Time to drop niche and think context instead?

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16th November 2018

Author: Nick Bolton

To niche or not to niche? That is the question!

And it’s a question you’ll hear a lot in the coaching world. It’s discussed endlessly in books, blogs and forums about how to create a coaching practice.

It’s a topic worth talking about, of course, but I’d like to look at it a little differently.

The problem, it seems to me, is that we get so tied up in knots trying to think of a niche that we miss the fact that we are so often in a ready-made context. It’s right there in front of our nose but we’re just not seeing it.

It’s the context you already exist in.

Why Context?

When I started my coaching business, I didn’t have a niche. What I did have was a very clear context for my work to take place in. I had set up a company that ran conferences on social issues for the public sector and this very quickly and easily became the context in which I did my coaching work. I had police officers, social workers, youth workers, education officers, you name it! They were coming to my events to understand how to implement government policy, so it was a natural step to think I could then coach them on how to do it or how to face other challenges. This was my context, but I didn’t think about it as a niche. Not for one second.

From the outside looking in, you might say “you had a niche, Nick!”. You might be thinking my niche was the public sector or front end officers implementing policy. But I wasn’t outside looking in. I was just in it, doing it, living it.

What Is Your Context?

Maybe your context is your local town.

Maybe your context is a university you work in.

Maybe your context is your organisation.

Maybe your context is a particular circle of connections you have.

These are all contexts that you are already in. You’re not reinventing the wheel to create a niche for marketing. You’re just getting active in the context that already exists around you.

Open your eyes to your context.

For some of you, thinking about the niche, your outcomes and the specific way you work that sets you apart might be right and feel like the best way forward. If so, great!

But for many, ‘niche’ become a mental and emotional block that prevents movement forward. You might be throwing your hands in the air thinking “I just don’t know my niche!” If so, open your eyes to what’s already around you. Your current context.

Rather than recreating and reinventing, simply get active within your existing context.

Who do you know or who can can you reach right now who might be your next step towards developing your coaching practice?

Author Details

Nick Bolton

Nick is the founder and CEO of the Animas and International Centre for Coaching Supervision. Along with his love of coaching and supervision, he is a a passionate learner with a fascination for philosophy, psychology and sociology.

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