worked with all types of business owners over the years even though my website, my blogs, my podcasts are all focused on coaches.

So for ease and clarity your social posts, your content, your web copy and freebie should all be focused on supporting your specific audience. And that means it will speak to them. It will touch me. They will feel special and follow you.

And you’ll find it easier to create valuable content, to post on social channels and get engagement, to draw the right kind of prospects to your website. Because focusing makes all of that easier.

If you stay general or just focus on a coachey topic for your niche people won’t take you seriously. That’s the bottom line.

The more you stay broad, the less you’ll be noticed.

One More Way to Look at This

Are you still resisting this idea of narrowing?

Think of it this way … if you want to go on vacation but can’t decide where you’re going and how you’ll get there because there are soooo many choices and you don’t want to leave any out, chances are there will be no vacation for you.

You are stalled from something you really want.

And that same indecision is keeping you from having a successful coaching business. I lovingly challenge you to be strategic about your niche and everything your business. Take the risk to specialize and become known. You will love it and so will your clients!

In the Next Episode: 7 Ways to create a More Valuable Coaching Client Experience

Ep 67 – What Is Your Coaching Business Model?

This episode, called What Is Your Coaching Business Model? is the 6th in my Coaching Business Checkup series, which is all about how to strategize the most important parts of your business. If something isn’t working well in your coaching business, it might be a lack of strategy holding you back.

At the end of this whole series I’ll have a downloadable Coaching Business Checkup Assessment you can use to diagnose and treat what’s ailing in your business so you can fix it and thrive.

The show notes for today’s episode can be found at prosperouscoach.com/67

Just in case this business model idea is totally new to you, let’s define what a business model is and why you want one.

Why Have a Business Model for Your Coaching?

A business model is literally a design for the success of your business. It’s a structure you create that makes your business viable. In other words, it’s your plan for earning good money as a coach.

Essential, right?

Like many aspects of your coaching business, your business model can’t really take shape until you have targeted a viable audience and developed a smart coaching niche. Those decisions are the cornerstone … everything else you build for your coaching business comes from that.

Notice I said a moment reliably attract people to your offers. That takes strategy. It’s a far cry from what I did for so many years at the beginning, which was what I call the “I hope it works” approach to business.

Without a business model, you are leaving your success up to dumb luck.

No doubt, you experienced a lot of business models just living in the modern world but you might not have thought much about it. I’ll just name a couple to help you understand the concept

Let’s take Netflix. You get an account. Pay monthly. And for that low fee, you get access to their impressive catalog of TV series and movies to stream on demand.

That’s called the Subscription Model. It has 3 main parts:

Subscription service + Options the consumer wants + Delivered on demand

It is something you could create someday. More about that in a minute.

How about Uber? Their model is called Create the Marketplace, which operates on supply and demand

SUPPLY = people with cars who want to earn

+ DEMAND = people who want to get someplace now without driving

It’s very specific and innovative. And this is close to what a coach needs to do. You identify a BIG PROBLEM that a specific audience faces and create a hunger for your program which helps to solve that problem through coaching.

The Simplest Coaching Business Model

A while ago I aired an episode called The Simplest Coaching Business Model and it’s been a favorite with record downloads. This episode goes deeper into what’s involved.

By the way, thank you so much for going back to my earlier episodes! I can’t tell you how often I hear that people are binge listening to every episode. That’s a great way to learn a lot fast.

It’s a great sign that episode is popular. It means that coaches now are much more business savvy than I was when I started. So well done you. Keep that up!

For a coach, the simplest business model is to offer 1:1 coaching.

Here’s how I help my clients develop this business model with 2 important twists:

  1. Choose a viable audience
  2. Find out their BIG PROBLEM – the one that will prompt them to seek your services
  3. Develop a high ticket private program designed to solve that problem. That’s one twist!
  4. Create ways to continuously build awareness about you.
  5. Drive traffic to a website with an authentic non-salesy conversion process or two. That’s the 2nd twist!
  6. Invite ideal prospects to an enrollment conversation and enroll them.

What’s so great about this simple business model?

  1. It’s the easiest model to start with
  2. You quickly learn how to coach your ideal audience
  3. You can earn a 6-figure profit with relatively low labor and costs
  4. It’s a satisfying way to make a positive impact

And here are a couple of bonus things that I love about this model:

  1. You’ll only spend your private time with highly motivated prospects and clients
  2. And you’ll build a strong referral network that’s free

I’ll be talking more about how critical these two things are for your sanity in an episode soon.

There are other business model options that might help you scale up and reach more people in less time. However, consider that you could also keep your life and business simple. If you create a meaningful program with milestones that are important to your audience you can charge quite a bit for it. I covered this is Episode 66.

The Challenge of Scaling Coaching

Scalability is one of the biggest challenges in coaching businesses. To scale, people start thinking about “passive revenue”, a concept often attached to revenue streams such as:

  • online courses
  • selling books, ebooks and other products
  • membership programs

It sounds so good, doesn’t it? I’ll just create a few online courses and put it online and boom! Passive income! I’ll make money while I sleep.

Here’s the thing that I learned the hard way, there’s nothing passive about it. While the bulk of the content creation is done up front, the costs and labor to keep revenues flowing in are relatively high.

A good rule of thumb to remember is the higher number of people you want to buy what you’re selling the more marketing it takes. And it’s a style of marketing that’s highly promotional. It takes a team of people to pull it off. So not passive at all.

The Affiliate Marketing Model

Where people really excel at these scalable business models is when they are already well known in their industry. Think Tony Robbins, Brendan Burchard and Marie Forleo. They not only have a huge leads list of their own, but they also have other experts with huge leads list willing to help market the program or product for a kickback (also called an affiliate fee).

The affiliate fee is often 50% of the sale. And tracking all of that requires special programs and website.

The business model is called Affiliate Marketing and is composed of:

Email marketing with affiliates + a live or canned event + sales page + online or live course

There’s one business model being highly marketed to coaches right now, which I call the Evergreen Webinar Model. It involves:

Ads on social channels + webinars + online courses

This model is touted to be highly lucrative and I can see how it absolutely could be over the long run.

Experts selling the training to learn this business model often have testimonials like this …

“I just had my first $15,000 month!”

And that alone has us frothing at the mouth to sign up for the training.

But it’s important to realize that to earn that $15,000 in revenue in one month this individual may have invested up to or beyond:

  • $4500 on ads
  • $3000 on virtual assistants and web design
  • months of content creation
  • the cost of the training to learn this model $8 – $10,000

The way that business model becomes profitable is over time when costs per sale start to decrease. Just the continuous investment can literally kill a coaching business.

Yes, it could be an amazing business model later on. But, for a new coach who isn’t already well known and who doesn’t have a significant network of potential clients and marketing partners, it can be very difficult to pull off.

Membership Programs

Another costly option is membership programs. Back in 2006 when membership programs were trendy, I took nearly a year to create a comprehensive online course called The Coach’s Power Path. It was a vision I woke up with one day and truly thought I’d earn loads while helping hundreds of coaches.

In short, it was a colossal failure. I invested 10’s of thousands in that venture and never got close to earning it back, much less profiting.

I just didn’t realize how complicated it was — not only to create the curriculum and the entire back end of the membership site — but also to constantly market in ways that I really disliked. It was exhausting.

Later a marketing expert told me that most membership programs are loss leaders, which means it’s only a low cost offer to raise awareness and trust so you can offer people something higher priced and higher touch.

What About Group Coaching?

Group coaching is a much simpler business model than selling courses, membership programs and products. And, for many target audiences, gathering people with the same big problem or goal will greatly add to their transformation.

What you need going for you for this model to work is the 6 strategic steps I mentioned before for 1:1 coaching PLUS a developed network in your target audience. It could be your own leads list, a connection with a center of influence or a good sized following on social media.

That’s something you can build on your own without a lot of costs or any assistance!

I recommend groups for coaches who have a year’s experience or more in 1:1 coaching and that amount of time building visibility online.

So now, do you know what your intended coaching business model is? Have you strategized who you work with, what they want that they’ll invest in and how you’ll enroll enough of them to earn well? You’re on your way!

In the Next Episode: Calling All Coaches to Innovate and Lead

Ep 66 – How to Describe Your Coaching Program Without Selling Coaching

This episode, which is part of the Coaching Business Checkup series, is going to be short.

You’ve probably noticed that there are overlapping themes in this series episode to episode. That’s because strategy intentionally connects one thing to another.

Here are the repetitive themes:

Forgive me for the repetition but it’s not possible to talk about one strategic action or decision without mentioning what goes before it. Strategy is about connecting dots. It’s about congruence.

If you can remember these themes in all you do for your coaching business, you’ll experience a dramatic shift in your ability to attract enough clients who pay well.

Strategy – The Many Layered Cake

So I’ve been making a many-layered cake for you.

We started with the strategy of choosing a viable target audience full of seekers and then moved onto the central task of developing a smart niche — centering on a big enough problem your audience faces.

Now, if you are continuously visible out there speaking your audience’s language about their big problem and show that you have a solution without being salesy, they will pay attention.

That’s what will compel them to go to your website where hopefully you’ve got streamlined copy speaking about what’s most important to them there as well. And then you gently point them to a couple of conversion processes you have your site.

A clue … that’s NOT inviting them to a free sample session or Discovery Session.

That comes later when they are more ready for it. You don’t want to push people to next steps. Lead them instead.

You need to have everything ready for them before they arrive.

And when they arrive you want them to know they are in the right place.

That’s why your website should NOT be about the wonders of coaching.

Instead it’s about what’s keeping your specific audience up at night and what’s in the way of the big thing they want.

Okay, I’m getting off track from my goal here. You see how everything is interconnected and strategic?

This episode is not about how to create a client-winning website. It’s about something you create before the website …  your signature system.

What’s a Signature System and Why Should You Have One?

Why would I call it a system?

Because when humans perceive that there is a structure — a framework to get what they want — they relax. And trust builds.

Your Signature System is the way you describe what you do so that your audience can see clearly:

  1. That you understand them.
  2. That you have a structure they can lean into.
  3. That you know what you’re doing.

In a non-salesy way, your system is connected directly to their exact situation — what specifically has been in the way of them realizing their most urgent goal.

Do you see now why you need to know the big problem you solve before you can move to this step?

In your system you name the specific milestones that your audience has wanted to achieve but they’ve been stuck for some reason and unable to move forward.

Remember my niche and the big problem I solve for coaches? That smart & profitable coaching niche has been illusive and without that solved they can’t really move forward. It’s painful and frustrating.

Why Doesn’t Your Signature System Mention Coaching?

Because it muddies the water and distracts them from what’s meaningful to them.

Coaching isn’t what’s meaningful to them. It’s the big and small, tangible and intangible ways they’ll grow and benefit from working with you that’s important now.

When you share your system with them in a Discovery Session you want it to be so spot on that they feel like it’s exactly what they’ve been seeking and didn’t even fully know it until just this moment.

You’ve ticked all the boxes. You’ve covered all the most nagging challenges they’ve been facing.

Your Signature Program is based on this system. But that’s getting ahead of myself again.

For now, I hope you take in that you can articulate what you do in a non-coachey and non-salesy way that inspires investment through trust and context.

In the Next Episode: What is Your Coaching Business Model?

Ep 65 – Are You Solving a Big Enough Problem In Your Coaching Business?

This episode is part of the Coaching Business Checkup series.

If you’re not attracting enough paying clients to sustain your business there could be several reasons why. The episodes in this series are designed to help you isolate what needs attention.

But don’t let these errors move you to give up on your coaching business unless you’re truly done with the dream of being a successful coach and helping loads of people with your unique talents.

To Succeed You Have to Be Willing to Flail and Fail a Bit

I encourage you to be willing to make mistakes and realize they don’t define the possibility of your future success.

Jumping out there without strategy is a time honored mistake. Nearly everyone makes these mistakes if they are willing to risk success.

On the other side of this is the person who does not risk anything and misses out on the chance to learn from their mistakes. And those are the folks who may regret staying in the safety zone.

The Big Thing Holding You Back From Financial Success As A Coach

For this episode, I’m going to dig into the most common problem that holds coaches back from attracting enough clients and earning well:

There’s not enough people inspired to invest in your services.

You are no doubt talented, capable and truly effective as a coach. But that goes wasted if you can’t attract the attention of your audience and inspire them to invest.

What can you do about that?

Well, so many things! For now I’m focusing on one.

Let’s say you have chosen a target audience and they are SEEKERS — people who do invest out their own pocket to grow personally and professionally.

The next thing you do is to define your coaching niche, right?

And this is the place where you might be inclined to totally wimp out. I did when I started.

It’s partly because fresh out of coaching training there’s still this glow about the value of coaching that can blind you to effective ways to attract paying clients.

Have you romanticized the notion of coaching that you believe people know they want it?

Most people don’t think about coaching as a solution. That’s why coaching is a hard sell.

So, at this starry-eyed moment in time instead of niching down, you niche widely or niche weakly.

Niching wide is choosing a broad coaching audience and naming an overarching abstract outcome.

I help women create a more fulfilling life.

OR

I help business owners become successful.

Another way to wimp out in your niche is to only identify your track.

I’m a career coach.

I’m a leadership coach.

I’m a life coach.

I’ve seen many coaches list all or several coaching tracks on their websites. The lack of specialty does just the opposite of what the coach hoped — it turns potential clients away because they see a lack of commitment and focus.

An example of niching weakly is focusing on coaching topics as the specialty.

I’m a confidence coach.

I’m an empowerment coach.

I help you breakthrough limiting beliefs.

I don’t think people wake up in the middle of the night and say to themselves … you know what I need? I need a coach to help me breakthrough limiting beliefs.

Everyone has limiting beliefs. Any coach or mentor can help individuals past them. But it doesn’t inspire investment except for a few sessions at low prices.

These aren’t big enough problems to bring you a steady stream of clients who are ready to invest.

I niched widely and weakly at first! I didn’t know better. Now, I hope to save you some of my flailing and failing.

Fully Commit to Standing Out with Your Specialty

Notice I didn’t saying standing out with your coaching specialty? Let’s take the coaching piece out of the equation. That’s your toolbox — a skillset you’ll use to help your clients — not what people will buy.

If you intend to be a successful coach in the long run, commit to targeting and niching down strategically and then follow through with that in everything you do.

Don’t let your website copy be dumbed down by focusing on the wonders of coaching. Focus on your specific target audience and what’s keeping them up at night.

Make it so that there is absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind who you serve, the big problem you help them overcome and the big goal you help them reach.

Define Big Enough

When you’re looking for a dynamic profitable niche, you have to step out of thinking like a coach and step into thinking like your audience. (And this is the best way to create everything for your business and do all your marketing by the way.)

It takes a bit of mindfulness and practice. Here’s the question to ask yourself:

What specific problem will prompt my audience to go looking for solutions with their credit card ready?

Think about all the times you’ve invested in something that was pricey. What made you pay the big bucks for a service even though you knew you were spending a lot?

No doubt it was something that felt crucial for your future.

The Gap Between Pain and Pleasure

You’ve heard about pain points before. Some problems are annoying. Some problems are a hassle.

You’re looking for the problem that is acutely painful.

It’s the gap between what your audience wants and where are they are now. That great longing for something that’s been elusive because there’s a big, fat problem in the way.

The thing in the way is usually the individual.

Big enough problems fall within just a handful of categories associated with a fundamental want:

  • money
  • career
  • power
  • love
  • healing

Here are a few coaching niches. Notice how they fit into one of those 5 fundamental categories.

Helping HR leaders gain more impact and influence in their organization.

Helping moms with a long career gap find flexible work they enjoy.

Helping people with fibromyalgia feel better get their lives back.

Helping parents support their kids with ADHD to excel in school.

Helping wives of civil servants create space for a career of their own.

Do you see how these big problems and desired outcomes would inspire investment?

If you’ve chosen an audience and you think you’ve arrived at a big enough problem to solve, pause to ask yourself:

Would I buy high-ticket services to help me overcome this problem?

If not, dig in deeper.

And if you want help identifying your audience’s big problem and developing a smart business foundation that attracts ideal clients, you know where you can find me: https://prosperouscoachblog.com/work-with-rhonda

In the Next Episode: How to Describe Your Coaching Program Without Selling Coaching

Ep 64 – How to Strategically Choose Your Coaching Niche

In my last episode I listed off 10 Ways To Be More Strategic In Your Coaching Business as an overview to my next 10 episodes.

In this episode I’m focusing on the FIRST way to be strategic in your coaching business. In other words, strategizing this step is what you do before you do anything else — website, offers, social media marketing.

What is this #1 way to be more strategic? Choose a viable coaching niche, of course.

This episode and the other 9 to follow are all part of my Coaching Business Checkup series. I will have a free downloadable Coaching Business Checkup for you at the end of this series, so stay tuned!

One Decision That Rules Them All

MBAs and business experts agree that if you niche your business in a strategic way from the get go you’ll dramatically increase your ability to succeed and sustain success.

And that’s truer than ever in this information age where there are more entrepreneurs and companies flooding the Internet with marketing messages every day.

You can’t attract clients if you can’t attract attention.

And attracting attention is mostly about standing out in some way. Standing out in your niche – what you do for whom is the easiest way to stand out.

If you want your message to get through to people who could become your clients, then you want to speak to a very specific group of people about what they care about most.

Strange isn’t it?

The more specific and focused your message is on a unique target audience and the big acute problem they face, the easier it is to engage people and build relationships of trust. And then enroll them.

You know, coaching niches are my super power.

I decided to strategically focus on this big problem for coaches 17 years ago because all around me I saw that coaches were utterly confused, frustrated, and in many cases, paralyzed by the niche decision. For many it’s what had them give up for good on their business.

So for coaches the agonizing question — WHAT IS MY NICHE? — is the most acute big problem they have. And it’s related to attracting enough clients who will invest. That’s the other acute problem coaches face.

And I know that once that niche piece is settled it opens up ease in all the steps that follow – messaging, offers, marketing – it all becomes a more graceful and intuitive process once you know your niche.

It was a smart strategy then for me to focus in on coaches — my target audience — and on the topic that’s most painful for them. I could pull in my background knowledge in marketing and my experience writing coach training curriculum and training new coaches. It’s a good fit.

I wanted to tell you how I came to my niche to illustrate the strategy behind it. It’s not rocket science but it was a thoughtful process. And that’s what strategy is.

Many coaches miss this crucial step of choosing a smart niche. It’s partly because of a misunderstanding of what makes for a successful coaching niche. And partly, it’s fear.

Can you relate to that?

  • Maybe you fear that you don’t know enough to specialize.
  • Or, you might fear narrowing to one group and excluding others. (Although exclusion isn’t really necessary because targeting an audience is about ease in marketing not exclusion or limitation of who you can have as a client.)
  • Or you might simply fear making a decision and committing to it.

All of these are understandable fears.

But here’s the thing that I remind myself of when I’m fearful. Fear rises up when you’re at an important threshold. It’s how you respond to fear and still move forward on your dream that builds courage and confidence. Moving forward decisively is the way out of fear.

What is a Coaching Niche?

A coaching niche is the intersection between a viable target audience + their biggest problem/desire + what you bring to the table to help them get there.

Let’s break this down.

  1. There’s a specific group of people who are seekers. (They do invest in their growth.)
  2. They have a big acute problem that is in the way of something they really want.
  3. You can help them solve it and reach their goals with your toolbox of talents & skills

And so, once you’ve chosen that niche, you conduct a bit of market research and then create messaging and offers that fit their top challenges and goals bringing your supportive skills and tools to the table.

Now, let me illustrate how choosing a niche can be strategic using examples of niches my recent clients have chosen with my help.

Here are two that are directly related to specific subject matter expertise or recent professional background that the coaches could leverage in their niche:

One coach helps parents empower their teen daughters to develop confidence, integrity and resilience. She has a Masters in Clinical Social Work plus experience working with teens professionally, and 3 teens of her own. Her niche is a great fit.

Another coach helps executive assistants break through the limitations of their role and advance to the next level. She has 8 years of experience as an EA and a string of promotions that rewarded her ingenuity and excellence in her roles. Her niche is a great fit.

Another coach with over 20 years experience in nursing and health care is focusing on helping nurses heal burnout and work differently.

Leveraging your recent experience or expertise is the most powerful way to niche.

But not all coaches have subject matter expertise. Instead it may be that your current life circumstances could become an ideal niche. For example:

One of my clients stumbled unexpectedly into being a father and a husband. It happens. In the thick of that he realized it’s a common and difficult experience for young men. So he’s targeting that group to help them find grounding and maturity in the upheaval. A heartful niche based on a personal context.

Another coach decided to work with women re-entering the workforce after a long gap raising children. She knows first hand the challenges that come with finding flexible, meaningful work after a big career gap. And as a bonus we realized her Ph.D. in Industrial Organizational Psychology related to employee recruitment and selection processes was a bonus point of relevance and skill related to this audience. A super helpful niche!

A client who recently turned 49 felt called to remake her life from the inside out and create an intentional journey moving toward 50. So she’s targeting women at 50 to break free and rewrite the rules of their lives. This is a personally motivated niche.

It’s rare that targeting a specific age makes for a good niche but after market research it was clear that 50 is a point in time for women that’s rife with so many physical & emotional challenges and creative yearnings. And we were able to create a transformational program for women at 50.

So you can see there are different ways to approach choosing a niche. The main thing is to think it through strategically.

Remember, don’t just sell coaching to a general audience. Instead, create a program with milestones to help a specific audience overcome specific acute challenges on the way to an ultimate goal.

That’s how you’ll become known quickly and attract a steady stream of clients who pay well.

Coaching Niches That Lack Strategy

Topical niches can be powerful if they are closely linked to a tangible outcome that a specific group has. For example, I’ve known coaches who focus on helping business owners create systems or coaches who focus expertise in something like the Enneagram to help corporate leaders master leadership in a personalized way.

But some topics bomb as a coaching niche:

  • Stress
  • Limiting Beliefs
  • Overwhelm

I’m guessing those topical niches bombed primarily because these challenges are usually chronic problems. They are challenges that people are used to living with and so they aren’t inspiring people to actively seek and invest in solutions.

All coaches can help any existing clients with things like stress, limiting beliefs and overwhelm. But in marketing messages and on websites these topics tend not to inspire enrollment except for a short engagement at a low price.

It’s missing a specific target audience and their ultimate outcome as an anchor point. But even if you did attach one of these chronic problems to a target audience and their goal, it may not feel acute enough to the audience to inspire investment.

Similarly, big overarching goals or life skills can bomb for the same reasons above:

  • Self Care
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Law of Attraction

If you search for topics like these on the Internet you’ll find millions of articles on them. Great support for free but not likely to result in paid engagements with long-term clients. And if clients are short term for low fees, it means you have to work with a lot more people. And that means more marketing and enrolling moments for less income and profit.

Strategizing a smart niche for a viable audience isn’t a needle in a haystack kind of equation. It’s more like the beginning of a jigsaw puzzle where you try to find the opening move that quickly builds momentum.

If you’re stuck and struggling with your coaching niche, let me help you over this wall.

Let’s have a Strategy Session. It will focus you in and give you direction for everything else you create in your coaching business. It will help you stand out the crowd and build your brand & reputation.

I’ll send you some exercises to start then we’ll spend 90 minutes brainstorming on the call. I’d love to work with you. Sign up!

In the Next Episode: Are You Solving A Big Enough Problem In Your Coaching Niche?