Determining a niche is perhaps one of the most perplexing and nerve-wracking things for a new coach. Some people call it choosing a niche. Many marketing gurus say that you must make a decision about this, and that it is going to be the entire foundation of your practice, so you had better get it right! That’s a lot of pressure for a new coach! And it is unnecessary, IMHO.
When I began coaching, I did not know much about niches or ideal clients. I didn’t make a conscious decision about who I would be coaching. My niche actually found me, and I received these clients wholeheartedly with great joy, because the niche was so natural to me.
I will never forget my first ICF conference in Atlanta. I was sitting at the bar the night before the conference began, talking with one of my colleagues. I had been very successful in my first year as a coach. And this other new coach asked me, “If I get a group of new coaches together, would you coach us to do what you have done?” I remember how excited I felt about the possibility of helping other coaches get their businesses going.
When we got home and started coaching, the group made lots of progress. I realized that I loved coaching the coaches in their practice development. And most of the coaches had come from a spiritual training background, so they were putting all those practices to good use. Yet I still was unsure if this was my niche.
Let your heart trump the naysayers
I spoke to another coach about this, and he said he didn’t think that there was enough revenue available with new coaches, as they were spending lots of money on training and would not pay for coaching. Another coach told me that other coaches were the only ones who would buy coaching, and that to coach coaches was somehow a way to avoid a ‘real’ coaching practice. Someone else told me that since I had only been coaching less than a year, that I did not have the level of success that new coaches would be attracted to.
And in the meantime, my heart was so excited about coaching the new coaches. I loved them! I understood their challenges. I knew how they could overcome them, because I had done that. I admired coaches, as the lightworkers of the world, and I wanted to do anything I could to help them. I was worried that I would not be enough for them.
Then, one day I hired a branding coach. He said that he had never heard anyone as excited about coaching new coaches as I was. He encouraged me to put the title “The Coach for New Coaches” on my signature line of all of my emails. I did. I felt very excited; and also a bit scared. Who was I to declare this? Yet I did, and it got easier for me to embrace. That was in 2003, and the rest is history.
Start with a niche where you have credibility
I am sharing my story to illustrate a number of points. First of all, it is easiest to start with a niche that you know and that you have credibility with. Begin there. Next, once you have begun to coach, you will receive your niche. The clients you are seeking are also seeking you. Do some foundational work to find out where the sweet spot is. That’s the intersection of your passion, talents and desires and a group in the world the needs your help.
When you do receive your niche; one way to tell that it is truly yours, is that you really love and admire your clients. And you feel a bit humbled by being of service to this group. A lot excited. A little scared. You want it. And that’s how you know.
Receiving your niche may be something that happens naturally over time. Or you may want to speed up the process. You can do some reflection, and determine who it is that you are called to coach, and what their challenge is that you can help with. Either way is perfect.
When you receive your niche, your whole coaching practice becomes filled with ease. In fact, getting over the resistance to having a niche may be one of the very first transformations a new coach is invited to make. Just allow it. And know that the clients you are seeking are also seeking you!