“Take your marketing hat off, Alisa. Remove it, completely!”
These were the words of my coach as I began to talk about this new season of my executive coaching practice. As a marketer, I live in the world of target markets, personas and brand promises. Earlier this year, I could feel a shift in my mental and emotional capacity that would allow me to get serious about coaching a few key executive clients each month in 2018. So I asked myself, “Who’s my target market? Which niche will be the most lucrative for this business?” All standard questions.
The answer was obvious: men (specifically, men in leadership at their places of business).
The majority of my clients for the last five years have been male. I hardly have to talk about the power of coaching helping people reach their goals when I hear them say, “When do we start?” In fact, I had an opportunity to coach one of the coolest men I know a few years ago. He’s started successful companies, held various C-level positions, and now he’s living out the dreams we talked about back then (supporting the launch of tech start-ups), which is incredibly exciting!
Okay, so what’s wrong with this picture?
I’ve had a few coaches ask me lately, “Where do you ultimately want to be? What’s your purpose in life?” And the most annoying, “What’s your why?” Ugh, don’t make me think! This is what I do with my clients, not with myself!
I recalled asking myself these very questions my senior year of college. I remembered a picture of a target, so vividly, in this book called StrengthsQuest (a student guide for the Gallup StrengthsFinder tool). Within the rings of the target, the exercise was to list out what I valued the most. The purpose was to align my values with my career goals. Guess what was one of my top values? “Women.”
After that, I remembered that helping women flourish in their careers and lives is my passion! Funny how when you don’t consistently think about what’s important to you, you can easily forget, right? Somehow in the last few years, that part of my core being really escaped me. But guess what? It’s back!
I felt the flicker come back this fall when a female coaching client told me that in conclusion of our times together, she got “permission to be a badass.”
“And, I am a badass!” she said with utter confidence.
THIS. This is where I want to live. It’s where I want to grow as a coach, and as a woman myself.
As I’ve begun to explore this idea of focusing my practice only on women’s growth, both my excitement and my fear has grown. In fact, there’ve been a few times where I’ve questioned if I even get women at all. What’s a WOMAN??? Ha. I even bought a few books to remind myself of my own gender and the issues we face and the issues we’re currently conquering (woot!). As you probably know, fear is something that all genders have to learn to embrace when entering into new territories of business, and just life in general.
OMG, What’s a HUMAN???
So, in 2018, my redefined coaching business will launch. I’m not doing any deep dive marketing. I’m being very selective about the women I work with and making sure that I’m being my true self along the way. I’ll be pulling out lots of tips and tricks I’ve learned in my practice over the years. Plus, I’m honing in some new high performance habits that I’ve been practicing with clients and obsessing over in the last few months. It should be an exciting adventure!