In dental school you probably had one classmate who seemed determined to find the worst in everything. He may have complained that the professors didn’t know what they were talking about, that the work wasn’t challenging enough, or that it was too challenging. In short, he claimed to be getting nothing out of dental school. Although he may have stuck it out and graduated, he probably didn’t get as much out of dental school as you did. That’s because you get as much out of your education as you put into it.
The same could be said for your work with a professional dental coach. Though the coach is certainly there to help you, his primary goal is to teach you how to identify goals and improve your professional and personal life. Therefore, coaching takes dedication and perseverance on your part. When you know how to approach your work with a dental coach, you will simply get more out of it.
1. Make the Time
You’re extremely busy. It may be one reason that you are seeking coaching: you feel overworked, and your passion for dentistry has begun to wane. However, if you want to derive any benefit from coaching, it is vital that you take time away from the day-to-day business of your practice. Trust the work. A coach won’t let your practice go under while you go on a voyage of self-discovery. In fact, time management and delegation may be the first two areas that you tackle.
2. Hold Yourself Accountable
Perhaps you are seeking coaching because you are having trouble with your team members or your patients. As you dive into coaching, be prepared to acknowledge your own faults and weaknesses. You may be losing clients because you are not sticking to a tight schedule. Maybe your hygienist is floundering because you do not communicate with her properly. Taking responsibility for your faults can be challenging. However, it is only when you can do so that you and your practice will grow and improve.
3. Get Your Team in on the Action
Even though you will need to acknowledge your own failings, it does not mean that your team has no room for improvement. Although your first sessions with a coach will likely be one-on-one, share what you are learning with your employees. Schedule regular meetings to discuss the operations of your practice and find ways for improvement. Encourage mutual communication and collaboration. After you have had several meetings with your coach, he may conduct sessions with your team, as well.
4. Keep an Open Mind
My guess is that your stubborn dental school classmate was not open to new ideas or suggestions. It is one of the main reasons that dentists (or any one) plateau in their professional lives. The primary goals of dental coaching are to improve your practice and help you to find greater work-life balance. Often, this will take radical and lasting changes. Be open to new methods and new ways of thinking. When you embrace your coach’s methods, you may be surprised at how much your practice improves.
5. Be Honest with Yourself
In order to benefit from dental coaching, you will need to identify your goals and dreams. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers. Be upfront about what really makes you tick. There’s no point in improving pediatric services if you really love cosmetic care. It is ok that your goals include a new house and a trip to Europe. This is your life and your practice. A coach is there to help you live your life to the fullest and take true ownership of your business.