Because I am one of a handful of coaches who is also a working dentist, people often ask me what sparked my interest in coaching. The simple answer is that I know firsthand the difference that a dental coach can make in a dentist’s life. After working as a dentist for several years, I unexpectedly found myself in over my head. I knew I needed help, and I knew general consulting wasn’t cutting it. It was only after working with several consultants and developing a coaching technique of my own that I was able to find the inner peace and professional success that I wanted. At the time, dental coaching wasn’t considered a profession in and of itself. However, through my own work and that of my colleagues, over the last two decades, coaching has become fundamental to many practices all over the country.
Reaching My Breaking Point
I had been working as a dentist for about 7 years. Things were going great! I was happy, I had two young kids, and I was living out my dream. Then my world came crashing down around me. My business partner committed suicide. His death deprived me of a friend, and it left me $600,000 in debt to his estate. Suddenly, work was no longer a joy. It was a burden. I was a good dentist, but I wasn’t prepared to deal with the business side of things, particularly with a situation this dire. I was stressed, and I was angry. My personal relationships suffered because I was unable to control my inner turmoil. Even my joy in my kids was affected because I was terrified that I would no longer be able to provide for them.
Working with My Own Dental Coach
I turned to consulting, looking for quick answers. The consultants helped some, but nothing felt quite right. I learned some important leadership and communication skills. However, I really felt that my consultants were not tailoring their work to me and my practice. It was as if I was learning generic formulas that sometimes worked – and sometimes didn’t make a bit of difference.
Finally, my team and I decided to take action ourselves. We trusted each other, and we realized that we knew our own practice better than anyone else. Using our newfound communication skills, which I owed to consulting, we took an honest look at our practice. We outlined the things that needed to change, and we made a definite plan to meet our new goals. Suddenly, we found that we had achieved the success we had been working so long to obtain. We took greater responsibility, and we learned to really listen to our patients. I personally developed leadership skills and connected with my team members on a new and deeper level. Through it all, I was reading up on business coaching, and my interest was growing rapidly.
My Work as a Dental Coach
After helping several other dentists find the same fulfillment I had found, I knew that coaching is my passion. Today, I am both pleased and humbled that I can help other dentists across the country in the same way. I work with my clients the way that I worked with myself and my team. I help them identify areas where improvement is needed, and I teach communication and leadership skills. Above all, I help my clients feel that they have their heads above water so that they can reclaim inner peace and their love for what they do.