The ultimate question for the modern coach

This article was first printed in the April 2020 issue of COACH Magazine, which you can subscribe to by following this link:

You will also be able to catch a live discussion between myself and Teresa Brooks, the brains and the superwoman behind this publication this coming Thursday after 3:00pm SAST and 2:00pm UK time.

I’ve spent almost 2 decades in coaching and marketing and when I began my career, there were so few coaches in the industry that the differential of business, life, or executive coaches was sufficient.

That has changed completely, with coaching having been identified as being one of the fastest growing industries in the world.  The demand for niche is high and also very necessary.

LinkedIn has more than 2,750,000 people describing themselves as business coaches so coaches must differentiate in some way in order to stand out, now and in the future,  in order to serve clients who may not know where to begin in their search for a coach amongst all these numbers.

If the coaching description isn’t clear and explicit, how is a potential client expected to recognise themselves and their needs and understand what options they have to work through them?

It’s important to clearly define the true value and specific results you achieve with your clients: this sweet spot is your niche.

Clarity of message

Clarity in your niche is all about being succinct in your messaging and communications. Stating what you do simply, quickly and clearly, making it easy for a potential client to understand and be able to identify if it’s the type of coaching they need and want.

Pre-niche, many worry that defining their coaching niche will limit their business but, actually, it will only serve to enhance it and increase the chances of attracting and working with new clients.

How to define your niche

Treat it as a journey and not a destination and your niche will naturally evolve as you coach and achieve results in specific areas.

My original niche was as a Business Coach, then I niched to Marketing Coach and as clients achieved great results, I niched even more tightly into a Niche Marketing Coach!

The cornerstone of effective marketing is being able to be clear and specific about the services and products on offer and this means clear definition and regular refinement of niche based on professional practice and results which then guide and define the niche.


The core of your niche is whatever makes you leap out of bed in the morning to do the work you are passionate about and this is the foundation of the Japanese concept of Ikigai.

Ikigai was first identified in studies of longevity that identified “blue zones” or communities of people whose populations regularly lived to 100 years or more.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being” and it’s the sweet spot at the centre of your mission, passion, profession and vocation.

It embodies and draws on what you love, what the world needs, what you can be paid for and what you are good at. 

Begin by asking yourself these questions:

  • What do I love?
  • What am I good at?
  • What does the world need (that I can offer)?
  • What can I be paid for?

This is how to begin the niching journey and once you start eliciting these answers, you will be able to start defining your sweet spot, start marketing effectively and attracting the clients you love to work with and who need you.

In conclusion, clearly defining your niche is the single most effective thing you can do to future-proof, crash-proof, bullet-proof and recession-proof your coaching practice.

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