This is one of the
100 lessons in the Full Practice ecourse for Coaches that you
receive when you join
Here are eight stories in the words of coaches who are well on their way
to owning a niche as a coach in a market segment.
Robert Gerrish: Not just small
business owners, but
more specifically, those flying solo....
When I started my coaching
practice in Sydney in 1998 I was 100%
clear on my niche: small business. If
you owned a business, had a heartbeat and
a credit card I was the coach for you. With
a background in marketing, I was good at promoting my business and after
enjoying some great media exposure I found
myself with a queue of clients all from what I thought was my niche.
something happened. I suddenly felt at odds with a number of my clients.
As their businesses grew and their staff numbers rose I found myself
feeling increasingly grateful that their business was not my business.
Long hours? Staff? More offices? Remuneration strategies? Yikes!
Whatever happened to that free and easy Lone Ranger approach?
Now, when clients err towards becoming tolerations, you know you've got
work to do. I shut my doors (and ears) for three days and sat on the
floor with every single client folder (by then over eighty). In one pile
I put the clients I really enjoyed working with and the other, well I
put the others. Then I looked for similarities between the ideal clients
and hey presto, Flying Solo was born.
My niche are those going it alone in business. Period. Since this
clarification I have focused all my actions towards this niche and it
just keeps getting stronger and stronger. I launched my ezine twelve
months ago (http://www.flyingsolo.com.au>)
and now have over 2,700 subscribers; I write solopreneur/Free Agent
articles for a couple of Australia's leading business magazines; present
tips on a business radio show; contribute to an in-flight radio program
and am an expert with Monster.com.
Cool and they all came to me.
My tip with niches: They're constantly evolving, just keep checking in
with your passion. My next niche? Solopreneur Dads. Is that a design on
your tie or do you have a toddler?
Sandra Schrift: Coaching professional speakers.
In 1996, I enrolled in Coach U., started working with
Coach Robert Alderman and began my full time coaching practice. I became
a career telecoach to the emerging and veteran professional speaker- a
natural niche for me because of my former career as an owner/founder of
a national, professional speakers bureau for 13 years.
Robert said to me, "You have a silver mine here, now it is up to you to
into a gold mine." And so, I sent a flyer by broadcast fax to all the
members of the National Speakers Association announcing my coaching
practice and availability for individual coaching. Within a year, I
turned to broadcast emails - the hook was to offer a complimentary 20
minute coaching call and eventually testimonials from satisfied clients.
In 1997, I followed the advice of Thomas Leonard, and published a free
bi-weekly ezine called Monday Morning Mindfulness. This was an
opportunity to build my database from opt- in subscriptions and keep my
"face" in front of a growing audience. My ezine offers several short
paragraphs on life occurrences, tips for better speaking, life humor
,recommended readings and useful websites. In February, I will begin to
include guest columnists whose information will be helpful to speakers.
I also include my promotional stuff; audio cassettes, special reports
In 1997, I launched my web site,
www.schrift.com and keep it filled with coaching tips for
speakers/authors, testimonials, products, my ezine. I believe that any
coach who wants to niche must have an interactive web site to create the
pull and the opportunity for you to be reviewed as the expert. I get
many visitors to my site daily who ask for the 20 minute complimentary
coaching call. I then have the opportunity to turn many of them into
Thomas Leonard also suggested that we create a virtual university. And
so I did. . . in 1998 I launched
. At first, I was a faculty of one conduction a series of TeleClasses
for the emerging professional speaker. In 1999, I added three people to
my faculty. So , now, we are four national experts who are also coaches
and speakers who provide content driven, no nonsense information on a
regular basis. This is a cost and time efficient way to cut the aspiring
speaker's learning curve by about 60%. TeleClasses are an excellent
opportunity to turn some clients into individual coaching clients.
Finally, the magic is in the mix - to niche and be perceived as the
expert in your field, stay visible. Join coaching organizations both
locally and nationally. Be a guest expert for other people's TeleClass.
Have a large web site presence and be content rich. Link to other sites.
Be a brand - I wear a coach's hat to all the meetings. It says
"speakers' career coach." And my web photo is me and my hat!
Jim Donovan: Coaching authors to succeed
I've developed a strong
presence as "The Book Coach." It began with my securing the Web address
hurt:-) I selected this niche since I have a lot of experience in it,
going from a one book author to selling over 100,000 copies of my own
books, successfully selling e-books, to building a small publishing
I selected this niche because I was seeing so many aspiring authors
getting their books into print or wasting a huge amount of money (like I
once did) because they did not have a coach (like I did) and did not
know the in's and out's of the publishing business which is a minefield
I offer clients coaching along with my experience on the practical side
of the book business. My vision is that they not only get their book
written and into the marketplace but that they succeed in selling it as
Working with a coach enabled me to go from spinning my wheels and
wasting a lot of money to selling a significant number of books. that
sold me on the profession of coaching back in 1996.
I build my book coaching practice through free tele-classes for authors
and publishers, my own newsletter, writing articles for magazines and
ezines, the book coach Web site and participating in several publishing
related egroups. Over time, I have developed a reputation as an
authority (I avoid the word expert:-) in book selling and am known in
the small press community as someone who will offer help when asked. I
think that's a big part of my success. Not always looking for the
Karen Andrews: Blazing Hormones
I fell into my niche by
accident. My niche actually began as my soapbox (based on my personal
experiences), then became my web site and now is my coaching niche. The
site is www.blazinghormones.com
It is a sad comment in
America today that women fear aging and with that the transitions into
mid-life and menopause. The denial is extremely high until one day the
woman hits "the wall" of menopause. Her quality of life shifts sometimes
in a big way and sometimes more subtly. Health concerns arise and
without proper knowledge, women are at the mercy of their healthcare
provider. I personally have lost
three friends to female organ cancers...which were induced by
pharmaceutical hormones (synthetic estrogens and progesterone's). There
are close to 18 million women taking synthetic hormones in America
today. I want women to know they have options and more natural choices.
I'm not wanting to "take on" the pharmaceutical companies in the U.S.
Women just need to have more information concerning potential health
Working with women who
find themselves in this mid-life transition is delightful. The more
information I gather and can share the more everyone grows. It is so sad
to see women basically crumble in many areas of their lives during these
Deb Martin: Nature is a niche.
I do wilderness and outdoor group
coaching. Most often with my buddy Drew Rozell, sometimes with other
coaches, sometimes alone.
I built this up by giving it away at first. Actually, playing hard in
the wilds is what I do most
when I'm not coaching and folks just started asking if they could join
me. My first wilderness group coaching trip was with a group of women
who had read an article about my solo canoe trips in a local outdoor
magazine. They approached me about
taking them on a trip. I noticed that they were more interested in what
they called my "bravery" (being alone, handling the silence, scary
animals, things that go bump in the night....) as they were about the
techniques of camping, hiking, etc. So I turned it into a wilderness
coaching trip. The theme was Simplifying. I've done a few trips since,
some with groups, some with a single client.
Drew and I are about to do the 4th Annual Cool Coaching Campout this
coming summer. The first two years we mostly coached each other, with
friends showing up to join us for part of the weekend. Last year, we
dropped the price and just asked for donations. That worked! We covered
our costs. Pictures at my website.
Most recent trip is in April to Ghost Ranch in NM with coach Anna Grace
Harding. The theme is Embracing the Unknown. Details at my website.
Trips always include 1 to 3 coaching sessions after folks get home.
Costs range between $400 and $500 for a "long" weekend. Drew and I have
been unsuccessful so far at selling trips longer than a weekend. But I
don't do the trips for the money. I do them because:
* I love being in the wilds and will accept any opportunity
* I love coaching
* I think Mother Nature is the ultimate coach
* I get great material for my newsletter
And here's the irony. Many of my coaching clients hire me because I do
these trips even though they have no intention of ever joining me. And
it's not unusual for me to ask a client to get off the phone and go
stand in a creek, lake, ocean (or something similar) when they're
Themes (or topics) come naturally (pardon the pun).
* The Power of Silence * Embracing the Unknown * Frontiers *
Time, Space and Choice * Solitude * Courage * Freedom * Balance
and Order * Immortality
There you have it.
Wilderness Adventure Coaching Trips
David Steele: Singles as a niche.
Five years ago I transitioned my practice as a Marriage and Family
Therapist to Relationship Coaching. My goal was move from trying to save
marriages on the brink of divorce to coaching functional couples who
want to have a successful relationship, but how? The public typically
seeks a service when they need it, not as a form of entertainment, so
how could I get functional couples as clients?
I had an "A-HA" experience when I realized that singles become couples!
decided to offer services and programs for singles as a way to reach my
future couples. In addition, I decided that being "David Steele,
Relationship Coach" was not enough to draw the numbers that I wanted, so
I formed "LifePartnerQuest Silicon Valley" and the rest is history.
LPQ-SV draws 40-60 singles per week to our "Friday Night Social," offers
"Relationship Success For Singles" classes, workshops, groups, and
coaching for singles. When our singles find a partner, they often return
for our "Partners In Life" program for
couples, as well as refer their friends. With the success of LPQ-SV I
decided to expand my mission to making a larger difference and founded
Relationship Coaching Institute to provide relationship coaching
training and practice development support to help other coaches do
worldwide what I have done in my local area.
Top Five Lessons I Learned:
1. PLAY LARGE; make it your goal to
stretch to own your niche and be as visible as you can to your community
of prospective clients and referral sources.
2. BUILD A BUSINESS; a "practice"
exchanges time for dollars, typically 1:1, while a business has multiple
revenue streams and provides a variety of related products and services
for potential clients
3. COLLABORATE; don't go it alone,
partner with like and complementary professionals and businesses
4. LISTEN TO YOUR CLIENTS; provide
them what they want and need, not just what you like to do or think they
5. DIFFERENTIATE; survey what else
is out there and use your creativity and knowledge of what your clients
want to be different and compelling
MA, LMFT, CLC * Relationship and Mentor Coach
Peggy Dean: Corporate HR Execs.
I began 1 to 1 coaching in 1982.
I chose business executives (in particular, head of organizations) as
the niche market. I researched the market for what are the needs,
influences, pressures, challenges, gifts, strengths, weaknesses of these
heads of organizations.
I approached a large regional bank organization (their HR VP) and
offered to coach their top executives
(those who had areas of potential not
fully developed). I offered to do an assessment of the executive they
chose, then we would sit together and draw up measurements of success
and time lines. My offer was that if I achieved the results, they would
pay me 20% of the executive's annual salary. If I failed to provide the
results, then they would owe me nothing. We signed an agreement, I did
the work, and 13 weeks later, I received the fee as agreed. This became
a springboard of referrals from the banking HR VP as well as those
executives with whom I worked. At that time, coaching was not a known
profession, and I called what I was doing Executive Coaching.
For several years I was busy doing coaching with heads of organizations.
They requested for me to facilitate team building and communications
training with their direct reports, so that became a second stream of
income. Most of my clients had occasion to make presentations or to
speak before the press or the board of directors, etc. I coached them to
prepare their presentations and to express their natural charisma in
speaking. So, in 1996, I developed a public speaking workshop, called
Hit The Mark. This was developed along with my associate who is an actor
and trainer. Thus another stream of revenue.
My background: My company is Peak Performance Corp. and we have offices
in Atlanta and Dallas. I have an MBA from Southern Methodist University
and a diverse work experience with numerous companies and individuals in
various countries and cities in the US.
Len Lubinsky: School Leaders
I am building a niche working with school leaders. As a former school
superintendent, I have some advantages in reaching this group. My
approach has been as follows:
Contact former principals -- Almost
all of them are people who enjoyed
working for me. A large number describe their time in my school district
as the best job they ever had. They are potential clients or a source of
Contact former colleagues -- I was a well respected, though
slightly off the beaten track, colleague who stayed in a single position
for a near-record period of time. The main draw-back to seeking clients
or referrals from this group is that the turnover of superintendents is
so great that, even a few years away from my time as a superintendent, I
am less familiar than I thought.
Contact people in areas where I had specialized connections
-- In my case, I was active in support of causes for early childhood
education. I return to the meetings of the statewide advisory council
that I chaired and let them know about my current work.
Write -- I have written an article about coaching for the
national superintendents organization magazine. I hope that when it is
published this spring it will bring some clients.
Consult -- In order to develop an income while building a
coaching practice, I have also been consulting; providing support for
district administrative teams, for instance.
Learn -- I have enrolled in the CoachVille Full Practice program, CTI's
training program, and have developed an active group of contacts who are
trained or have been trained in coaching.
I hope that this was helpful.