Don't Have a Niche yet? Relax, Wait and See... With 7 Areas to Explore & Questions to Help! (UPDATED)

I'll start by confessing that when I was a life coach, in the marketing world, I would have been given a big fat "F". Don't get me wrong, I knew who my clients were - and could describe them (eventually). But, I was years into my coaching practice before I truly understood who my ideal clients were.

Marketers say that having a good niche makes it much easier to find clients - and for them to find you. Imagine a left-handed client who snowboards and likes to eat marshmallows finding a coach whose niche is left-handed people who snowboard and like to eat marshmallows - it's pretty much a 'done deal'!

My "Sort of" Niche:

For me, it was only when I looked back that I realized what drew many of my clients to me: 1) My career success in a male dominated industry and 2) Quitting the traditional '9-5', starting a whole new career and moving from England to Canada, then from Vancouver to Salt Spring Island and a totally new kind of life.

The type of clients I tended to attract (and enjoyed working with) were mostly women in the industry I had worked in - technology and banking/finance. Plus because my brother is in the legal profession (and I enjoyed the legal aspects of my Bachelor's degree), I also felt comfortable networking among women lawyers.

What it boiled down to was that my clients were keen to be coached by someone who was like them, and had done what they wanted to do - to boost their career in an authentic way and/or kick off their restraints and create a whole new life they loved...

But in the beginning, I networked in many different places, coached all sorts of people (anyone I could get!) and learned along the way - who I enjoyed coaching, who I resonated with and who was naturally drawn to me...

So, what if you don't have a niche yet?

Relax! None of us have a crystal ball - so if you don't know your niche yet, know that it will come in time.

It can't be forced, so stop worrying and get coaching instead!

For some of us, discovering who we best serve comes over time as we learn, observe and grow. Chris Barrow, self-titled "Million Dollar Coach", built his coaching practice by specializing in coaching dentists to build thriving businesses. But he coached a LOT of dentists before he realised that was his niche!

So don't be in too much of a hurry - because everything comes to he (or she) who waits.

And in the meantime, a great place for everyone to start (and I didn't even know this when I started!) is to "Coach what you know".

So here are 7 Areas with Questions to Help You "Coach What You Know"!

1) Industry knowledge

What industry/ies do you have experience in? Think broadly - include volunteering, your partner or close family's chosen industry - and you could even go back to your summer jobs as a teenager...

2) Hobbies and Activities

Is there something you do in your spare time - volunteering or activities where you have gained knowledge and experience? What films and books are you passionate about? What topics do you follow online on blogs or in groups? Could you coach artists, gardening businesses or find new clients at cookery school?

3) Client Demographic

Is there a particular age group, gender or some kind of demographic that you really bond with or feel comfortable with? Who are the clients that naturally express interest in you - or are referred to you?

Whilst using simple 'demographic' information isn't great for a niche, it's a good start and can help us see patterns before delving deeper and carving out a more unique niche.

4) Life Journey

What has your life journey taught you so far? What have been the major life experiences and set-backs you've had - and overcome? What have you achieved? What are you most proud of?

People love someone who has 'been there and done that'.

5) Life Goals, Stages and Issues

Is there a particular stage of life you feel drawn to? Are there particular 'life problems' (eg. the sandwich generation who take care of children and parents) that you want to help with? What about commonly seen goals - like 'moving to the country', retirement, shifting work into the non-profit world or finding a new life/partner after divorce?

6) Uniqueness

What's unique about you? Not necessarily a skill or talent (although it often is), but how are you different from others? What do people remark upon or ask you about? This could be languages you speak or maybe you're highly sensitive, left-handed or are highly positive and optimistic!

7) Use Existing Credibility

In what areas of your life (and with whom) do you already have a lot of credibility? This is often knowledge-based, but it could be because you are well-connected or 'in the know'.

What do friends and connections come to you for? Are you on any boards? Are you the 'go to' person for organizing kid's parties, giving environmental or stock market tips or helping people with their golf swing?

Wrap-up

If you've given this lots of thought and still can't seem to get to grips with a niche or a particular kind of client/coaching, don't let this slow you down!

Instead, look for themes within yourself - and your experience. And look for recurring themes and patterns with your clients - who they are AND what you coach them around. Then keep observing and asking questions, and time and experience will show you the way.

Now go get coaching!

You may find these other articles on how to find your niche useful:

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