Ep 31 – The Coaching Niche of Least Resistance

This episode is another ON AIR Coaching Session where I coach a coach to help her click on the certainty button for a unique target audience and then we formulate their coaching niche.

It’s clear from reviews that you really like these coach the coach sessions, so it’s my goal to do one every month.

Ellen Fowler has worked in the field of training, organizational and leadership development for over 25 years. Her experience includes work in the public and private sectors as well as academia.

She lived and worked in Ireland for 12 years, so she has firsthand understanding of the challenges of cultural diversity and radical life change.

She is also an ordained Christian minister. Ellen’s career has always involved working with individuals whether as a counselor, teacher, consultant or coach.

When I help coaches choose a profitable coaching niche, I always start by asking about their background so I can guide them to pull in experience, expertise, interests, gifts and passions into their niche.

Ellen’s background includes:

  • Itinerant minister
  • Training and organizational & leadership development
  • Change & diversity management
  • Teaching adults returning to the workplace on how to make their companies more efficient

Want to Be An Entrepreneurial Coach?

Then, I asked Ellen if she was interested in being an entrepreneur because it’s a certain type of person who does.

Ellen wants to run her own business because she wants it to be portable so she can travel. However, she feels a bit intimidated by the marketing side of things.

I was intimidated by marketing at first but when I learned to put the spotlight on exactly what my target audience wants, it became fun.

Two Potential Audiences That Seem Equal

Ellen had 2 main ideas for her target audience:

  • Mid-career professional women
  • Church leaders

I asked Ellen if it was okay with her if we focused on Church Leaders as a possible target audience first.

I made this choice for 4 reasons:

  • Ellen is an ordained minister and much of her career has been as a church leader. I felt that gave her credibility and gravitas with this audience.
  • Her faith is very important to her.
  • She’s currently coaching 10 clergy and staff from a church group in Pennsylvania and getting more referrals from that group. So she already has a toehold there.
  • She loves the work she’s doing with this audience.

Ellen shared that the work she’s doing with the Church Leaders is based on an instrument called Human Synergistics that she’s certified to use. It helps people identify effective and not so effective behaviors in the workplace and to develop action plans for changing those.

Is The Target Audience Viable for You?

I also felt that the audience — mid-career professional women — is not the most viable audience for Ellen because:

  • They are in corporations and hard to access.
  • They might expect their company to pay for coaching, and that’s an uphill battle to get a foot in the door with corporations.
  • There’s a lot of competition and marketplace noise for that audience already.

Passion and Fit Are The Best Coaching Niche Indicators

I asked Ellen:

What do you love about working with clergy and what do you enjoy about the Human Synergistics instrument?

As Ellen described how she uses Human Synergistics in her work with clergy, I heard her enthusiasm louder than her words.

Then, I wanted to check whether Ellen was earning well with this current gig with clergy because more and more it was sounding like a viable audience for Ellen.

Ellen explained that she felt blessed because the way she was connected with this particular group was that the church leader who hired her was part of the Human Synergistics training she took. He said:  “I’d like you to do some work for me.”

And he gave her carte blanche about what she’d do with the staff and how she’d price.

Right time – right place opportunities happen when you target a unique audience and focus your niche on their big problems.

So, I bee-lined to the bottomline question:

“Ellen, of the two audiences — church leaders or mid-career professional women, which is more attractive to you?”

Ellen said that she could go both ways. Her inability to commit comes down to how she’ll get in front of the audiences.

I spoke to the difficulty with gaining entry to corporations where with her background and current active church leader clients she already has a strong entry place.

I pointed out that if she were to have an international business, especially with her desire to travel and her experience in other countries, that the pond to fish in would be bigger. She could target larger churches and religious organizations with bigger coffers.

I explained that the Church Leader audience would likely mean more offline marketing than online marketing. I asked how she’d feel about that and she said:

“Oh, I like that!” More enthusiasm.

I pointed out that that’s the old fashioned way, right? Not everyone has to use social media channels to build their business.

  • Ellen knows this world.
  • She understands their challenges and goals first hand.
  • She’ll be able to speak their language.
  • They’ll be more accessible because she’s been in their shoes.
  • And she’ll have testimonials from her 10 current clients.

For Ellen, the other audience is less viable. Viability is determined by 5 factors:

  • Easy to find
  • Easy to access
  • Eager to evolve
  • Willing to invest
  • Narrow enough (to help you stand out in the crowd)

Ellen added another key reason that Church Leaders are more ideal for her that spoke loud and clear:

“The spiritual side of life is really a bonus for me.”

I asked Ellen to do a check in with herself. Is church leaders the audience she can get fully behind with your heart, mind and spirit?



Then we shifted to talking about her niche for a moment … I asked Ellen what is the number one challenge and what is the number one tangible desired outcome that church leaders want?

Ellen said the most acute thing is how to avoid burnout. There’s always somebody needing something and they’re often understaffed and overworked. They feel called to the work, so it’s a burden of responsibility. They get into it because they want to help other people transform.

Burnout can begin to wear away their faith, which is critical for their position.

She felt the Human Synergistic instrument is a so effective in uncovering what’s really going on for the leader and the team.

Each time that Ellen spoke about Church Leaders and working with them I heard passion and compassion — a depth of understanding and certainty that she could help them thrive with her knowledge and the instruments she’s trained in.

She said: “Thank you, Rhonda, for helping me think it through it. It’s been really enlightening.”

The Next Episode is: Would You Buy Your Own Coaching Program?

Ep 20 – How to Stop Saying ‘Yes’ to Bright Shiny Objects

This episode is in the Smart Mindsets & Habits series. And, it’s part 1 about how to selectively and wisely decide where and when to invest your time, energy and money in opportunities that come your way as a coach. Opportunities such as:

  • more skills training
  • how-to programs that teach a marketing tactic
  • offers to send you leads or promote you
  • offers to partner with another coach or expert

Today, we’ll dig into the bright shiny object syndrome. That’s a powerful impulse to invest money in training, apps, all sorts of bells and whistles that are supposed to help your business grow.

But have you ever taken expensive training or a mastermind and, though you enjoyed it, you didn’t move forward in your coaching business or you just could apply what you learned?

There’s a simple reason for that … you may not have been developmentally ready for that program yet.

Spending like that is eating up your profits! So I have tips and mindset mastery coming your way here.

Before we dive in, I want to thank you.

With your support, Prosperous Coach Podcast has surpassed 4000 downloads with just our 20th episode. A shout out to Kate in Basel, Switzerland. Kate said:

“I’ve really been enjoying your podcast and want to thank you for the really helpful, clear, and good vibes content that you are sharing. I always look forward to hearing your intro music!” Thank you, Kate!

Coaches need clear guidelines. Very soon I’m launching a Facebook group for subscribers of the podcast. All coaches are welcome. More on that next week.

Okay let’s breakthrough the bright shiny object pattern …

Why does this syndrome exist?

When your coaching business is new and you’ve not yet filled your time serving clients, you’re in a vulnerable place.

You’re vulnerable because you are yearning — for more coaching clients, for higher revenues, for recognition that you’re valuable — and you’re looking outside yourself for answers.

So you go surfing and get on a bunch of lists or click a bunch of ads.

All manner of offers and opportunities are dangling like glittering diamonds in front of you.

And your credit card is in hand. Maybe you’ve even memorized it.

I’ve been there. Much less than I used to thanks to the tips I’m going to share, but it still snags me occasionally.

I’m Not Skilled Enough

As a coach, sometimes there’s this voice saying “I’m not skilled enough yet” that has you reaching for more training to learn different types of coaching skills, get more certifications, to pile up credentials.

There’s a learned belief under that, that what you know now isn’t enough for where you are now developmentally. And that’s where the deepest wisdom is — where you are now.

Obviously, there are times when learning more skills will be right for your current situation.

But I wonder … how many purchases for more skills training are driven by a rational decision?

Think about it this way, if you are endlessly in student mode, how are you ever going to succeed in your coaching business?

Learning is a lot like breathing. The breath in is followed by the out breath. It’s a natural rhythm.

But if you breathe in and hold your breath, your lungs start to wither. And eventually the organism that is you forces your lungs to let out the CO2 so you can breathe in again.

So the metaphor is this … Information in needs to be followed by integration and action. That’s a healthy rhythm.

And that’s how we develop … as coaches, as business owners, as human beings.

Kids learn by doing. They are in their bodies and in their spirit, not so much in their heads.

As a new coach, you’ll also integrate learning best by doing.

What I’m Doing Isn’t Working!

Sometimes, the voice inside is saying “What I’m doing isn’t working!”

That might true. Maybe it’s the way you’re doing something that isn’t working. Or maybe it’s how frequently you’re doing it.

I remember saying to my coach in the first year of my business: “Nothing is happening! I’m not getting enough clients.”

And my smarty pants coach said: “Rhonda, what exactly have you done in the last 6 months to make that happen?” Busted!

So when you feel like nothing is working, pause to ask yourself :

Am I doing enough consistently to gain ground, become known, build relationships of trust and enroll coachng clients?

There’s another reason why what you’re doing may not be working and that’s that your business isn’t on a solid foundation. I’ll cover more about this in a minute.

No One Escapes the Developmental Path and Hard Work

In the past, instead of reflecting that way, you might have gone searching for a tactic out there that will save you. Stuff like:

  • How to write better email subject lines or Facebook ads that get clicks.
  • How to launch evergreen webinars so you can earn while you sleep.
  • How to create your own online program to earn passive income.

You read testimonials of amazing financial gains for participants. Stuff like:

“I had my first $25,000 day!”

You hear that and your heartbeat speeds up. You want $25,000 days too. And you’re buying, almost without thought.

The bright shiny object syndrome has you in it’s grips!

But what if instead you stop to wonder about the likely massive investment of time and money the person made before that $25,000 day and whether they will ever replicate it again.

I’m not saying that kind of thing isn’t possible.

We so want to believe there’s a magic bullet and with it you can avoid the hard work.

But any financially successful coach or any type of business owner, if they’re being honest, will tell you the massive hard work that went before their big win.

The bright shiny object syndrome is only powerful if there’s a place of scarcity inside of you wanting, wanting, wanting and believing you won’t succeed without that tactic, without that group, without that panel of experts who are going to show you all their secrets for just $10,000 and a few days of work.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe most programs out there do deliver tips that you couldn’t possibly know without expert support and they are sharing valuable approaches that can work.

But here’s the KICKER! And this is really important …

Few of those programs are geared for new coaches.

Developmentally, new coaches are not ready for what will be thrown at them in those programs.

You are already behind in the program, when you enroll, from the people who are developmentally ahead of you.

Do you get me here?

Everything living thing has a developmental path. It’s unavoidable.

Anything worth learning requires fundamental steps.

Children learn to walk by doing the hard work. They see you walk and they want to. Just like you see these $25,000 days and want it for yourself.

Kids have no option. They have to build muscle strength and coordination before they can walk well much less sprint.

You have to do that too.

Solid Foundation Before Advanced Tactics

If your coaching business is grounded in a solid foundation then you can apply the advance tactics in all those programs.

But if you haven’t done that foundational work, those tactics have nothing to apply to for leverage.

There’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t yet know who your target audience is and what they want and how you can apply your skills and passion to help them get what they want.

And that is the first step in the foundation.

If you spend time and money on those programs before your time, you’ll have to wait until your foundation is in place to integrate that learning.

Stop Spending Your Coaching Profits

Most of the coaches who find me tell me they’ve spent over $20,000 in training, masterminds, and online programs. For some, it’s over $50,000.

That means that even if they had a $25000 day they’d still be in the red $25,000.

And with each new thing they’ve heard in those programs, they don’t feel lighter, they feel heavier. Their belief in themselves is dimmed. Their energy is drained. And frustation is piqued to the max.

That just breaks my heart and it reminds me of my own painful experiences with this …

A couple of years into my coaching business … I had some clients, some income but I had no real sense of direction. No niche, no specific target market. I was selling coaching and few were buying.

And I was regularly investing money and time into everything that came my way trying to breakthrough.

I remember this sense of desperation, trying to figure it all out by myself really because most of the programs I bought into had no personalized support.

The desperation is a big clue. Something is off balance and unconscious. Bring it into consciousness. Choose mindfully and wisely.

Turn Off the Firehose of Information

The best tip to stop the bright shiny object syndrome is … only reach for the specific help/information that you need for your next single step.

And when you do reach out it doesn’t mean you should invest in an expensive program or app unless your higher self affirms it’s a great fit for you where you are now. If you are tempted to buy out of anxiety, don’t!

What is your next single developmental step?

Also, consider following no more than 2 experts or mentors at a time because much more than that will have your head spinning.

Over the years, I’ve turned the faucet of information off many times.

Right now, I’m a newbie Instagrammer. I’m reading a lot of articles and observing what other successful instagrammers are doing. I’m putting things into practice.

Yes there’s loads of training about how to do ads and videos on Instagram. But I’m not jumping for those because I’m not developmentally ready for that. First, I need to put into practice what I’ve learned already about how maximize the profile, the posts, the follows — the beginning stuff.

Maybe next week or next month I’ll be ready for a training program to help me do ads and videos. But I’ll be very choiceful if I do invest in anything.

So, turn down the faucet of information to a manageable trickle. I promise you won’t miss being pummeled by the firehose. And then, reach out for only what you need now then integrate what you learned by putting it into practice. Once you’ve mastered it you’ll be ready for another bite of knowledge.

In Part 2 of this topic, we’ll talk about how to create Success Criteria — that’s a set of guidelines that will keep you from wasting your time on actions and opportunities that aren’t true to your brand and foundation.

Ep 14 – The Success Factor: Is It Working for Your Coaching Business?

Okay, so this may sound corny. And I’m not trying to make this like one of those competitive reality shows. But there truly is a success factor that can be applied to anything in life that YOU want to win at.

And when I say win, I mean achievement that comes from passion and commitment, not purely for the sake of fierce competitiveness.

Whether you want to succeed at love, sports, or reaching your full potential, you need this factor.

Olympians have it in spades. And it’s a huge part of the entrepreneurial spirit.

If you want to win at your coaching business, you especially need this thing going for you.

Why especially? Because growing a successful coaching business is a significant effort and accomplishment. The good of that achievement ripples out into a larger community and positively affects lives.

I think that small business is the territory for heroes. And it’s an apt place to grow your full potential.

It’s incredibly rewarding to succeed at business and it will bust your ass on the way there.

And, you’ll be all the better for it.

A Powerful Force

Have you guessed the success factor I’m talking about? It’s DRIVE.

Drive is that awesome force that carries you forward on your journey. It buoys you up during challenges. It gives you the energy to leap and leap and leap.

Trying to build a business without drive is like pushing on the gas with the emergency break on. You’re not going to move much and you might damage something.

Having drive comes down to this … how badly do you want to be successful at your goal?

Do you want it enough to make it happen, to allow yourself to grow into the person who achieves that goal?

Take a moment now. Ask yourself … do I have enough drive to succeed at my coaching business? And don’t say ‘no’ because you don’t yet know enough. That’s not what this is about.

I can easily say ‘yes’ about myself. And that’s why I’ve made it for 20 years despite slipping into all the typical pitfalls.

There’s nothing special about me, that you don’t have within you too.

But still not everyone will succeed in their coaching business.

If fact, less than 1 in 5 will make it year after year. If those numbers intimidate you, I get it. But if that is enough to stop you, then you don’t want this particular goal — of being successful at your coaching business — enough.

Foundation + Drive = Success

When I work with coaches, we do all the foundational things to set them up for success including:

  • landing a smart niche that connects to their zone of genius
  • creating effective messaging that will grab their audience’s attention
  • designing offers their audience will buy
  • developing systems that help them build relationships of trust, and
  • enroll ideal clients with ease into programs that pay the coaches well

Some coaches take that foundation and reach success. THEY make it happen.

Sure, it takes consistent action and an experimental mindset.

And they don’t let mistakes or failures stop them. I heard this said recently:

Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s an integral part of it.

So, you need enough drive to carry you over those roadblocks or pull yourself up out of a pitfall — experiences all business owners face often.

And, having drive doesn’t mean you’re a maverick or that you don’t need anyone else to succeed. Far from it.

Part of the drive is creating support systems for yourself as you need them — a peer group, your own business mentor coach, training.

Support is essential.

4 Possible Reasons You Haven’t Found Coaching Success … Yet

If you confirm that you have the drive to succeed in your coaching business but you’re not there yet, here are some possible reasons:

1. Time. It does take time to get there. This is the reality. Give yourself time. You don’t expect an acorn to be a great oak in a few months.

2. You’re playing it safe and avoiding the actions that scare you, which are often the most important actions to take.

Now I’m an introvert and I have full compassion for the reluctance to get out, to build community, to make connections. I fully understand that desire to do only the things that feel easy or safe.

But staying small and safe won’t build a long term, sustainable coaching business where you get to bring your gifts to the world and make an impact.

Here’s truth … you can’t play it safe and win. You can’t stay small and grow.

3. Getting easily discouraged and becoming complacent.

Disappointment, discouragement — they’re toxic feelings. Something inside you is blocked. You can move past it with help or by employing your own toolbox on yourself. Don’t forget, you’re a coach!

4. No one is getting your message.

All the social media posts in the world won’t do a thing for you if your target audience isn’t engaging with them.

Monitor results from time to time. Don’t keep doing what doesn’t work. But don’t make sweeping changes either. Sometimes you need help to analyze your results and make a small but smart shift.

In any case, when challenged, rise to the occasion.

If you hit a roadblock, find the way over or around it.

When you have a problem, create a solution.

5. Your intention is pure but your goal isn’t aligned

The Right Goal

When I was a kid, my mom worried about me. I dropped out of a lot of things — Girl Scouts, piano lessons, choir, church school, cotillion – ugh! Right?

She thought I was a quitter.

But that wasn’t it. It was because she was picking my goals for me.

Have you ever seen that in yourself or noticed that with your kids? That there’s no enthusiasm for the things you’ve chosen for them.

Sometimes choosing the right goal takes trying a few things out.

Some people love the idea of coaching much more than the idea of being their own boss.

If you haven’t quite admitted that to yourself yet, go ahead.

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Let go of that goal and pick another that aligns better with you.

Pick one that will DRIVE you forward.

Here are some options if you want to coach but you don’t want to be a coaching business owner:

  • Incorporate your coaching skills into a job. Negotiate that opportunity with your supervisor.
  • Become a part of a coaching firm. For example, become a Tony Robbins coach. There aren’t a lot of these situations out there, but if you want that enough you’ll search the world for the right place for you. You may have to prove your skills or take training to be accepted into a situation like that.
  • Pay someone to bring you leads. I’ve noticed loads of these people lately. But do your due diligence to make sure they are on the level.

If you do want to succeed at building a meaningful, financially satisfying coaching business and you want that strong foundation under you then I want to work with you!

Why? Because I know that you’ll have the drive to make it happen. I know that my investment in you and your investment in you will bear fruit. What we do together to set you up for success will pave the street and your drive will get you there.

Ready to take a first step? Grab a Strategy Session with me and we’ll nail down a viable audience and smart niche to start.

It’s time to drive baby, drive!

The next Episode is: What’s Your Zone of Genius As a Coach?

Will Your Coaching Niche Pass the Test?

Coaches often ask me: “Is this a good coaching niche?” What they really want to know 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.

First, do you really need a coaching niche?Joint Ventures will help your business reach the masses

Ultimately, there are three reasons to niche: ease, reach and profitability. We choose a niche so we can market less, earn more and help more people transform.

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 a smart niche now before you invest time, money and energy on your branding and marketing.

A smart niche helps you:

  • Quickly become a coach in high demand through momentum.
  • Leverage your efforts and concentrate your message, instead of being all over the place.
  • Make a bigger impact and command higher fees.

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

Coaching Business Tools I Depend On

Whether you’re a life coach, business coach, wellness coach, career coach or any other kind of change agent, you need smart affordable online tools and systems to run a successful business. It’s tempting to purchase systems you may use someday, but that can run your monthly costs up high and pull your profits down. So, how do you know which are best for where you are in your coaching business right now?

https://prosperouscoachblog.com/coaching-business-tools-depend/I like to run a lean business and fully leverage the systems I pay for while also utilizing free or shareware solutions wherever I can. I wanted you to know about the tried and true online tools that I use. Here they are in 3 categories:

  • Paid services all coaches need
  • Services to grow into
  • Free and useful

How to Set Your Coaching Business Goals

I know… the idea of business planning gets a big groan from most entrepreneurs. What I know for sure is that coaches who do some planning usually do better financially than those who don’t. My first big profit year came for me the first year I planned my business.

Start with a discovery process. The result is a solid jumping-off-place for a more fun and profitable year.

Powerful Questions to Ask Yourself

1. What are your personal goals for the year?https://prosperouscoachblog.com/book-brings-clients/

  • What is your theme for this year? It could be about the phase of your business or about a mindset you want to cultivate. Mine for this year is EASE.
  • What are the best times for your vacations? Always get family and me-time into your calendar first. I like to plan 3 weeks off at a time, even if some of it is stay-at-home time.
  • How do you want your work time to flow? For me, Mondays – Wednesdays are open for clients and consults. Thursdays are for business development. I’m off Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

How to Organize Your Coaching Business with 5 Moves

My computer consultant was at my office recently optimizing my Mac. Opening up my email, he said: “OMG, your inbox is clean!” Then he looked around my office. “Are you really this organized?” I am. And it saves me so much time and hassle while I easily focus in on the things that pay off. https://prosperouscoachblog.com/organize-coaching-business

You can do this too and it’s worth it.

Stuff is distracting. If your office and inbox are overflowing and you don’t like it any more, keep it clean with these five smart moves:

Top 5 Ways Newsletters Make You $$$

This is a guest post by my friend and newsletter expert, Linda Claire Puig

There are two kinds of marketing strategies: active and passive. Active strategies are things like speaking (and selling) or picking up the phone to call a prospective client.

Newsletters and other keep-in-touch strategies fall into the “passive” category. However, they are far from passive in the powerful ways that they can help you increase your income.

Here are five ways that newsletters help make you money:

Front & Center

A newsletter keeps you in front of people. Not everyone is ready to hire you on the spot. Not everyone needs your services this minute. But when they are ready, when they have a pressing need for what you offer and your newsletter shows up in their inbox or mailbox, you’ll be the one to get the call, not someone who’s dropped off their radar.