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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
Life coaching as a body of work covers a vast array of subject areas. Depending on your expertise and passion, you could choose any one of these areas as the coaching niche that works for you.
I agree with the school of thought that puts forward the view that coaching is completely generic. The truth is that any well-trained skilled life coach should be able to coach in any situation from persona to business to executive etc, regardless of the their background or skills.
However, many coaches narrow their ideal client down to a specific area of coaching where they have additional expertise.
The coaching niche you choose can be within any of the main coaching fields (personal, business, career, corporate, group or team and goals coaching).
Within each field there are numerous niche variations such as relationships, health, productivity, time management, confidence, parenting and so on.
So a niche is simply a small segment or subset of the total market. It's the area you specialise in, as a life coach, and who you focus your marketing activities towards.
When you first start seeking clients, unless you already know your perfect life coaching niche, the chances are that you will most likely take on all-comers just to get experience and a feel for what it's really like to coach.
Then as you become more confident and identify the type of client you best like working with, you can explore your niche options and develop the coaching niche that could work best for you and those clients.
There is often a bit of confusion about the difference between a niche and a specialty in coaching .
For instance, if you specialise in career coaching, your niche might be helping people recover from the trauma of being made redundant and finding a new direction. If you specialise in small business coaching, then your niche might be coaching start-ups, or clients from a particular industry where you have a background that gives you an edge.
Here are four questions to quiz yourself with when you are choosing your speciality. There is no right or wrong answer. Each is designed to be a prompt that helps you define the best coaching niche for you and the one that will work best for both you and your clients..
Of course you can! And there are some very successful life coaches with no specific niche. But even they usually have a specialty in the way they coach, or the type of client they favour and have carefully crafted messages to explain the range of who they can coach. I only ever called myself a life coach but had pages on my website that explained how I would coach the many personal, career and small business issues.
The skill-set is the same - asking the right questions, helping the client with setting, planning and achieving goals and finding the underlying issues so that solutions can be discovered.
Personally I believe too much pressure is put on new coaches to define a niche rather than just learn the skill of coaching first.
I do believe though that the background, experience and understanding from which questions are asked by the coach and how the answers are listened to,
understood and answered, can be equally important.
For instance, a Life Coach with a therapy background may understand the personal issues, but be totally out of depth with the language, politics and needs of the corporate or business world or coaching executives. Conversely those who choose the niche of business coach because of their background, also need to have the training be able to handle the personal and issues that will invariably crop up.
This is where being able to offer a combination of coaching and mentoring, even consulting can often have the edge.
Do tell us about your niche and how you came to choose it.