Niche - How does limiting yourself help you grow?
Let me start with an apology to my fellow coaches. This is not a personal attack but merely my own perspective on the idea of niche coaching.
Friends often ask me what my niche is when discussing my coaching and my answer is invariably the same – I don’t need a niche because my clients are the experts. The idea of having a niche just seems so limiting to me. Clients often come to me wanting help in a certain area of their lives, such as work or a relationship, but often end up having a much deeper understanding that their challenges did not lay in that sphere at all, but in a very unexpected place.
Experience has taught me that niches are unnecessary and can prove to be obstacles to overcome for clients. I would even say to clients looking for a coach in a certain niche, to ask themselves whether they believe a niche coach really can help them more than any other coach? Given that coaching is non-advisory in its essence and that a true cornerstone of person centred coaching is that the coach enters the client’s map of the world, not their own. What difference does it make? It’s the true coaching skill and the authenticity of the relationship that will assist you, not the coaches personal experience in a certain sphere. Great business coaches are not great through their knowledge of business, but through their skill as a coach and all that coaching entails. How does limiting yourself help you grow?
If you have read any of my previous writing you will know that I believe in the innate creativity of the human species and our glorious ability to find solutions to every challenge we face. It is this belief that prevents me from narrowing my personal offering down to a niche. No matter how hard I have tried, I simple can’t do it. I know that it makes sense on a marketing level to proclaim myself an ‘expert’ in a certain sphere such as career coach, leadership coach, business coach or parent coach. However, I cannot hide from my dislike of self-proclaimed expertise or my personal understanding of human reality.
You already have all the expertise you need. You just need a coach. A coach who can act as a conduit between you and your potential, and aids you in finding your own creative, beautiful solutions, regardless of your status, age, gender, vales, beliefs or purpose. I believe this is the essence of coaching and is where the real, creative magic resides.
The fact is that you are the only expert on you and your life. All your experiences are entwined. You may want to compartmentalise different experiences and events from your life and separate them in to neat little parcels to be addressed in isolation from one another but the fact remains that all your experiences are linked. Your home life effects your work life, your childhood effects your self-image and your relationships, your career choice effects your well-being. This list of connections is infinite. Ultimately, I believe that by thinking in a holistic and universal sense, the most beautiful and powerful solutions can be discovered.
I fully understand why my fellow coaches have adopted niches. Maybe it’s a field that resonates with them personally or a field that they believe they have useful experience in, and so can better empathise with the client. Maybe they just feel that their niche is where the money is - all valid reasons from a certain perspective.
For fellow coaches, I suggest that for coaching to be on the path of its full potential, we might begin to accept that we are dealing with full human potential, not just human potential within a certain field. For those looking for a coach, I suggest that to reach towards your potential, you look beyond your perceptions and explore the whole, wonderful spectrum of human experience. After all, that is where the real magic resides.