At speaking engagements and in my personal interactions, I often get the same question: “What’s the difference between dental consulting and coaching?” Many dentists and other business owners understand the value of a consultant. He or she understands finance and marketing in a way that a dentist simply doesn’t. Consultants often have a business background, and they can improve business systems, profitability, and output. When I tell curious dentists that a coach takes a more personal approach, addressing underlying issues to find the root causes of professional problems, I am often greeted with a blank stare. On the surface, the personal work of a dental coach may seem rather unscientific or non-businesslike. However, after taking a closer look and gaining a better understanding of what I do, dentists typically understand the tremendous value of coaching.
In Contrast to Dental Consulting, Coaching Addresses All Areas of Your Life.
9 out of 10 times, I find that when my clients come to me with concerns, there is a root cause behind all of them. For example, a dentist may mention that he or she feels completely overwhelmed, is losing patients, and struggles with an uncooperative team. In the course of our conversation, he or she may even mention a growing distance with his or her spouse. In this case, the dentist likely has problems with time management, which is affecting both the personal and professional sides of life. By addressing this underlying concern, the dentist will not only improve business. He or she will also enjoy more fulfilling personal relationships and a greater sense of balance.
Dental Coaching Makes You Take an Active Role.
With dental consulting, an expert will often come in, evaluate a practice, and tell the dentist what he or she needs to change. In contrast, a coach does not simply encourage his clients to be an active participant. The client actually guides the entire process. I begin my work by guiding a client through a complete self-evaluation. After all, a dentist knows his or her own strengths and weaknesses better than anyone. I ask my clients to evaluate every aspect of their lives, from office management and financial security to family relationships and personal satisfaction. Once a dentist knows the areas that need improvement, we will work together to develop a solid plan of action.
A Coach Often Has Personal Experience.
Dental consultants are typically just that – consultants. Trained in business only, consultants are great at what they do, but they really only understand the business side of things. On the other hand, many dental coaches (myself included) are also working dentists. We truly understand the day-to-day work of dentistry, and we know that the demands of this job are different from those of any other occupation. Armed with this knowledge, we can provide guidance that is truly tailored to your professional and personal needs.
A Coach Offers Personal and Moral Support.
As a coach, my job is not simply to tell you how to improve your practice. Just as a sports coach guides his team through the ups and downs of a season, I guide my clients through the difficulties and triumphs of their professional journeys. I strive to be an extra set of eyes and ears, to identify new challenges, and to assist my clients as they discover new ways to overcome these hurdles. Although dental consulting can certainly have enormous benefits for a practice, a collaborative and supportive approach will affect lasting change that transcends the practicalities of office affairs.