The worst mistake you can make as a dentist–especially one who has just opened a practice–is believing that you can do it all by yourself.
Even people in high decision-making positions need the help of wise counsel. The President of the United States, for example, has advisors he turns to for advice before making the decision to place troops into harm’s way. A dentist is no exception. The decisions you make on a daily basis–whom to hire and whom to let go, how to advertise for patients, and how to run your business in a way that will generate profits–will affect how successful and profitable your practice will be in the long run.
Why is a Dental Coaching So Special?
Dental coaching not only guides business development but also gives perspective to a dentist. His goal is to find out what yours are, and then to help you achieve them. He may make suggestions based on what he sees, and give you an outsider’s opinion. His words of wisdom are based on conversations you and he have about what you hope to accomplish as a dentist, an entrepreneur, and an office manager, but also as a person. His job, then, will be to spot behaviors on the part of you and your staff that are standing in the way of success in these areas. His role is not dictatorial, however. As Dr. Don Deems points out, he is not the expert; you as the professional are, and he respects that fact.
If, for example, boosting profits is a goal that you have, and you clearly communicate this to him, your coach may suggest that you sit down with him so that the two of you working as a team may devise a list of steps you may take on your journey to become more profitable as a dentist. That list may include advertising techniques, such as how to optimize your presence on the Internet to boost sales; or, telling your audience the importance of seeing the dentist. In your advertisements, your coach may suggest that you tie dental health to overall health, and how a dentist is able to spot problems such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, which could be caught early with a thorough dental examination.
Your coach may also spotlight the importance of making sure your staff know effective ways of making a patient feel comfortable in your office. This will involve providing your staff with instruction on how to make a patient feel relaxed and comfortable going to the dentist, which is unpleasant in the eyes of many.
A coach for dentists is also valuable because he is not only interested in you as a dentist, but also as a person. According to Deems, the coach may seek to find out what is most important to you personally. If you indicate, for example, that you want to make your spouse feel more important by spending more time with her and not having to work so hard, he will encourage you to take steps to allow your business to run more efficiently so as to set you free to pursue your family-oriented goals.
Coaches help you stretch yourself. According to Dental Coach Marc Cooper, sometimes it takes the gentle nudging of a coach to help you see the need to confront that hygienist who is performing poorly, or repeatedly arriving late for work. He may help you see the need to do that–or possibly even let her go–because it is something that needs to be done to help you reach a business goal you told him you wanted to reach, such as having a committed, cohesive staff that is bound together by a common goal of wanting to see you– and the practice– prosper, who are bound by a common vision, because it helps you and them. From their perspective, more profits are more likely to mean larger paychecks, while for you it may mean increasing your salary so that you can give larger paychecks as well as offer you more time with your spouse and children, and allowing your practice to run itself.
The Conclusion of the Matter
A coach is an invaluable member of your team because he can observe interactions between your staff and your patients and offer perspective on what those interactions can mean for the future of your business. As an outsider, he may be able to suggest changes that might benefit your company that your lack of objectivity may cause you to overlook. However, if you want coaching it is your responsibility as the dentist–the CEO of your practice–to reach out and ask for it.