Every Olympic Athlete Needs A Coach

September 8, 2014

Why it’s important to use a coach.
A coach will give a doctor perspective regarding the practice’s operation. The value of knowing how your practice is performing compared with real benchmarks is priceless.

What are the areas that we need to pay attention to and how do we address those areas? A consultant will help you discover and achieve realistic goals for both the practice and staff. A well-functioning and highly-productive team always wants to know “how are we doing?”

In today’s complex and highly complicated marketplace, sound management is crucial to achieving success. The insurance companies and PPOs are meddling with treatment, and in order to effectively change this, sound leadership skills are invaluable. In today’s marketplace, practicing dentistry has become an expensive world to inhabit. The doctor must worry about generating a profit, creating a steady flow of new patients, retaining staff members, and keeping up-to-date with technology and transmittable disease issues – all of which require a rather large investment.

Rising expenses and decreasing revenues, in addition to reduction of reimbursement on
procedures by PPOs and insurance companies, have also contributed to an increase in operating expenses followed by an increase in stress.

Why hire a coach?
No great athlete who performs at a high level and achieves great success consistently does so without the assistance of a coach, and neither should the 21st century dental practice! The coach’s job is to step back, assess the unique talents and skills of the practice, and implement those talents and skills to best to reach defined goals. Poor management habits must be identified and eliminated early if the practice is to perform at its highest level.

The ability for team members to “buy in” and “get on board” early can save time, money and energy, consequently causing much less stress for the practice.

A coach is specialist, much like a periodontist or endodontist. Using a specialist is a smart choice if you need expertise and don’t want to invest the time to develop that expertise yourself.

What qualities should I seek in a coach? What should I avoid? How do I locate one?
Start by knowing yourself. Ask yourself a series of questions: What am I looking for? What goals have I yet to achieve in my practice? What are my 90-day goals versus my one-year goals? How does my practice compare with other practices in collections, production, and over-head? Do I want to increase profits, share the workload, or take more time off? Most importantly, what is the morale of my staff?

Take some time to seriously reflect on these questions and talk to your colleagues about how they are dealing with these questions.

Interview different coaches.
Inquire about their strengths in the areas where you need expertise. Ask about what they do and how they deliver their finished product.

Not all coaches work alike. A good coach will work with their clients over a long period of time to ensure that ideas are executed correctly in order to achieve the stated goals.

Don’t be afraid to ask for references. What type of coach is s/he? Does the coach focus on past performance or is s/he able to create a future of CHOICE? Does the coach use the practice’s historical data to get the necessary results.

Choose a coach who is willing to come to your office and get to know your staff by first name; one who intentionally listens to your concerns.

Don’t overlook the consultant’s philosophy; what is their “world view?” Are numbers or building personal relationships most important? Does the staff like this person?

These are just a few of the things that will determine how effective the coach will work in your office. In today’s practice, the ability to manage people is second to none; being efficient is a distant second.

Why not just do it on my own?
The wise doctor knows his/her own strengths and weak-nesses and should stick with what s/he is good at. Wisdom is figuring out what you don’t do well and getting someone on your side who will make you look good.

What can I expect to pay?
This is a difficult question to answer. What do you say when a patient calls and asks for a crown fee? There are obviously many types of crowns, and without an exam and consult, you may be giving an estimate that is way out of line for that patient. Similarly, the fees paid to a coach should be based on a specific proposal outlining what is to be done and how much time will be invested to reach the doctors goals.