How can executive coaches establish their unique niche?
With so many executive coaches in the market, establishing your own niche is crucial for your practice for two main reasons:
1. It allows you to build your own brand, thus becoming the go-to executive coach for specific issues and paving your corporate development career path.
2. It helps your clients understand exactly what they can expect from working with you, thus increasing chances of success.
In a bid to grow quickly, many coaches end up accepting a wide variety of clients - but with varying degrees of success. How successful you are with specific clients should be a first indication of the types of clients that you should focus on along your corporate development career path. Don’t be a “hit and miss” coach, or at least limit this to your early days of practice.
Instead, you should always have one central question in mind when looking to establish a niche: What are my roots, my beliefs? This will help solidify who you are as a coach and where you are headed.
When I started out as an executive coach, my colleagues in marketing asked me what my strategy was. I gave them a simple response: “to answer questions.” I wasn’t trying to be clever or minimalistic - these were, and still are, the roots of my desire to be an executive coach.
A little bit about my roots. As a kid, I didn’t have it easy - growing up at a time when different learning styles weren’t known about or recognized. As a result, I was labeled as lazy by both my teachers and my parents. I literally struggled all through school and later on in higher education. As a result, my passion has always been to help others avoid the kind of suffering I endured. And this passion was so strong that it naturally led me to my career as an executive coach, where I began helping managers avoid unnecessary suffering on their way up the career ladder.
By identifying with their hardships, I was able to teach them that they have the necessary innate potential to succeed - something that I was forced to teach myself after so many difficult years. So knowing where you’ve come from - what your roots are and how they’ve shaped your beliefs - is essential in establishing your own niche.
I highly recommend that you think deeply about this question yourself. I guarantee you’ll discover the connection between your roots, your beliefs, and who would most benefit from your help as an executive coach. Be sure to review this question periodically, especially in times of difficulty or uncertainty.
Once you are wholeheartedly connected to your roots, maintaining your niche will come naturally. You’ll stay focused on your niche, ignoring the “shiny and new” trends that can sidetrack you towards unproductive directions. Most importantly, you’ll believe in yourself as the best executive coach available for the niche you’ve dedicated yourself to.
And your dedication will pay off. Your clients will know what to expect from you, as who you are, what you offer, and how you offer it will be well-known. This will increase client satisfaction, as you will be delivering exactly what they expect. Client satisfaction will result in valuable referral business. Your clients will be your very own dedicated brand ambassadors, leading to even more growth.
But remember that establishing your own niche isn’t just about your clients. It’s about first looking deep.
And always remember:
Great managers are made. Not born.
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