If you consider coaching to be a relatively new offering in relation to other disciplines then it is not surprising that as a coach you will find, after time, that there are specific subjects that clients keep presenting either as a main issue or as part of a broader need. Coaching research is still in its infancy so we are learning all the time. It therefore makes sense to consider developing a specialism. A specialism does not mean you have to pigeon hole yourself but it does mean being able to build and add to your brand via that specialism while ensuring you keep your generic coaching offering going.
For example, Confidence Coaching is one of my key specialist areas and therefore I can understand why clients present issues associated with this need. Without confidence an individual is likely to limit their offering and as a consequence limit his/her success. Such individuals tend not to take risks and won’t speak their mind and this means they limit their chances of being seen as a thought leader or showing their true potential.
The first place to start when considering a niche coaching offering is why is this particular area important? What are your client’s challenges and how can specialist coaching help your client overcome these? Depending on the sector you work in you will need to understand the needs of that particular sector, the skills the individual requires and how a lack of confidence may hold the person back from meeting these needs. In addition, if you are selling in a particular niche offering you will need to understand and be able to explain how becoming more confident adds value to the organization as they will be the ones paying.
As niche coaches work across sectors you will need to gain an understanding of any additional sectors you plan to target your confidence coaching offering to. It is the same with any niche coaching offering as the first stage is the analysis of why developing certain skills adds value.
It is also likely, especially with confidence coaching, that a lack of confidence may manifest itself in other areas of the individual’s life apart from work. Therefore, exploring with the individual how a lack of confidence affects that person at all levels is likely to give you an overview that will not only assist with work related difficulties but with non work activities too.
If you think of a niche as working with the whole person you will find that the person gains an all round sense of confidence by considering all these aspects. If the person talks about a lack of confidence in personal situations such as gatherings, then working with this (even though you may consider it personal and providing the client is happy to talk to you about such matters) will also assist in helping the person develop better relationships at work and/or for example when networking. Therefore, taking the person as a whole entity means you gain wins on all fronts.
Once you are clear about your niche and can demonstrate the need and relevance for it, you can then consider how you wish to present this alongside your more generic coaching offering. You will need to think about any marketing and client information materials you have and consider how to present these in the most clear and enticing manner. It would make sense if when you produce your materials you send them out to colleagues and interested parties for their feedback as this will ensure that what you offer and the benefits of this are clearly stated.
There are, of course, coaches who decide that they would prefer to work only with one given area rather than offer a more generic coaching approach. Again, this has value providing you have a strong enough case, can build a brand around one area only and this, of course, comes down to how you market your niche. On the whole having a specialism gives you more options and revenue streams, and as your niche is likely to supplement your generic offering then you can get the best of both worlds.