“What’s your niche?”, is a question I’m asked often by folks who are curious to learn more about coaching, and by other Coaches who are interested in working with me.
My short and often unsatisfying response is, “My niche is humans.”
It’s not that I don’t understand the value of differentiating myself and my expertise. And let’s not forget that I cultivated my professional self and learnings for decades, in the world of luxury branding where marketing their niche is considered business 101. Most professional coaching schools will train you as a coach, and devote a good portion of their curriculum to teaching aspiring coaches how to build their business by deciding on a niche and marketing it aggressively.
If this system of business creation works, why is the average global Professional Life Coach salary only $47,000? Not exactly below the poverty line, but certainly in the lowest income category according to our government, and according to those of us with families we want to provide for. If I have not already killed any desire in you to pursue a career as a Professional Coach, then keep reading, because it gets better.
There are amazing, prosperous Coaches who have clear and defined niches of clients that they attract and work with. My intention is not to diminish their work or business building abilities. My desire is to add a different and additional way of creating value for all – extraordinary value for the coach and client, together. It’s with this desire in mind that I want to encourage folks to question the “niche” model and simply focus on transforming lives by mastering the core competencies of being an extraordinary coach.
It is my experience that folks who are ready – and that’s a big contingency the coach cannot force – will happily invest in creating a new way of moving through life. As Coaches, slowing down the discovery conversations and paying attention to the client’s level of readiness for, and commitment to, the work is crucial to creating the positive outcomes that masterful and transformational coaching can create. Strategies, techniques, hacks, and more is at best, the low hanging fruit of this work, and at worst, prolonging the core issues that created and are driving behaviour in the wrong direction. Every good Coach has their own special sauce of techniques and strategies gained from personal and professional past experience. But one’s best friend, trusted family member, and a hired consultant can offer that to us. You’re going to want more from a professional.
If you truly want to transform your life, then find a Coach who is willing to go deep and upstream at the same time. Someone who is so deeply in touch with her own humanity, who continues to be masterfully and consistently coached herself, and whose niche is “the love and respect of all humans”. She understands that “Coach” is not a title, but a skill and tool, and as such, is useless if not forever being sharpened and used in service of what it is meant for.
I propose we base our choice of which Life Coach to work with, less so on their marketing niche and more on their behavioral one. Masterful Coaches are everywhere, and they are quietly partnering with their clients to create transformative, sometimes miraculous, yet always invaluable positive changes. They listen deeply, are fearless, and continuously bring themselves back to service even if they really, really want to be hired and liked by the person facing them. They are forever being coached themselves and investing in their own self-growth and mastery. Their niche is dedication, devotion, and powerful service to anyone who is ready and willing to do the work.
It’s true that in almost any business, declaring your niche is the first step to attracting clients. Many are doing it masterfully in the field of Coaching, and creating amazing prosperous businesses. I learned about this different way of creating a successful business – through service, not selling – from my own Coach, Steve Chandler. When he said, “Niche rhymes with quiche, and both should remain in France,” I knew it was about to get good – and it did!
If you’re an aspiring Coach who would like to learn more about this model, or just a growth-minded person curious to learn more about Transformative Coaching, I encourage you to reach out to me.