Updated: May 30
One of the first decisions you may take when starting your coaching business is deciding whether or not to niche. And then if you decide to niche working out what that niche might be.
Deciding whether to niche or not can feel like an impossible dilemma. On one hand you know that coaching could benefit a wide range of people so limiting your target audience seems counterintuitive. However, marketing to a broad audience presents its own set of difficulties as your message can become diluted and unclear, leaving potential clients unsure of what you truly offer. If you find yourself grappling with this decision, take a look at my previous article on 'To Niche or not to Niche,' where I share my thoughts.
So you’re sold on the benefits of niching, But how do you go about deciding on your coaching niche, and how do you know if it's commercially viable? In this blog post, I'll explore those questions and offer some tips for exploring your potential niche.
To define your niche, you need to understand who your target market is, the problem you’re solving, what results and benefits your clients will gain and how you’ll help them. If you can answer these questions, then you'll be a step closer to really understanding the clients you want to serve, which means you can create deeper connections with them. Knowing and understanding your ideal client allows your marketing to be more effective, which may result in more clients.
Before we start it's important to remember that we all find our niche in different ways. Some people may have gone into coaching with a specific focus in mind, while others may discover their niche over time as they work with different clients. So, if you’re yet to discover yours don't give yourself a hard time, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. And be wary of online quizzes that promise to deliver your perfect niche in under three minutes!
So, let's dive in and explore some key areas for consideration when thinking about your coaching niche. And you don't have to follow these steps in order - start with what feels most important or resonates with you.
Step 1: Identify Your Passions and Expertise
Identifying your passions, interest and expertise is a great starting point when exploring a coaching niche. Consider what you're most passionate about and what you have the most experience in. This could be anything from health and wellness to career coaching to relationships.
Think about what’s important to you.
What are you good at?
Where do you have credibility? And experience?
What gives you energy?
What would make you skip to your desk on a Monday morning?
Finding a niche in an area that you're genuinely interested in and knowledgeable about is the sweet spot for identifying your niche. If you don’t align your niche to this broader context, you’re unlikely to create a business that aligns with who you are. If you're not passionate about the topic, it will be challenging to sustain your enthusiasm for the long haul.
Step 2: Who do you want to work with?
Have a think about your network, client base and your coaching history. Do you notice any patterns? Are they from a particular industry or background? Are there particular individuals with whom you feel you make a more significant impact?
Identifying and researching your target market is crucial. Your target audience consists of individuals who would be genuinely interested in your services. This group may be defined by demographics, life stage, shared experiences, or special interest groups. Let's explore a few examples to illustrate this:
Demographic grouping and life stages:
- New parents
- Midlife or Retirees
- C-suite execs
- Finance industry professionals
- First time Leaders
A defining experience
- Cancer survivors
Shared interest groups
- Lovers of self-development and improvement
- Healthy eating
- Marathon runners
When considering your market, ask yourself these questions:
What audiences do you feel connected to?
Who stands out when you think about who you want to help?
Which clients do you get most excited about talking to?
Who have you helped the most?
Who is naturally drawn to you and why?
Do you feel you have more impact when working with certain groups versus others?
Do you recognize your ideal client in yourself? (Our ideal client is often a previous version of ourselves which we resonate with so we’re drawn towards them).
What patterns are you noticing?
Once you have an idea of who your target audience is, invest time in really understanding them. There are several ways to research your target market. You can conduct surveys or focus groups, read industry reports and studies, or talk to people in your target market directly. Consider attending events or conferences where your target market is likely to be, and network with people to gather insights and feedback.
Step 3: Identify the problem you solve
When it comes to coaching, it's important to recognize that people aren't simply buying coaching itself; they are seeking a solution to their specific problem. Therefore, it is crucial for you as a coach to be able to clearly articulate the problem you solve.
Here are some examples of problems coaching solves:
• Navigating career change: Assisting individuals who are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or uncertain about their career path and helping them explore new opportunities, identify their strengths, and make informed decisions.
• Supporting people at risk of burnout: Working with clients who are experiencing high levels of stress, exhaustion, and overwhelm, and helping them develop effective coping strategies, establish healthy boundaries, and restore work-life balance.
• Improving leadership skills: Guiding aspiring or current leaders in enhancing their communication, decision-making, and team management abilities, enabling them to become more effective and inspiring leaders.
• Boosting confidence at work: Assisting individuals who struggle with self-doubt, imposter syndrome, or lack of assertiveness, and empowering them to overcome these barriers, develop self-assurance, and thrive in their professional.
• Women juggling career and motherhood: Providing support to women who are navigating the complexities of balancing their professional aspirations with their responsibilities as mothers, helping them find harmony and fulfilment in both roles.
By understanding and addressing these specific problems, you can tailor your messaging and services to resonate more deeply with potential customers. There is flexibility in how detailed to get in describing the problem you solve; find the balance that feels right for you and your current stage of business development.
Describing your niche to others:
It may take time to find your words, let them evolve as you refine them. If you need a starting point here's a simple formula you can use to effectively describe your niche :
"I'm a (insert coaching specialty). I help (insert who you help) to (insert niche problem that you solve)."
Let's consider a few examples:
"I'm a business coach. I help new coaches who are struggling to fill their client rosters to establish a predictable and consistent income."
"I'm a productivity coach. I help entrepreneurs overcome overwhelm and master time management for greater efficiency and success."
"I'm a public speaking coach. I help individuals overcome stage fright and deliver impactful presentations with confidence and charisma."
"I'm a parenting coach. I help exhausted, anxious new parents develop effective parenting strategies, and create a harmonious family environment."
If you're still unsure about your target market, you can simply say "people" for now. Remember, it's better to start somewhere and refine your niche as you gain more clarity and experience.
If like me writing copy isn't your zone of expertise don’t worry it’s something you can learn, here are my top tips to help you create engaging and effective messaging:
1. Be clear and concise: Keep your message straightforward and avoid jargon or complex terminology. Clearly state the problem you solve and who you help.
2. Focus on the benefits: Highlight the positive outcomes or transformations your clients can expect by working with you. Emphasize how their lives or businesses will improve as a result of your coaching.
3. Use language that resonates: listen to the language your clients uses to describe their challenges and experiment with using it in your messaging.
4. Share your unique selling proposition: Differentiate yourself by highlighting what sets you apart from other coaches in your niche. It could be your approach, expertise, or a specific aspect of your coaching process.
5. Test and Learn: Experiment with different versions of your messaging and see which ones generate the most interest and engagement. Pay attention to feedback from potential clients and adjust as needed.
Remember, effective messaging is an ongoing process. As you gain more clarity about your niche and target market, you can refine and enhance your messaging to resonate even more powerfully with potential clients.
Step 4: Test Your Niche's Viability
Is there a market for your idea? Before you fully commit your time and resources to your coaching niche, it's crucial to test its viability from a business perspective. Validating your niche involves ensuring there is a demand for your coaching services and that potential clients are willing to invest in them.
There are various ways to validate your niche effectively, here’s a few suggestions for you to consider:
1. Conduct market research: Dive deep into your target market and gather insights on their spending habits, pain points, and specific needs. Ask them if your services are something they’d consider paying for.
2. Assess profitability: Consider the financial viability of your niche. Will there be enough potential clients who are willing and able to pay for your coaching services at a price that sustains your business? Evaluate the market size, pricing trends, and potential growth opportunities within your niche.
3. Research the competition: Research other coaches or service providers operating in your niche. While a competitive market isn't necessarily a bad thing, you need to identify what sets you apart. Determine your unique selling proposition and find ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.
4. Offer a pilot program or beta test: Test the water by offering a small-scale version of your coaching services to a select group of individuals who fit your ideal client profile. Gather feedback from them and assess their satisfaction, results, and willingness to pay for your services.
5. Leverage online tools: Utilize resources such as Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner to explore search volume, popular keywords, and trends related to your niche. This data can provide valuable insights into the level of interest and demand for your coaching services.
Remember, validating your niche is an ongoing process. Stay open to feedback, evolve your offerings based on client needs, and continually assess the market to ensure your niche remains viable and profitable. By understanding your target market, differentiating yourself, and adapting to evolving trends, you can position yourself for success as a coach within your chosen niche.
Choosing a niche for your coaching business is a strategic decision that can significantly impact your success. If you're unsure about your direction try starting with a more general approach which will allow you to gain experience and insight into various client needs and preferences. As you work with clients and refine your offerings, you can gradually niche down and specialize based on the feedback and data you gather. And remember, niching through specific offers rather than niching your business can be a viable strategy that evolves over time but that’s probably a whole other blog post.
With dedication, flexibility, and a deep understanding of your niche, you'll be well on your way to making a meaningful impact and achieving sustainable business growth as a coach.
I support new coaches and consultants as they set up and grow their practice. I provide affordable coaching and mentoring on a 1-1 basis and small groups. My next available small group cohort will be starting Autumn 2023. Please get in touch to register your interest and find out more details HERE