As you prepare to begin your business coaching career, it is important that you familiarize yourself with all of its aspects. Within business coaching, there are several niches that your clients may be a part of and that you can choose to specialize in. Whatever niche or niches that you choose to specialize in-or even if you choose to not specialize in any one niche-you will need to know about all niches that are involved in business coaching.
The niches discussed in this article are options that you may choose from, and you are not required to choose any of them. You may find, over the course of your coaching career, that there are more niches than those listed here. It is also possible that the niche that you originally begin your coaching career with is not what you remain with as you grow. 1
The corporate niche applies to clientele with large, multi-operational business. They can be of any size, with any kind of need for your service. This can cover international, national, and local businesses with multiple locations and departments within their business structure. The coaching used in this niche is more motivational-leaning than anything else. 2 It can also be broken down further into additional niches, so it may provide a wider audience base for you to work with should you choose to offer coaching for the corporate niche. You do have the option of focusing on one of those additional niches, but you do not necessarily need to.
- Why is business coaching needed here? Most corporate businesses seek out business coaching primarily for the sake of growth. A business coach can prepare different aspects of the business for expansions and associated changes. In some cases, the coaching is necessary for those in management who are unfamiliar with operating a business or department on a corporate level. They may also seek a business coach with a focus on corporate coaching if they are adding new aspects to their business and want that added advising that they can receive from a business coach.
- What additional work needs to be done? For corporate niche coaching, you will often have to familiarize yourself with that company. During your preparations for the client, you may have to look at the business' history in relation to what they want you to help them accomplish. For example, if a company has hired you to help them in preparation for an expansion, you can look at what happened the last time they experienced growth and what similarities and differences there are between now and then. If you are being hired to coach a specific department within that company or a specific location, you should familiarize yourself with the aspects of those parts of the company.
Executive, or leadership, niche coaching is often for the higher-ups in a business. This can include owner-proprietors, CEOs, managers, and department heads. It involves heavy one-on-one coaching, and makes up a large portion of business coaching sessions. Some clients in executive positions will develop a long term relationship with their business coach. This may simply mean they will be a repeat customer or they can possible keep the coach on retainer as an employee of their business or company.Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Business Coaching course?
- Why is business coaching needed here? When business coaches are hired to work with a client that falls in the executive niche, it is often because they are new to the position or feel like they are falling behind in their abilities. For those who are new, the transition may require assistance that can be gained through a business coach. For a large corporation, it may be a part of the training for new executives to work with a business coach. As the changes to the business and the industry that it is a part of happen, that executive may need coaching in order for them to remain at the top of their game.
- What additional work needs to be done? If you choose to focus on executive niche coaching, you will need to have the knowledge and experience of being in that type of leadership position. This doesn't meant that you cannot do executive business coaching if you have never been a CEO or been in a similar position. If anything, you need to have leadership experience that you can refer to as you design your sessions. You will also need to create a stronger sense of trust between you and the client. As stated above, executive coaching is more one-on-one than the other niches so developing trust is highly important for it to be successful.
For those in the small business niche, you may be faced with some additional challenges. Small businesses often do not reach out to business coaches due to a number of issues. However, that does not mean that the small business coaching niche is going to be reduced in size or nonexistent. The amount of small businesses has been increasing and there are numerous types of small businesses out there, so the niche can be as varied and diverse as any other you may involve your coaching with.
- Why is business coaching needed here? Small business is a niche for coaching because the clients who fall within it often need special care. Often, the problems that small businesses face that result in the involvement of a business coach are far from small. 3 The issues may be similar to those you would find in a larger company, but are a bigger deal for a small business because it has a greater impact. They may have the same goals and reasons for working with a business coach that large companies have, but they may have different obstacles preventing them from making those achievements.
- What additional work needs to be done? The bulk of the additional work needed for coaching in the small business niche involves specializing your services to the business' needs. As you prepare for your coaching sessions, you may find yourself looking at the more finite details within the business and the local market that it is involved in. It will be predominantly research-based, and you may be required to look at local issues that may affect your client's goals and objectives during coaching. Having a general familiarity with all of the factors involved is also just a good idea to begin with.
Some business coaches choose to work within a specific career or profession. Doing so will narrow your focus and your audience much further than any other niche, depending on the career or profession in question. With a career-specific niche, you may find your audience expanding to include educational and training programs for those careers. Some program hosts, like universities, will sometimes bring in a business coach to speak with students as part of the program. In those cases, your approach to the session will be dependent on what is involved in the program and what the program host wants of you.
- Why is business coaching needed here? For the most part, clients will seek out coaches who are career-centric with their services because they need the extra attention. In most cases, a business coach with a focus on a specific profession is brought in to help the client advance within their own career. Often they want help advancing to the next stage of their career, such as a promotion or a new job position above their current one. Other times, it may be that a client is comfortable where they are at in their career but feel like they are slipping and losing their edge. In those cases, they may seek a business coach to help them retain the position that they have and are concerned that they may be replaced by someone more qualified.
- What additional work needs to be done? Most of the additional work necessary for coaching in a career-specific niche will require background and informational research. The goals that a client may have in regards to their career or profession may be more specific to their place of employment. Their place of employment may also affect their progression towards their goals, so you may need to do some preemptive research into their employer. You may also need to look at what is currently going on in the industry that the client's career is a part of. As what the section below discusses, changes in industry can have an impact on your coaching and its outcome.
Like the corporate niche, the industry-specific niche for business coaching is an umbrella that covers more similar, smaller niches. It is entirely your decision if you want to specialize your coaching for certain industries, or even branches of certain industries. Depending on the industry that you focus on, you may actually find yourself with a rather large audience rather than a narrowed one.
Like with the career-specific coaching niche, you may find your services being requested for programs related to the industry you are focusing on. Many industries have conferences and conventions associated with it and will look for speakers and presenters to talk with attendees. Business coaches who are familiar with the industry are often a popular option that organizers choose.
- Why is business coaching needed here? As with the economy, different industries can be in a constant state of change. This can be problematic for some who are involved in that industry in some capacity. Business coaching can be seen as a tool to help those individuals navigate some of those fluctuations. For those who are new to an industry or are generally inexperienced with the dealing with the major changes in their industry, working with a business coach may be helpful as they navigate through it.
- What additional work needs to be done? When you are working within an industry as a business coach, regardless of if you are focusing on that industry as a niche, you will need to keep yourself informed about news, trends, and ideas concerning that industry. When you are narrowing your focus to a specific industry, you need to make sure that you are as prepared as possible for the sake of your client's benefit. Changes can happen rapidly and keeping an eye out for what is going on in an industry that your clients are a part of can have a noticeable effect on the outcome of your coaching. It is also to your benefit, as those industry changes can potentially impact your business as a coach.
Do You Need to Have a Niche?
Choosing to attach yourself to a certain niche with your business coaching is not a requirement for your career. For some business coaches, choosing to not focus on any one niche is an option. It is recommended by some experts that successful business coaching requires you to employ the idea of being a jack-of-all-trades with your coaching. 4 It allows you to cast a wide net for your audience, and even gives you access to clients who may fall into multiple niches. Even if you do choose to narrow your focus when you first begin your business coaching career, your clients may refer you to those outside of your focus, thereby providing you with an opportunity to expand it.
When you first begin your business coaching career, you may decide to follow certain niches over others. Over time and as you grow professionally, you may consider expanding your options. You may also find that your business coaching goes outside the box in terms of what niches you cater to. As you will be bringing in your own experiences and knowledge into your coaching career, you may find it beneficial to create your own niche with that information as a base. 5 This may be an attractive option for some, as it allows you to create a stronger bond with your clients by relating to them while also letting you put a personal touch on your work.