This episode is inspired by an excellent question posted by two coaches in my Facebook group called Prosperous Coach Club. Find the full transcript at prosperouscoach.com/148
Before we dig into this, let’s get on the same page …
What is a Smart Coaching Niche?
To me, a smart coaching niche has 3 clear components:
- One unique viable target audience full of seekers – people who want to grow personally and professionally and are actively seeking solutions. Without this, it’s hard to have a successful niche.
- A strategic coaching business model built around what that audience urgently wants and the BIG problem that’s in their way. If you don’t know what will motivate investment for your audience you don’t have a robust enough niche to earn well.
- Your skills and talents applied to those other two things. This is more than just coaching skills. This is bringing forward all the skills and maybe even expertise that will make you credible to your audience – something that help you relate to them and them relate to you.
A coaching niche is weak if one of more of those things is missing or not solid enough so it’s worth it to take the time to develop a niche fully.
And let me just stop the worries here … everyone has skills to bring to the table. I’ve never worked professionally with a coach that didn’t have options for their niche based on the sum total of who they are.
It’s good to remember that coaching is a business and you need to operate in the marketplace.
What do I mean by that? Your business needs to be more than selling coaching services. Unless you don’t need to earn, you need to frequently grab the attention of and enroll clients who pay you well. That’s not a casual thing for the long run. It’s totally doable and some strategy is needed.
One Coaching Business for One Well-Formed Niche
I encourage my clients to develop one business built for the long term around one well-formed niche.
Why limit it? Well, because two niches may very well feel like having two businesses, which is like having two full time jobs. No one really wants that.
It comes down to what you can handle effectively. You may be able to do many things at once but is that the best life to live? Why not build a business that’s sustainable for the long run?
You might start out with two niches but somewhere along the way one will get more attention and the other will suffer unless there is some way to leverage the two. So let’s talk about those possibilities.
Two Different Audiences for Your Coaching
Targeting two distinctly different audiences is not a good idea unless the two audiences are related in some easy way.
For example, over 10 years ago I worked with a coach who targeted Financial Advisors. That went so well that her clients introduced her to their clients — wealthy families — so that she could work with them. The two audiences are related by context.
Context is critical.
But here’s the thing to realize … she didn’t start with both audiences. She started with one and later that lead to the other. And she didn’t have to build a new business, a new website and a new content strategy for the wealthy families because they were referrals from her primary audience. No marketing needed!
Two Different Outcomes for the Same Coaching Audience
You might be curious about having two different topics or areas where you help one target audience. That approach is likely to be doable as long as one topic naturally leads to the other. That way, you have one enrollment effort. You attract the client and they stay beyond the original offer.
You could target a single audience and have two Signature Programs — one for an early phase of the outcome they want and one for the later phase.
For example, I specialize in helping new coaches to build their entire business foundation from the ground up. I could add a niche for experienced coaches and help them scale up or build a group program — something like that.
I choose not to do that because I have my hands full with new coaches. It’s enough for me. I get great variety in my work by the unique differences of each client. And that allows me to be my best at what I do and still stay on my toes sometimes.
You might think, if I can help different types of people about different types of topics, why not? I used to think like that but ran myself ragged just trying to get enough clients and earn well.
The first few years you may spend 40-50% of your time attracting clients and building a network. It takes time to build a business. That time investment does slack off as you gain traction.
Choosing Speaks Miles About Your Professionalism
But I just personally would not advise that you choose two disparate audiences or two disparate tracks or two disparate topics to help people about.
I still see some coaches all over the place in their messaging and offers. Their coaching website mentions multiple audience and even broad topics like “I can help you with relationships, career, health.
Guys, that’s a hobby, not a business. Not specializing in at least a track says to people “I can’t choose.” It’s not confidence inspiring.
So be a specialist. It’s how you’ll be perceived as professional and worth the investment.