Guest blog by Al Ramos
After going through a “career divorce” mid-pandemic, Al Ramos entered the Lumia Coaching program with an open mind, ready to learn, and open to whatever route this certification would take her. And as Al says, “If we are being honest here, it took many turns!” Eventually she found herself exploring how her previous background in science, a life coaching certification, and studies in Functional Health and Nutrition might coexist. In this way, her coaching specialty was born!
As a coach, Al Ramos helps fellow endometriosis sufferers connect back to themselves, while functionally supporting their physical pain in the process. Al is a 2021 graduate of Lumia coach training. You can follow her work on Instagram @astoldbyal or by visiting her website astoldbyal.com
WHAT THE NICHE?!?
How I Stopped Stressing and Discovered My Coaching Zone of Genius
If you are reading this, my guess is that you are most likely in a coach training program right now, thinking about starting one, or recently graduated. Or just really interested in all things coaching!
And if you’re at all like me, this idea of choosing a coaching niche may be more than a little stressful.
So let’s talk about it.
I’m here to keep it real; if you know me, you know that’s my jam. Honest Al in the house. In this blog, I’m going to break down a few tips for new coaches struggling with what to do post graduation. That includes dissecting some of my own mistakes, what I’ve learned, and how I got to what I now feel is my “soul-aligned niche.”
Alright then, let’s get to it.
1. Nobody has it all figured out (even if they look like they do)
Picture this. You’re midway through your coaching program, and a fellow student has her Instagram loaded with beautiful content. She already has a website up, built out her coaching packages, and just last Tuesday had professional photos taken. She must be raking in the clients!
Meanwhile, you’re sitting in yesterday’s pajamas eating leftovers, wondering what the hell you are doing, where to buy a ring light, and what is this “Canva thing” is that people keep talking about?
So, here are my two cents.
Stop comparing. Literally, stop.
This is going to be a lot easier said than done. I know because my head was in a tailspin half the time, and ultimately this led to full on Imposter Syndrome.
I started seeking advice from everyone but myself. Eventually, this line of thinking convinced me that I was NEVER going to figure out what type of coach I was going to be.
Which leads me to my next point…
2. Don’t get too lost in the details
If I can tell you one thing, it’s that your coaching style is going to be unique to you. No matter how many books you read, podcasts you listen to, or additional certifications that you get. That’s the point.
So then what am I saying?
Coach anyone, and everyone.
This is how you find your style. If you settle on a specialty too early, you risk missing things that might be important down the line. If you get too fixated on a particular style of coaching that you are either reading/learning about, you risk shutting yourself off to new styles (and inevitably your ideal clients.)
Instead of researching niches and crafting your business plan, take on as many pro-bono clients as you can, from all walks of life. Preface your Discovery Calls with the fact that you are a new coach, and be honest. It goes further than you think.
Stay within your realm of comfort, and always stick to your personal ethics and ICF guidelines.
3. If you’re going to talk the talk, then walk the walk.
Work with a coach.
Yep, I said it. One of the things that I noticed while I was in my coach training program is how many people train to become coaches without ever having worked with a coach themselves. Not only was the material new, but the whole experience of being in a coaching relationship was foreign!
Now, I get it. Maybe you don’t have the means to hire a coach because you are working, eating leftovers, and trying to scrape by while attending your classes each week, or as you're first getting your business off the ground.
So, here is my solution to that. Utilize the Lumia community!
There are many of us out there that started from ground zero (myself included) that are usually more than willing to set up a time to chat with you. Interview us, ask us questions, find the coaches that are talking about all the deets.
If you’re not a Lumia student or alumni, you too can access our network! Check out Lumia's directory of certified coaches, and schedule a complimentary call (most coaches offer them). Find out what coaching is like.
You’d be surprised when you do your “own work” how much surfaces, AND may ultimately lead you to figure out what type of coach you are and what type of niche you'll end up in.
4. Don’t ignore "The Calling"
Here is where my personal journey with coaching and my learning opportunities - not mistakes! - come in. (See what I did there?)
We all have a story, a background, “a calling” if you will, but you have to actually listen to it for the connections to emerge.
When I graduated from Lumia Coaching I hit the ground running. I hired an Instagram coach, got a logo, built a website, took professional photos, snatched up a ring light, and BAM! I was ready.
But for months things really felt off.
I would chat with other coaches, and I do recommend staying in contact with your community - you need them! I talked to my therapist at the time. And within more recent months, my own coach. I talked to everyone about the “off.” And then I discovered…
The “off” is where the magic is.
What I figured out in my “off moments” is that I was getting in my own way. For as long as I can remember I would always say that I didn’t want to help women like me struggling with an adverse childhood, or Endometriosis, because that “client pool” felt secluded and small.
I WAS WRONG!
Before the end of last year, I had finished studying Functional Diagnostics and Nutrition, and slowly started to allow this subject to surface in my online content. Adding this expertise to my previous career in Veterinary Medicine meant that the science side of me was still allowed to flourish. That felt good!
I started talking more about my own journey, and began to piece together the topics that women ask me about the most: childhood trauma, the connection between the mind and body, and stored emotions. What codependency is, women’s cycle health, and using food as medicine.
I allowed the space of storybranding to really come to light.
As of now, I still coach men and women in my group journaling class, but more recently have focused my 1:1 coaching on helping women mentally connect with themselves, while consulting about functional and holistic health practices to support their physical healing.
Let’s Talk About The Nitty Gritty Nichey Stuff
So if you are still wondering “What the niche?!?!” let me tell you some of the things I did to get to where I am now. The best part? You can coach yourself through the process below!
Step 1: What are you passionate about?
Literally write all these things down on paper. Maybe it is plants, cooking, relationship help, and the color pink. Who knows, but go wild!
Once you have your list, start to circle the ones that you feel like you can talk about for hours.
Maybe you have some history with cooking, or plant care. Maybe you know how people can utilize plants to help with “xyz.” Maybe you realized that you really value talking about how you overcame anxiety.
Ask yourself: can I really TALK about all these things, or do I just like them? The color pink may not make the grade (who knows?), but there may be other creative ways to incorporate it... like in your branding palette. After all, this is your business!
Once you have your hot topics circled, start to get creative. Don’t limit yourself to what you have a degree or certification in. Let go of the idea that you NEED more (more education, more knowledge, more insight) than you already have.
Step 2: Got your list? Feeling creative?
It’s time to fill in the blanks! Focus on completing the statement below. In as many combinations as you can. I encourage you to write as much as it takes until you have the AH-HA moment!
“I help ____ with _____by ____.”
Let me give you my example:
I help women with anxiety, feel at ease in their bodies by developing a plant hobby, and nurturing their bodies with easy, whole food recipes.
So yeah, mine might sound a little wild, but it’s MY storybrand! What’s most important is that I understand that it’s my coaching coupled with my lived experiences that will help many more people than I can even imagine.
I’ll end with this...
Remember that when the bully in your mind creeps in, the one that tells you your ideas just won’t work, that your story matters. People will pay you for your lived experiences. Your niche and your clients will develop, you just have to allow the space for them to find you.
Need more tools to help connect your lived experience with the right coaching niche for you? Check out: Choose Your Coaching Niche Using the Seven Stories Exercise
Want to Become A Coach?
One of our values at Lumia is that we dare to be different. Our coaches like Al ignore the expectations society tries to impose on them, and seek to live from their own truth instead. If you are ready to step into your power and you’d like some partners in the process, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and business instruction to prepare you for liftoff.