Niching! - Your Coaching Business Superpower!
Have you ever experienced that moment under the stream and steam of a hot shower, when suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, an idea, a download, or a revelation sparks in your mind?
On Monday morning, 23rd March 2020, it happened to me.
A mere two months earlier, I'd woken in the middle of the night with a compelling calling on my heart to pivot my existing business coaching practice to serve brand new life coaches who are starting out in business. I decided to heed that calling despite not understanding the reason for it or the why behind it. Until that morning in a gloriously hot, steaming shower.
That morning the "reason" and the "why" came to me, loud and clear:
"Life coaches are the next wave of essential services in the world. They need to be set up for business success so that they can start serving".
I shut the water off and just stood there as the words sank into my mind and settled into my heart. I finally understood. I also inherently understood that they would have to choose a path and slay in their lane to meet the inevitable demand.
Why Is It So Crucial To Niche Right Now?
Covid-19 has thrown the human race into a global personal and economic crisis. This pandemic has amplified everything that was already wrong in the world.
What I mean by that is:
If your job was insecure before Covid – you're likely to lose it due to this pandemic. According to CNBC, the coronavirus is expected to cost 400 million jobs
If your business was struggling before Covid – chances are better than average; you'll have to shut your doors due to Covid. As early as May 2020, The Washington Post reported that over 100 000 small businesses had closed forever in the US as the pandemic toll escalated.
If your marriage was on the rocks before Covid – the added strains of quarantine, home-schooling, financial stress, etc., will most likely be the final straw, with the New York Post reporting how US divorce rates have skyrocketed.
As cities around the world went on lockdown, victims of domestic violence and abuse that welcomed having a job or school to go to as a couple of hours escape every day suddenly found themselves trapped and forced to endure brutal months quarantined with their abusers. This article from Time.com speaks of how victims of domestic look for a way out,
For those who suffer from depression, coronavirus is a double crisis, and they are at greater risk than ever in a world that's becoming more insular and isolated than it's ever been – there's been an escalation in mental health problems as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis as reported by civilbeat.org
Those who struggle with anxiety are freaking the. F. out, and some are experiencing anxiety attacks for the first time in their lives, triggered by this pandemic. MDedge.com reports that during a viral pandemic, anxiety is endemic.
The world is collectively simmering in fear, pain, and uncertainty. Most don't entirely understand what 'the new normal' is or what it means for them, but they know that the world has changed and inherently know their survival depends on their ability to change along with it.
It's in this way that the delivery and positioning of coaching have changed too. People are no longer seeking out or willing to pay for mere "insights and ah-ha's"
They're looking for guidance, answers, and, more accurately, they're looking for concrete results. Results that will equip them to cope and thrive in this new world. They're looking for very specific (insert niche here) results to their very specific (insert problems/struggles here).
Combined with the fact that the coaching industry is considered the second-fastest-growing sector globally, competition is fierce.
So coaches not willing to offer more concrete results than "excavating your true potential" or "releasing your inner superhero with authenticity" may find it increasingly difficult, if not downright impossible, to maintain or grow their business at a sustainable rate.
☝🏻 I'm not suggesting you don't still coach your clients towards reaching the" 'insights and ah-ha's" or even towards "releasing their inner superhero." I'm merely stating that you need to pick a super-specific problem your clients are looking to have solved and that you specifically are perfectly positioned to help them solve. I'm saying it's time to niche down and adopt a blended coaching - consulting - teaching method to position yourself and your brand as necessary. As a necessity
In early 2020 it was anticipated that the influx of new coaches online would more than double. As a certified professional coach, I see how loosely the term "coach" is bandied about. Heck, even digital course creators are calling themselves coaches, irrespective of whether they've ever conducted a single coaching session before or not. So I believe the number of 'coaches' online is increasing even more rapidly.
While the coaches amongst us who stand resolute in our commitment to serving our clients at the highest level and with absolute integrity know and understand all this, in truth, the general public and your potential clients do not.
How Niches Saved My Life – and possibly my son's life too! 😏
The point I'm making is that competition has more than doubled, and current global conditions mean we're all fiercely competing in the same online space. If you want to stand out and improve your chances of reaching the people that need you most, you're going to need to apply a little marketing savvy.
Let me explain what I mean by way of example.
I get to practice coaching from my own zone of genius as it were. For me, that's coaching start-up entrepreneurs. It's a phase of business I have intimate knowledge of. It's the phase of business I'm most passionate about, so committing to continued research and ongoing learning in this area is something I have happily, easily, and consistently done for over two decades.
As a coach, I can coach my clients towards creating a business that is a true and intentional reflection of their strengths, resources, needs, and vision. As an expert in my field, I can help them navigate the inevitable pitfalls in this early business stage. Something I would argue a stay-at-home-mom=of=3 who's never owned a business in her life before would not be able to recognize or do..
On the flip side, when Covid struck, my life took an about turn with having to home-school my 13-year-old-could-not-care-less-about-school-ADHD-son...
... all while trying to run two companies under super stressful conditions! Some day's there's not enough wine in the world. #JustSaying
It was the stay-at-home-mom-of-3-turned-parenting coach that I reached out to, to coach me through that when I was seriously starting to think the most significant risk facing my son's longevity was not Covid but rather a mom about to lose her proverbial sh*t. 🤯
Shortly before that, as the reality of Covid started to sink in, I started experiencing anxiety for what I truly believe was the first time in my entire life. To solve this particular problem, I sought a highly certified anxiety coach, who has suffered from anxiety since childhood and has turned that into her life's work- coaching people out of anxiety. A single session with her quite literally saved this Type-A–always-in-control coach (yup, that's me) from derailing!
Disclaimer - For people who suffer from chronic anxiety, I'm not suggesting a single session with a coach would suffice for developing the necessary strategies and coping mechanisms - it was simply sufficient in my case as I'm not someone who suffers from anxiety per se - I was just spinning out in the face of this pandemic. #ControlFreakWithNoControl.
Similarly, when I came to terms with the fact that I needed to embrace Social Media as a tool I needed to embrace in my business- after successfully avoiding it for almost two decades - I reached out to the amazing, experienced, and passionate social media coach.
And therein lies the three most relevant benefits of niching down ya'll!
Niching Benefit #1 – Your Clients Benefit From Your Expertise
A coaching client, without exception, benefits from hiring a coach who not only knows the 'hows' of coaching but brings expertise to the table.
For instance, imagine you hired an 'HR manager turned life coach' to help you stop procrastinating writing your first book. One of the exercises a life coach might take you through would be to excavate a plan (from within yourself) that you could reasonably take action on and commit to within a specific time frame. Let's say, for example, the plan you came up on your own with was to
• 1st step - write the last paragraph of each chapter
• 2nd step – write the title for each chapter inspired by the last paragraph of each chapter.
• 3rd step – commence work on creating the main character of your novel
Let's also assume that your new life coach has no previous experience with, knowledge of, or desire to write a book herself.
Following her pure-coaching method, she might respond with, "Okay, great, when do you think you could commit to taking that action?" followed with something like, "and what could you do to keep yourself accountable and on track with this plan?".
Now I've never written a book before, but I'm pretty darn sure that particular plan of action for writing a book is terrible! The problem is that the coach in question wouldn't know it was a terrible plan and so wouldn't be able to challenge the coachee's thinking or guard them against the pitfalls of such a plan.
I suspect the only thing more difficult than writing your first book would be to spend two years doing it wrong! I also imagine that after I'd realized I'd wasted two years on that rubbish plan, I'd tell anyone willing to listen what a crap coach I'd hired.
Niching Benefit #2 – Coaching Within Your Zone of Genius and Passion
Coaching requires you to be super present, and although you're not responsible for your client's progress, I do believe you should, on some level (different for every coach), be vested in their success.
I'm one of those high touch point coaches. I am super invested in my client's progress and success. So, to coach in an area/industry/niche that is meaningful to me energizes and excites me. For example, I don't believe I have what it takes to offer divorce, anxiety, or grief coaching as I'm more about the hustle and taking action than I am about slowing down and allowing.
Similarly, many coaches would admit that coaching around financial health would make their spirit groan as their value systems lie in nurturing, healing, and empathy. Different situations call for different types of coaches.
I'm not sure if the same is true for you but if I don't truly enjoy doing something, the likelihood of committing to it, showing up for it, pouring my time, love, and energy into it is not great.
After certifying as a professional coach, I committed to 200 hours of pro-bono coaching to kickstart my journey before niching. But I have to be honest. There were days when I caught myself mid-coaching session, losing the will to live and thinking to myself, if THIS is what coaching is all about, then I'm not up for it.
Here's the thing, though - You don't have to be every kind of coach to every type of person. You do get to choose the area of coaching you would like most. In a niche that is a natural extension of who you are and what you value. I wholeheartedly believe that when you do, your coaching business will begin to thrive right along with you because your confidence levels will soar, and your clients will start showing the results to prove it. And let's not forget that it becomes easier for your clients to refer you because they can tell others exactly what you're so freaking great at helping your clients achieve.
Niching Benefit #3 – It's Easier To Get Found and Hired By Your Ideal Client!
Remember that massive influx of coaches into the market I mentioned earlier? Now is not the time to be vague in your messaging. To compete in a crowded market and be noticed by clients looking for solutions, you need to make it as easy as humanely possible for the people who need you the most to find you. You do that by clearly articulating who you help and the big problem you help them solve.
By way of some of my own, true-life examples:
• When home-schooling hell hit in April 2020, and our home turned into a war zone, I hopped onto our local community WhatsApp group and said, "HELP! Who knows a great home-schooling coach to help us through this nightmare?!?!"
• When pandemic-induced anxiety struck – I was still in a state of denial when I stumbled across a coach in a Facebook group talking about anxiety! I reached out to her immediately.
• When I was trying to wrap my head around all things social media, I searched "Social Media coach for coaches," and voila – I found the coach I was looking for!
• In 2018, when faced with the unbearable grief over losing my heart-dog – yes. I am THAT person. I googled "pet loss grief coach" – Heads-up! – there are not many out there, so if it's something you think you wanna do, jump right in – it's an untapped market IMO.
See how this works? Had the coaches I hired just identified themselves as "I can help you do anything" life coaches, I absolutely would NOT have reached out to either of them. Simple as that.
Most people don't truly know or understand what a life coach is. But when they come across messaging that's super-specific and über relevant to them and outline's tangible benefits or solutions, they can understand - you're in business, baby!
It's not difficult to see how someone could identify and respond to messaging like
"Are you drowning in anxiety?" or
"Do you need help attracting coaching clients via social media?" or
"Are you overwhelmed trying to figure out how to make your new coaching business work for you?"
And more importantly, clients are a great deal more willing to pay for solutions to problems they can articulate, understand, and seek to solve as a matter of priority.
The long and the short of it is this. Niching is your coaching business superpower.
It allows you to pick an area of coaching that you're confident in and will ultimately enjoy, delivering on
It will make it easier for clients to find you and, more importantly,
It helps you articulate the concrete results you can deliver and that clients are willing to pay good money for.
Is there a powerful and profitable niche in you?
Do you think of brilliant ways you can help change people's lives before you fall asleep?
Do you like the idea of getting paid for something you're great at and passionate about to boot?
Yup, I do too.
If you're wondering how to pick your unique, client-attracting, and profitable niche, you'll want to watch the FREE Masterclass where I teach you how.
Your business will ❤️ you for it!