Let’s chat about something that hits close to home for many of us in the coaching world – those sky-high dreams that sometimes crash into the reality of what’s actually doable. You know what I’m talking about. That moment when a client comes to you, eyes sparkling with the kind of ambition that could light up a city and lay out their grand plan. It’s the kind of plan that makes you want to strap in and join them for the ride until you hit the speed bump of unrealistic expectations.

I’ll never forget Mark (let’s call him that). Mark was a whirlwind of energy with a vision so big it could barely fit in our Zoom calls. He wanted to turn his struggling business into the go-to online community in his niche – a noble goal, for sure. But the problem is he wanted it yesterday.

Now, as much as I’m a cheerleader for chasing dreams, my job is also to be a bit of a reality check – kind of like the friend who reminds you to bring a jacket when you’re too busy imagining the sunshine. So, we sat down for a heart-to-heart, or as I like to call it, a “dreams meet reality” session.

Here’s the gist of what went down:

  • Honest Chats: I started with the truth sandwich – compliment his ambition, insert the reality check, and then top it off with encouragement. It’s about being real, not a dream crusher.
  • Breaking It Down: We got into the nitty-gritty of what his dream required. Timelines, budgets, learning curves – you name it. This wasn’t about scaring him off; it was about preparing him for the journey ahead.
  • Celebrating Small Wins: I introduced Mark to the idea that every tiny victory is a step closer to his dream. Not every win has to be front-page news; sometimes, it’s the behind-the-scenes progress that counts.
  • Flexibility Is Key: Plans are great, but being too rigid can lead to frustration. We worked on building a mindset ready to adapt and pivot as needed. After all, the path to success is rarely a straight line.
  • Focus on the Learning: The goal isn’t just to achieve but to grow. We shifted the focus to what he could learn from each step, ensuring that no matter the outcome, Mark would come out richer in experience.

Working with Mark was a reminder of why I love coaching. It’s not just about guiding someone to their destination; it’s about the journey, the growth, and the occasional reality checks along the way. It’s a partnership where dreams are respected but tempered with a healthy dose of reality to make them achievable.

For any fellow coaches navigating the tightrope of managing unrealistic expectations, remember, our role isn’t to dampen spirits but to equip our clients with the tools, mindset, and resilience they need to turn their dreams into reality. It’s a delicate balance, sure, but it’s also what makes our work so incredibly rewarding.


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