4: Creating Clarity in Your Coaching

This is the Coach with Clarity podcast and it's about time we have an episode all about helping you create clarity in your coaching, don't you think? Now, what do I mean by having clarity in your coaching?

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Show Notes

This is the Coach with Clarity podcast and it’s about time we have an episode all about helping you create clarity in your coaching, don’t you think?

Now, what do I mean by having clarity in your coaching?

Well, I’m talking about getting super clear on who you want to serve, what they really need from you, and how you want to serve them. Take a listen to this week’s episode to find out how you can do just that.

 

Topics covered

  • The three pillars of creating your niche
  • Do you even need to choose a niche?
  • Why choosing a niche is a marketing strategy rather than a service strategy
  • How both demographics and psychographics can help you determine your dream client
  • Clarifying your client’s before and after picture to know what it is they need
  • An example of how I help my clients find the solution to the thing they need to change

 

Resources mentioned

 

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TRANSCRIPT

 

Well, hello again, my friend. Welcome back to the Coach with Clarity podcast. I'm so excited to have you here, as always, and today's show, it's going to be a good one. Because it is all about helping you create clarity in your coaching, which, this is the Coach with Clarity podcast, after all, so we've got to have an episode about creating clarity in your coaching.

So what do I mean when I say, creating clarity in your coaching? I'm talking about getting super focused on who you want to serve, what they really need from you, and how you want to serve them.

So those three things – the who, the what, and the how  – are what we are going to dive into today. And basically those are the three pillars of creating your “nitch” or your “neeshe.” I think both pronunciations are totally acceptable. I may even use both pronunciations in today's episode, so bear with me.  So today's episode is about the who, the what and the how, and that really anchors your coaching niche. 

But before we even get into that, let's tackle a question I hear a lot, which is, “Do I even need to choose a niche?” And I find this question so interesting, because when I ask people, “Well, tell me why you wouldn't want to choose a niche?” the response I typically get is, “Well, I don't want to cut myself off from working with all sorts of people. I love coaching, and I just want to get out there and serve as many people as I can and make a really big impact.”

And you know what, I get that. I became a coach for the same reason. I want to get out there and serve as many people as possible. I mean, this is really my calling. So why would I limit myself by choosing a niche? 

Well, first, let me start off by saying you don't have to. You do not have to select a niche if you don't want to, and in fact, I know that there are many coaches out there who don't. They market themselves quite generally as a life coach, or as a business coach, or as a corporate coach, and that's about as specific as they get. And if that works for them, and if that works for you, then by all means go forth. 

That being said, I'm going to suggest, especially when you're first starting out, that you do get clear on your niche. You get clear on the who, the what and the how, because that will help you provide structure to your marketing plan. It will help you reach the people you most want to serve, because you are narrowing your focus and you're using very specific language in order to communicate who you are and what you do. 

Because here's the thing about selecting a niche, and I really want you to hear this. If you only take one thing away from our conversation today, I want it to be this: choosing a niche is a marketing strategy. It is not a service strategy. So when you select your niche, it is to help you get crystal clear in your marketing and in your messaging, so you know exactly who you are speaking to, and how you can serve them. 

But that doesn't mean it has to limit you in terms of who you actually serve. You may find that even though you are speaking to a very specific audience, the energy behind your offer appeals to someone who may not tick all the boxes on your ideal client list. And that is okay. As a coach, you can then decide whether that person is a good fit for your practice or not. And I'm willing to suspect that if there's something about your messaging that attracted them, even if they didn't necessarily meet all of the requirements of your ideal client, they may still be a great client for you and you can make that decision together. 

Choosing a niche and speaking to a specific audience does not have to limit your services. It provides focus and clarity to your marketing approach and to your brand messaging, but it does not have to limit how you show up and serve your people. So that's what I want you to remember as we go through this conversation, that selecting a niche is a marketing strategy, but it is not a service strategy. How you serve people is very much anchored in your coaching approach, and the coaching skills and tools you use with your client. 

So your niche has nothing to do with how you create a powerful relationship, how you ask really deep, empowering questions, and how you partner with your client to help them to create the change they want. That has nothing to do with your niche. So those are coaching skills that you can cultivate, and if you're looking for a way to do so, definitely check out the Coach with Clarity membership. We spend a lot of time and energy focusing on how you can become a more powerful coach. But that process is separate from selecting a niche. It is separate from marketing. 

Again, as we approach this conversation about creating clarity in your coaching, and figuring out what your niche is, remember, that is a marketing strategy, not a service strategy. So I hope that makes sense, and with that, let's really dive into the three pillars of creating your niche: the who, the what, and the how. 

So, question number one, who is your dream client? There are a few ways we can approach this question and I'll share with you the way that I see most often or at least where people tend to start, and that is from a demographic perspective. As people are describing their ideal client or their dream client, they tend to start with qualities that are readily apparent or obvious. I am talking age, sex, gender, location, socio-economic level, career choice. Again, these are qualities that we could probably expect to find from census data, sothey represent more external qualities about a client. 

This is a really good place to start. For example, let's say you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you want to coach working corporate moms. Okay, so there is a lot of demographic information in there that’s really helpful. We know that you want to work with women, you want to work with women who have children, you want to work with women who are employed in a corporate environment, and they define themselves as professionals, sothey probably have a certain level of education – I'm going to assume bachelor's degree or above. They probably hit a certain income level because of the nature of working in corporate. So already we have a lot of valuable information about who they are as a person. 

Starting with demographics makes a lot of sense, and it does help us define our audience. But the mistake I see a lot of people make is that they stop there. They think that once they have defined the demographics of the people they want to serve that they've identified their niche. And I'm going to encourage you to go even deeper when you're defining who it is you want to work with. I want you to move beyond demographics and into psychographics.

If the concept of psychographics is new for you, I want you to think about demographics being external, and psychographics being internal, so psychographics tell us a lot about the internal life of a person. Psychographics are about knowing their core values, what matters most to them. It's about knowing key personality traits. It's about understanding what motivates them, what drives them in their life. 

So again, these are not necessarily qualities that would be readily apparent just by looking at someone or just by finding out some of the cursory information about their life. No, these are far deeper traits and qualities to a person. 

To go back to our example of working corporate moms, again, we know we're talking about women, probably with at least a bachelor's degree, making decent money, they’re moms, again, these are things that are readily apparent. But what really matters to her? What does she want to build her life around? Is she a working mom because it's important to her to have her own professional identity? Is independence a key trait for her? Maybe she's a working mom because she wants to show her children what's possible, and so the idea of being a strong role model matters a great deal to her. Perhaps she's working because financial independence means a lot to her and she wants to get to a point in her life where she can pay for her children's education, she can pay for her housing independently. 

There are many reasons that she may be working a corporate job right now, and those reasons likely connect with her values or the things that matter most to her. And from a niching perspective, it is so incredibly important that we understand the internal motivations and drives of our ideal clients, because that's where we are going to connect with them most. 

When we are talking about the coaching approach that we use, or what we offer as a coach, we want to connect with our client on that deeper values based level, because that's where they are going to feel most connected to us, and that's how we are going to be able to really paint a picture that we understand them, we understand what it means to live their lives and to face the struggles or challenges they're facing, and it builds that “know, like, and trust” factor that is so important when you are first connecting with prospective clients. 

So as you are thinking about who you want to serve, I want you to consider the demographics, but also go deeper. Consider the psychographics of your ideal client as well. What are their personality traits? What are their core values? What motivates them? What do they most want. Once you've done this, then you'll have a much better idea of who your ideal client is, and who it is you most want to serve. 

Once you've done that, then you are ready for the second part, which is the what, and that is defining what your client needs most. So we have an amazing picture now of who your client is and what drives them. Now we want to really get into their life. What is it like to be them? What challenges or struggles do they face? What opportunities are before them? What do they most hope for in their life?

As we do that work, and we get really clear on the challenges your client is facing, and we pair that with what they desire most and what they hope for themselves, then we can start seeing the disconnect between where they are today, and where they want to be in the future. 

And it's in that disconnect between the two, that we as coaches can enter and provide a solution. We can be that bridge that gets them from where they are now to where they want to be. But we can only do that if we first really understand their starting point, exactly what's going on in their life today, what's working and what's not working, and we need to understand where they want to be, or what does that ideal future look like for them.

I like to think of this as clarifying your client’s before and after picture. We see before and after pictures a lot in marketing, and it's because it is really powerful. It is extraordinary to witness someone's transformation by seeing where they were when they started, and where they wound up when they finished. Before and after pictures can be incredibly inspiring and motivating. 

So when we are talking to our ideal clients, we want to connect them with the present day as a before, and we want to make sure that they really see that we understand not just where they are today, but why they are there, and the challenges and the obstacles and the struggles that they're facing that are keeping them stuck in the now, because then we can contrast them with what they most want and where they want to be. 

Because every single client has a dream or a vision or a goal that they want to achieve. They may be scared to fully admit it, but deep down, they know that there's something that they want more than anything else. And as coaches, our job is to help them uncover that, and then help them develop a plan of action to get to that ideal outcome. 

So when we can be really clear in our language and in our messaging about what that deep desire is, then the client is going to feel connected with us, and they're going to see us as a viable solution to getting what they most want. So that's why it's so important that once you've talked about who your client is, you want to identify what they need and what they want. That's how we create a really powerful before and after situation for them. 

Now, here's the other thing to consider. Your client has probably already tried a lot of things to get to that after picture, to get to that ideal state. So in addition to knowing where they are now and where they want to be, we also need to be clear about what is blocking them from getting there. What have they already tried, what has not worked, and what issues or problems repeatedly surface that get in their way? 

If we can identify those problems or those struggles, and relate to the client in a way that says, “Yeah, you know what, you're not alone in this. A lot of people struggle with this, or a lot of people experienced problems with that. And here's a different way through. Here's how coaching can help you work through those struggles or overcome those problems in a new and different way so that you'll get different results and get closer to that ideal outcome,” that is a powerful message. 

So we want to make sure that when we're talking about what our client needs, we're clear on where they are today and the challenges they're facing, we’re clear on where they want to be in the future and what their ideal vision is, and we're also clear on the obstacles or challenges that have shown up for them and made it difficult for them to accomplish what they want on their own. Because then we're able to position coaching as a new solution, as a new strategy, to get into their ideal future. 

Okay, so at this point, we have really clearly defined who it is you want to serve, we have defined what it is they need,  so now it's time for that third question: how? How will you serve your clients? So I'm going to ask you to start by thinking about those obstacles or those problems that you just identified. And now I want you to describe the solution. What is it that your clients need to think, feel or do in order to overcome those obstacles? 

So you'll notice I said think, feel, or do because likely, your clients need to embrace a new thought or they need to feel that differently about themselves or their situation, or they need to take a different action in order to achieve their goals. And honestly, they might even need to do all three, they may need to create a new thought, foster a new emotion, and take new action in order to break the cycle of what they're currently doing. 

And as their coach, you can help them do that. You can help them identify the thought processes that are currently limiting them, you can help them step into a new way of feeling about themselves. And you can help them create a solid action plan that's going to have them take new action to get them closer to their goals. So in terms of how you work with your clients, think about what do they need to think, feel, or do differently in order to work through those obstacles and get closer to their ideal outcome.

Once you can answer that question, Then you have started to define the solution. So you've identified what the solution is, now it's time to talk about how you provide it. What approaches or skills or tools do you use in order to help your client think, feel, or do something different in their life? 

I can use my own coaching practice as an example. My coaching approach is highly influenced by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT for short. I was trained in ACT as a therapist, and I've now taken the elements of ACT and incorporated them into my coaching approach. And in fact, I wrote a book all about it, so if you're interested in learning more, you can head over to Amazon and order your copy of “ACT on your Business.” Because in that book, I walk through the three pillars of ACT – meaning, mindset, and mindfulness – and how to apply them to your business and to your life. 

So I take an ACT-oriented approach in terms of providing a solution to my clients. I know that to create change in their lives, to change the way they think, feel, or do in their lives, they need to start with those three Ms – meaning, mindset, and mindfulness. And there are processes and strategies that I use to help them use the three Ms to create that change. 

So that's an example of how I provide the solution for my clients. Coaching becomes a partnership, where I help my clients tap into their deeper meaning, recognize their current thought patterns or mindset and how it might be limiting them, and how to incorporate a mindfulness practice so that they can feel more deeply connected to their work and to their life, all of which will enrich that deeper meaning and purpose. 

For me, the three Ms are how I anchor my coaching work, and it's the approach that I use with my clients. It provides a framework in which I can anchor a solution. So you'll want to think about how you provide the solution to your client. You've already identified what they need to change in terms of their thoughts, their feelings, or their actions. Now it's time to think about how you provide that solution. 

So we have just covered the three big questions you need to ask yourself to create clarity in your coaching. The first question is, who do you want to serve? The second question is what do they need? And the third question is, how will you help them? So with that, let's head into today's Clarity In Action moment. 

All right, my friend, now it's time. It is time to take action on these three questions that we have explored today. And to make it easy for you, I have created a free challenge that you can sign up for at https://www.coachwithclarity.com/challenge. And it will walk you through exactly what you need to do to clarify who it is you want to serve, what it is they need, and how you serve them. 

Even better, it goes beyond that and helps you start to identify what makes you unique, and how you can reach these people you most want to serve. So it's going to walk you through this process of creating your niche, it’s going to help you tap into your unique strengths and what makes you special as a coach, and it's even going to give you a jumpstart on how you can start finding those clients you most want to serve. 

You can sign up for the Five Days to Client Clarity Challenge by heading to https://www.coachwithclarity.com/challenge. It is 100% free and each day will take you 10 minutes or less. There is a brief video and a worksheet for each day, and by the time you wrap up this challenge, you are going to be feeling so clear about who you serve, how you serve them, and even where to find them. 

So head over to https://www.coachwithclarity.com/challenge, complete the Five Days to Client Clarity Challenge, and then I want you to come share your experiences with me in the Coach with Clarity Facebook group. So if you haven't joined our Facebook group yet, you will want to do so right now. Just head to https://www.coachwithclarity.com/facebookgroup and join us over there. That's where we dive even deeper into what we talk about in the episodes, and it's a growing and thriving community of coaches just like you. 

So to recap, your Clarity in Action task this week is to sign up for and complete the Five Days to Client Clarity Challenge. You can do that at Five Days to Client Clarity Challenge, and then once you've worked your way through the challenge, join us over at the Facebook group and tell us all about who you're serving and how you're serving them. Again, head to https://www.coachwithclarity.com/facebookgroup to join us over there. I cannot wait to hear about the clarity you've achieved by completing the Five Days to Client Clarity Challenge. 

I so hope you are enjoying this Getting Started series. Last week we talked about the paths to becoming a coach. This week, we really got even more clear about how to define your coaching niche. So next week, we are going to move into your offer, and how to create an offer that your ideal clients will love. So I can't wait to see you for that next week. 

All the more reason why if you have not already subscribed to the podcast, be sure to do so now. That way, the next episode will automatically show up in your feed, and I can't wait to continue this conversation with you next time. So until then, this is Lee Chaix McDonough, reminding you to get out there and show the world what it looks like to be a Coach with Clarity. Have a great week. 

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