Who am I to coach anyone about that?

As a coach, have you ever thought “Who am I to…?”  Fears like this show up when you take the smart step of focusing on one unique tribe of people — a niche market — and begin to put the word out that you can help them get where they want to go. The underlying thought is: “How can I charge for this if I haven’t accomplished for myself the things my clients want to accomplish!” And then you fall into a spiral of doubt and start back pedaling.

Fresh PerspectiveI hear you. But keep moving forward by embracing your beginner’s mind.

In any new job, career or business direction there is the absolute necessity to be new, untried and unproven at first. You are required to be a beginner and learn from doing. There’s no shame in it.

In fact, a fresh perspective is THE POINT of coaching.

Dance in the Moment

Coaching isn’t about knowing. It is about coming to sessions without a plan, “dancing in the moment” with your client. It’s about drawing out their wisdom and facilitating shifts in perspective and new approaches to problems, processes and desired outcomes.

These are the true skills of masterful coaching:

In fact, coming in with a lot of knowledge can actually override the most sacred thing about coaching – the client’s agenda. The paradox is that there is no one right way to do anything and it’s best if the solution is your client’s idea, not yours. There’s no need to know what your client knows. And there’s no need to know what your client doesn’t know either.

So ease up on yourself here and trust that YOU CAN DO IT!

It is true that over time you do become an expert on your niche market – the unique group of people you serve – because you’ve coached individuals in that “tribe” long enough to witness the patterns. But it’s so important to stay open minded for diversity, for surprises. That’s why staying fully present is much more valuable in coaching than coming loaded with the answers as a consultant.

The Secret of the Sacred Six

Here’s a secret… personal and professional developmental growth is facilitated by the same set of things no matter what the territory or topic. Coaching is about helping clients to:

  1. Remember and honor their personal values.
  2. Vision for what they want most.
  3. Uncover and move through fears (in a spiral rather than a direct line from A to B).
  4. Leverage strengths and uncover possible obstacles.
  5. Up-level mindset, environment, skills, courage, commitment and motivation.
  6. Think through milestones and take active steps toward what they want most.

Rely on the “Sacred Six” and you’ll realize you are primed to help people on any topic.


What are your thoughts about this? What did I leave out — is there a sacred 7 or 8? What has helped you accept and even celebrate your beginner’s mind? Share any comments here and also share this post with your colleagues if you think they would appreciate it.

  • Ann

    Thanks Rhonda for this post.  As a new coach, this is something I definitely struggle with.  It is great to know I am not the only one. But also appreciate the reminder of what is best for my client.

    • Thanks for starting a conversation here, Ann. Keep remembering that your listening and questioning skills are a powerful and valuable thing for your clients!

  • Cara

    Thanks for this – it’s coming just at the right time as I’m struggling to nail down my niche, and have been struggling for a very long time with the fear that “I don’t know anything about that area, I’m not an expert on it, so I can’t make that my niche!”. I’ve read posts from some very successful coaches that say that you have to come to a coaching session with some planned materials for the session in order to be super successful – and that both confused me and went against everything I learned in becoming a coach and everything I believe coaching is about! So your post re-inspires me that there is value in NOT having all the answers! Thank you!

    • Hey Cara – I’m wondering if what those successful coaches meant is it’s helpful to have a system. Clients like to know that you have somewhat of a structure for them. But you can still focus on the agenda they bring. The Sacred Six I mentioned is a perfectly good structure for you to use with clients. Each step of the Sacred Six could take several sessions and they don’t go in order. It’s as needed.

      Also, I’m empathetic about “struggling” around the niche decision. And it’s the most important decision you’ll make for your business. That’s my favorite thing to help people with.

      SAVE THIS DATE: September 12 1pm ET and come to a no cost training I’m giving about profitable niches for coaches and other service entrepreneurs.

      Registration will be open next week and you’ll see it if you watch for my blog next week. Hope to hear you there!

    • Hindy Pearson

      Hi Cara, I was just reading your post and had to comment. I spent too much time reading too many websites, by too many coaches. I was inundated with conflicting information, and it drove me mad. It quite literally, paralyzed me to the point where I couldn’t take action. If you don’t mind some unsolicited advice – stop paying so much attention to others. You became a coach for a reason, and just focus on that. When you find yourself veering off course, don’t go back to those posts, remind yourself what you’re trying to achieve and just go after it. Be true to what feels right for you.


      • Right on Hindy. Comparing ourselves to others is one of those mindtraps that keep us playing a smaller game than we’re meant to.

  • Leah

    Your post hit right at home… I know I need to develop a niche- but it’s hard to commit to one thing, because “how can I be an expert at that”? Especially when I’m still starting out. Does it not make sense to withhold deciding on a niche in the beginning so one can gain a well rounded experience in coaching? There seems to be a contradiction in this whole process.

    • I hear what you’re saying. If you know how to enroll clients at fees that will pay you well it’s okay to wait to choose a niche. But if that’s something that isn’t easy for you right now, waiting to choose your niche will just postpone earning well and having a positive impact on your clients.

      All business owners need a niche as a foundation not as an addition. Think of the foundation of a house, it’s not something you want to add after the house is built. It’s the same with your coaching business.

      Leah, save this date – September 12 at 1pm ET. I’m giving a no cost live training called 5 Essential Elements of a Highly Profitable Niche. The registration will be open next week and space is limited to 100. So look for the blog next week where I’ll share where you can register for that no cost training. I think it will really help you!

  • Hindy Pearson

    Hi Rhonda, I was just thinking the very same thing yesterday. I finally picked a “tribe” 2 weeks ago, and started writing a blog about issues that concern them. The thought did cross my mind – who am I to write these… when I haven’t accomplished anything for myself yet? My trick — I put the thought out of my mind, and carry on. It’s as simple as that.

    Of course it took me a very long time of standing in one place for it to be that simple, so hopefully those of you reading this article won’t take as long to figure it out. 

  • Gloria A. Marroquin

    Rhonda I really related to this post.  This is the biggest obstacle I face as I begin my coaching business.  I appreciate the “sacred six”.  I especially liked your statement about there is no right way.  The focus is on the client and what I can do to help my clients  get to their desired outcomes.


    • It’s so important to trust your coaching skills. You’ll get so much better by coaching, especially when you’re charging fees that can sustain you because clients show up more invested when they’ve paid you well.

      Thanks for adding your voice to this community at Prosperous Coach!

      • Rachel

        The post and your comments are so helpful, Rhonda. I feel much the same way as Gloria as I begin down this new pathway, fusing coaching with my current profession. It’s scary to start something new, especially in a time of such economic upheaval, but I feel heartened and excited when I read your blog.

        • I’m so delighted you joined the conversation on my blog, Rachel! What an exciting time this is for you! I don’t know if this fits for you but I’m giving a free Live Training this Wednesday — 5 Essential Elements of a Highly Profitable Niche. It’s an eye-opener and I believe it would support you. Sign up here: http://yourhighlyprofitableniche.com/elements

          Many Blessings!

  • Mary Margaret

    So much value here Rhonda. Coming from a not-knowing mindset is my personal challenge/rubberband even though I have practiced this throughout my careers as a service provider and see the magic when I can authentically listen with an open and trusting heart and mind. So even though the point of coaching is not about knowing, I find it important and challenging enough to place “Enter every session with a not-knowing (what’s needed) and trusting, (both client and self) mindset”  on the “Sacred” list as number 1.

    • Sacred is the perfect word for this isn’t, Mary Margaret? Your awareness is all that’s needed. Thanks for joining the conversation!

  • Mary Margaret

    Dancing in the moment

    ¸.•´.•´¨) ¸.•¨)

    (¸.•´(¸.•´ (¸.•¨¯`* ♥*•♪♫•*¨*♥

  • Fantastic, Anne!