Written by Don Deems, DDS Sunday, 30 November 2003 19:00
At the age of 44, John would be considered by most people to be successful: a happy marriage, 3 children, a beautiful home, a lakeside getaway, community involvement, and a very lucrative dental practice. He’s worked hard to have it all. He has a life most would envy. So, what’s the problem?
|Table. Coaching Resources|
(1) About coaching or finding a coach: the Internet
Additional coach search engines include the following:
You can also find out more information about coaching at these same sites. The ICF also lists the 17 accredited coach training programs, many—but not all—of which are in the United States.
(2) About coaching: books
IS COACHING THE RESOURCE FOR YOU?
Coaching is a new resource available to dentists who want to have an edge. Whether you want to attract more patients, learn to say no to your limited time schedule, clear the clutter out of your life, reconnect with what’s most important to you, find meaning in your work, or more balance in your life, a coach can help you do it.
WHAT ROLE DOES COACHING HAVE IN DENTISTRY?
Most often, coaching is compared to older models of personal and professional development such as mentoring and consulting, but coaching is really something unlike either of these. Unlike mentoring, the coach has no personal agenda for the client. The coach’s basic objective is to assist the client in designing a life that is consistent with the client’s values, goals, and dreams. Unlike consulting, the coach is not the “expert” who tells the client what to do. Coaching views the client as the expert in determining what is most important to the client, then supports the client in staying true to what he or she really wants. In short, coaches assist clients in finding their personal truth, then living it.
MEET BOB, A SUCCESSFUL DENTAL CONSULTANT
Coaching is very effective with dental staff members, office administrators, dental hygienists, and dental consultants. Another real life example is about Bob, 46, a dental consultant who has been traveling all over the country for the past 15 years speaking at dental conferences and maintaining a busy dental consulting practice. Bob is frustrated and burned out. He feels he’s not nearly as effective as he could be, and he knows that the dentists he works with could achieve so much more than what they’re doing now. He’s very knowledgeable about the dental profession and well respected in the dental community, but he just can’t seem to make any lasting changes in the practices he works with. What Bob wants is to quit having to be “the answer man” and instead develop collaborative partnerships with his clients whereby they solve their own problems without having to pick up the phone to call him. He’s looking to assist them in a process that results in them becoming excellent long-term producers and performers who can solve their own problems with their own skills and knowledge. In essence, these clients will create a tremendous shift in their practices, which Bob will soon discover creates amazing shifts and benefits in his personal life, too.
SO, TELL ME MORE ABOUT COACHING…
Coaching is not a “one-size- fits-all” proposition. Coaches come from every type of professional background, including business, sales, medicine, law, psychology, human resources… and even dentistry. Most coaches participate in some type of training program. These programs vary and not all are accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF, see Table), which also enforces the standards for the practice of coaching.
WORKING WITH YOUR OWN COACH
Dentists typically find themselves consumed with running their practice and dealing with the unlimited demands that seem to surface daily. Working with a coach, dentists welcome the opportunity to work on their business instead of inside it. They have the opportunity to reflect on what they’re doing, to identify their interests and values, and to have a silent, objective partner—essentially like having their own private board of directors. Because most dentists have a solo practice, they’re constantly second-guessing what they’re doing, trying to identify market trends, trying to keep up with changing technology and knowledge, hiring, firing, managing—you name it. Add a little government or other third-party intervention, and it’s overwhelming to most of them. Attending practice management programs, workshops, and seminars helps, but the underlying message they are often left with is, Do it like me. Most dentists struggle for years trying to emulate other dentists, almost always without success.
Is coaching right for you? Behind successful people are many people who assisted them in achieving their goals, whether it’s Tiger Woods, Kristi Yamaguchi, Ken Blanchard, or any host of others… people who recognized the value of coaching.
Dr. Deems is a Little Rock, Ark-based full-time practicing dentist and a professionally trained coach who specializes in coaching dentists, dental consultants, and other dental professionals. He is a fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, a diplomate of the Pierre Fauchard Academy and the American Academy of Pain Management, and holds memberships in many organizations. He is a 1987 honor graduate of Baylor College of Dentistry and received his professional coach training from Coach U. He recently received the 2003 Arkansas Psychologically Healthy Workplace award. He is the first dentist to be honored with such an award. For more information about coaching, call (866) 663-9903 or visit drdondeems.com.
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