The secret to great coaching is often to stop your client from changing too much, too fast.

Tiffany drank 6 800+ calorie mocha crappa frappe lattes from Starbucks.

When she found out how bad they were for her, she said she’d stop.

I told her not to.

Here's why:

The entire self-help genre shouldn’t exist.

There’s nothing in the past 100+ years that’s meaningfully new in the self-help field.

Logically you should be able to buy a self-help book, do the thing, and be done.

But that's not how it works . . .

The reason: It’s addictive to dream about a better future.

Making a better future our reality, however, takes hard work.

We buy the book, get excited, begin to do the work, fall off because the initial excitement has worn off, and start again, getting another dopamine hit.

Tiffany needed a realistic plan.

So, I asked her,

“Cool. I’m curious, on a scale of 1-10, 10 meaning that you will adhere 100% and never get these drinks again, where do you think you’re at?”

“Ooof, she said. Probably a 4.” She replied.

“What makes you say that?” I asked.

“I really love my Sunday meetups with my girlfriends. And if they’re all getting their drink, I don’t want to be the only one not getting my drink.” She said.

“That’s totally reasonable. OK, so on that same scale of 1-10, but this time you’ll still enjoy the drink on Sundays, where do you think you’re at?” I asked.

“A 7 or 8. It’s not so much the drink during the week but the routine.

Getting out the door in the mornings are chaotic with my family. If I don’t get a coffee on the way to work I’d have to make it at home and it’s crazy enough as it is.” She said.

“Awesome. OK. So how about this then.

What if you enjoyed your drink on Sundays with your girlfriends and kept your routine of going to Starbucks during the week on the way to work but got a simple black coffee.

Where do you think you’d be at on that same scale of 1-10?”

“10. For sure. I could do that.” She said.

“Great plan.” I said, and high-fived her to seal the deal.

For context, there’s 3,500 calories in a pound of body fat.

Replacing 5 800 kcal drinks with black coffee a week resulted in 4,000 fewer calories weekly.

In a single month, it led to a loss of 4.5 lbs of body fat.

The secret to change is simple:

Make it easy before you make it hard.

It’s human nature to want to make big changes quickly. A simple scale to 10 opens up a dialogue of how realistic a self-imposed plan is for the client.

If your client isn’t at a 9 or 10 they won’t stick to it.

It needs to work within their existing habits.

Their Life Tetris pieces already exist. Your job isn’t to change them or make new pieces, it’s to fit what they need to do around what they’re already doing.