One of the reasons people come to me for coaching is because they are not happy in their career and want to change, usually, they want to start their own business, but they are unclear about what they want to do. So I have devised this very useful exercise to find there speciality or niche. I have focused it on coaches, but it can apply to any profession.

Try it.

Finding your speciality


List at least 20 things that you excel at.  For example, are you good at numbers? Are you organized? Are you skilled at time management? Do you have a degree? Good with children? Love to write. Don’t overthink it. Write anything and everything that come to mind.

When you’re done, circle five or six skill sets in your list that you identify with most or have the most experience with. (mind map fig 1)

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”Copy of Copy of Existing skillset(2)”]


Next, list the experiences in your life which have had a big impact on you. For example:

Had a baby in the NICU

Gone through a nasty divorce

Lost a family member

Been in management or leadership position

Had a child with a learning disability

Completed an MBA or other advanced degree

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”Life experiences(3)”]Step 2 List your experiences (mind map fig 2)

Step 3 List the wisdom you have gained (mind map fig 2)

Next to each of your life experiences, write out the wisdom you have gained through that life experience. If you went through a divorce, did you learn to hire the best lawyer? Or did you learn how to emotionally cope with losing someone you loved?

If you held a leadership position, did you learn how to motivate your team? Did you learn how to interview for a promotion? Try to list five things you learned through each of your

Step 4 Dig a little deeper

Before selecting the speciality that you build your business around and coach other people within, you should have a clear understanding of yourself. So, let’s dig a little deeper. Ask yourself the following questions and write out your answers.

  1. What do people closest to you say a about you? How do they describe you?
  2. What comes easily to you that you love doing?
  3. Which of your skills do you perform almost daily without really thinking about it?
  4. What could you talk about for hours on end?
  5. What do people say you excel in?
  6. What is unique about you?
  7. What did you want to be when you grew up?
  8. What do people naturally come to you for help?
  9. What brings you the most joy in life?
  10. What type of person are you most comfortable speaking to (e.g. women in their 50’s)?


    Don’t over-analyse your responses. There are no right or wrong answers. Write down what comes to your mind first. The point of the exercise is to gain clarity about yourself. You’ll also use what you learn here to refine your message for your ‘about’ page, your blog post and articles that you write on your website.

Step 5 Combine and create (fig 3)

Fill in the three columns, existing skillset, life experience, and wisdom gained. At the intersection lies the specific demographic of people you are most inclined to serve and the focal point of your business that will allow you to leverage what you already have. Pick no more than six words from the three columns that ‘resonate’ and ‘speak to you’ about who, and what you should be.

If it doesn’t come to you right away, give yourself some time to mull it over. Here are a few examples of niches to demonstrate that the options are endless.

Spiritual coaching for people dealing with grief

Financial management coaching for college graduates

Stress management coaching for executive level managers

Public speaking coaching for motivational speakers

Healthcare coaching for stay-at-home-mums

Relationship coaching for newly wedded couples

Work/life balance coaching for working mothers

Sex coaching for menopausal women

Health coaching for overweight teens

Emotional coaching for divorced men

These sound a lot better than ‘life coach’, right? If you had a specific problem would you hire someone from this list?

As you go through this exercise, you will see how your specific skill set and passions can be combined to create a thriving coaching business that has clients lining up at your door.

The more specific your speciality, the clearer you are on your Ideal client. The clearer you are on your ideal client, the better your marketing and targeting. The better your marketing and targeting, the more likely your ideal clients are to purchase your programs.

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”combine and create(2)”]

Step 6: Your Ideal Client

When it comes to creating a successful and profitable coaching business, there is nothing more important than understanding your ideal client. The person (and other people like him or her) is the person you guide and encourage through their fears, doubts, struggles. This is the person you serve in your business.

And coaching is all about serving your clients. It isn’t about you or your accomplishments. It is isn’t about the money you earn. It is all about your clients.

So, what does that mean to you? Before you go a step further, you need to know who your ideal client is. You need to know what drives her, what scares her, what she wants most, her deepest struggles and frustrations, and how she thinks. Your ideal client needs to be real to you. 

She is the person your website speaks to. She is your audience for blog posts and newsletters. She is who you write your advertising content for.

If you try to reach everyone, you end up coaching very few. You must be specific. Your ideal client should come alive to you. Don’t worry if your ideal client ends up looking a lot like you. Oftentimes as coaches, we are our own first client anyway.

Many coaches skip this fundamental step when they start their businesses. If you want to create a business with potential clients lining up to work with you, you need to first serve just one, then another, then another and so on.

Answer the following questions to create your ideal client profile. By the time you are done, you should know exactly who you are talking to, writing to, and marketing to. You should understand which information he or she seeks and what triggers him or her.

  1. What is your ideal client’s gender?
  2. What is his or her age?
  3. What is his or her marital/partnership status?
  4. What is his or her education level?
  5. Does he or she have children
  6. What is his or her income level?
  7. What are his or her hobbies?
  8. What is his or her personality?
  9. What are his or her personal goals?
  10. What does his or her daily schedule look like?
  11. What is his or her biggest source of pain?
  12. What is his or her deepest fear?
  13. What does he or she avoid facing?
  14. What is his or her greatest opportunities?
  15. What are his or her greatest hopes and dreams?
  16. What does he or she hope to accomplish in the next year?
  17. How does he or she like to learn?
  18. What has he or she tried in the past that worked?
  19. What has he or she tried in the past that didn’t work?
  20. What is he or she most grateful for?


    Actions steps and wrapping up

    1 Complete steps one through six. Spend time with this exercise (at least a few days) as it shouldn’t be rushed.

    2 When you finish, give your ideal client a name. Write up a short paragraph describing him or her and his or her life. Here’s an example

Tina is a working mother. She has her graduate degree in engineering and love her job. After having children, she feels guilty that she enjoys her career. She wants to climb the corporate ladder, but she is afraid that doing so will affect her ability to be a great mother. She worries that she cannot effectively grow her career without sacrificing her family life.



excerpts courtesy of ‘Make Money as a Life Coach’ by Melissa Ricker & Sally Miller

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