Back in 2012 when I first got my doctorate in psychology, I knew nothing about coaching or business. I didn’t understand that I needed to focus on one transformation and one ideal client avatar.
So I became a coach. Not even a life coach.
That’s how much I didn’t know.
About a year later, I learned that I needed to pick a niche. I spent a few months getting bogged down in that and finally decided to focus on career coaching. I did that for about a year, but soon learned that I didn’t like helping my clients write cover letters and resumes.
Fortunately, I had two clients at about the same time that wanted to start their own businesses. Since I had been running my own business for a while, I knew some stuff by then and could help them. It was then that I realized how much I loved business coaching.
As a business coach, I still struggled because I didn’t focus on one type of business. My clients included coaches, freelancers, retail businesses, and service businesses. Each of these businesses has a wide variety of help they need and I felt a bit overwhelmed trying to help them all. So I decided to focus in even further and help coaches.
First, I had had my own coaching business for several years by that point and I had made. ALL. THE. MISTAKES. and solved them.
Second, I had worked on the core leadership team of a multi-million dollar coaching business for four years by that point. I got an insiders view of how to really help coaches.
Finally, I had a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. I was prepared to help my clients with all their mindset, beliefs, and identity stuff around coaching. And Counseling Psych is like a sister philosophy to coaching. The two blend beautifully. But this article isn’t about me. It’s about how to help you decide on your own ideal client avatar and niche down your own coaching practice. There are 3 things that can help you do just that.
Are you a member of a group or community of people that you actually like to hang out with? It can be a hobby group, non-profit, etc. For example, when I was working for the coaching company, I had a chance to be a part of a community full of other coaches.
I learned that there are these other people in the world who are what I've come to nick-name warm-hearted shmoopie-shmoops. Incredibly caring women whose purpose in life is to help others love themselves more and lead lives full of joy, meaning, and confidence.
These were women who had similar goals, who I really cared about, and who I wanted to see succeed. In a big way. So they could make the impact they wanted to make. Think about the people you care about the most who want to make the transformation you can help them with. This can give you a good idea of who your ideal client avatar could be. Often, these people are similar to an earlier version of yourself.
My ideal client avatar is a struggling coach trying to figure it all out. Because I was that coach.
I began thinking about all the things I clunked my way through and learned in the past several years.
It felt so easy to develop a coaching methodology that streamlined the process for the earlier version of me.
If you have chosen a transformation that you have gone through yourself, what do you wish you would have known? What would have made the transformation easier for you?
I’m guessing these questions should be pretty easy to answer if you’ve made the transformation yourself. If so, you are well on your way to having an ideal client avatar.
However, there is one more thing to consider before selecting your avatar.
It's not enough to choose a group of people that you love. Or to help an earlier version of yourself. You have to make sure that they are willing and able to pay you.
Do they have money for coaching? Coaches are warm-hearted caring people who want to help the people who need them the most.
Yet, many of those people don’t have the money to pay them. You have to consider that coaching is a business. A business is an entity that is created to provide value while bringing in revenue. It’s not a non-profit.
If you truly want to help people that can’t afford your services, you may need to consider other options.
There are thousands of social service agencies throughout the world that help people. And need your help.
If that’s where your heart is, then don’t be afraid to do that. You can always make coaching your side business and the non-profit your full-time work.
Besides the ability to pay you, you also want to consider the avatar's willingness to pay for coaching.
People pay to end pain more than they pay to increase pleasure. And most people will not hire a coach to prevent anything. You’ll need to keep that in mind when you consider your avatar AND your transformation.
Take teens for example. They’re often not the final decision makers when it comes to hiring a coach. Their parents are. So if you’re going to coach teens, you need to consider that both the teen and their parents are your clients.
Okay. So that wraps up this article.
To sum up, think about these 3 key ideas that can help you choose your ideal client avatar...
With love & joy,
P.S. Is there someone in your life who could benefit from reading this post? Why not share this with them?
Selena Tramayne, Ph.D. is the founder of The Tramayne Group, which provides programs and coaching services to benefit new and emerging coaches. She developed the Coaching Genius System and provides one-on-one and group coaching through The Coaches Accelerator, a streamlined process to help coaches go from zero to six figures fast. When not working in and on her business, she can be found hiking, mountain biking, and going on bliss walks near her home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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