A lot of coaching students and new coaches ask me about whether they should choose a coaching niche or be a generalist life coach. The vast majority of coaching schools and “gurus” will advise that we absolutely need a niche to do the following:

o Attract only the clients and “coaching topics” we are passionate about working with

o Repel all the clients and “coaching topics” we don’t feel skilled and/or interested in delivering

o Focus on marketing efforts (and money) into very specific activities and therefore potentially gaining more return on our investment

o And there are heaps more reasons!

What’s really interesting though is that after all these years of the experts telling us we need a niche and that being a Generalist Life Coach is actually us trying to be “everything to everybody”, we now find that there’s a shortage of generalists!

Here are some things to consider:

o Life coaching clients typically come to us with more than one “thing” or “issue” and that these topics cover more than one category. For example, someone who comes initially for work/life balance reasons, may then bring up a few sessions later a relationship issue, then later on something specific about life purpose or spirituality, and then out of the blue also ask for some assistance in addressing conflict and or performance management issues in their role as an executive. This is a typical client, but they might be hard to drop into a specific niche, as they fit into lots of them!

o Many coaching clients want to find just one person who can help them with all of their “things” versus working with lots of different coaches for different reasons. In these cases the client IS looking for someone who can be a bit of “everything” for them.

o At the end of the day, regardless of your specialty or the client’s areas of coaching inquiry, you are using the same foundational life coaching skills. As your client’s variety of topics for coaching continue to expand, you will need to tap into and grow your repertoire of coaching skills to address these unique issues as they come up. You also tap into your background and experience, and utilise your referral networks. This is about developing your “mastery of coaching” at it applies no matter whether you’re a niche or generalist coach.

o Niche coaching relies on clients who have identified a specific category in which they’re looking for a solution. This is fine and works perfectly for those focused clients. However, there’s a huge market of people out there (millions!) who might just identify as “feeling stuck”, “not sure of direction to take”, “wanting something different but I don’t know what” and so on. There are millions of people who want to generally speaking make some changes in their life and would like some personal assistance in figuring out what needs to change and why. These people do not necessarily have enough self-awareness and/or industry awareness to seek out a specialty niche coach. They want (or think they want) a personal life coach who can hopefully help with anything that might come up.

o You can have “General Life Coaching” as a niche, and you can have more than one niche! You can also offer “Relationship Coaching”, “Spirituality Coaching” and “Executive Leadership Coaching.” You just would most likely market them differently. You can also market them together in some instances so that people discover all you have to offer and can also make referrals for you to someone looking for one of your other specialty areas.

Finally, consider that you have a lifetime of experiences and skills. Are you limiting your coaching practice to just one area of experience and skills, or could you expand your market, and help more people, and possibly make a bigger success of your business, if you were open to tapping into everything you have to offer by being a Generalist Life Coach?

There are more than enough clients out there for all of us. None of us need to be trying to “grab our piece of the pie”, because we could just work together to make a “bigger pie for everyone!” This closing statement is important because increasing the number of generalist life coaching services out there helps the entire market grow and supports our speciality coaching colleagues by nurturing general coaching clients into coaching advocates who will return again and again seeking out more coaching services for their personal and professional development.

Author's Bio: 

Noel Posus is a recognised leader of the international coaching industry, with nearly twenty years experience as a professional educator, coach and author.

His career spans from lecturing at the University of Colorado to being the Master Coach at the Life Coaching Institute of Australia. Additionally, Noel has served on the Board of Directors for a number of industry associations, including the European Coaching Institute and the Australian Life Coaching Society.

Today, Noel Posus and business partner Sarah Hue-Williams are the co-directors of Incredible Awareness, an international coaching organisation dedicated to providing unique custom designed coaching services and programmes, including their flagship service, askacoach.com service.

He also has written 17 books, including the 13 books in the Wheel of Life series and filmed 65 tutorial videos for that coaching tool. thewheelsoflife.com

Noel lives in Sydney and coaches clients around the world and truly believes this is the best career in the world!

Finally, Noel was awarded Coach of the Year 2008 with the Australian New Zealand Institute of Coaching!