Why You Need a Coach (Even If You Don't Think You Do)

September 12, 2016
Stan Michalski III, DDS

Many people are averse to the idea of hiring a coach to help their practice run more efficiently. A dentist and dental coach explains why that aversion is counterproductive.

Have you ever taken a golf lesson? If so, you have a golf coach. Tennis lesson? Tennis coach. Have you ever used a home decor tip from HGTV? Yes? Then you have a home decor coach. I will assume you have an accountant that “coaches” you on ways to minimize taxes, file reports, complete payroll, and count your money. I will also wager you have a financial coach who is advising you on how to invest and grow your money. So why are you reluctant to hire a coach to help you MAKE money?

I can do it all by myself!

Maybe

you

can, but even the most successful people in our society have coaches and advisors. The President of the United States has national security advisors, economic advisors, military advisors, and on and on. Cam Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, makes more than $20 MILLION A YEAR. If somebody makes more than $20 MILLION A YEAR, you can safely assume he knows what he is doing. Yet Newton is surrounded by a head coach, an assistant head coach, an offensive coordinator, a quarterbacks coach, a trainer, a strength and conditioning coach, and on and on. I didn’t mention that there is also a team owner, directors of sales and marketing, stadium operations, ticket sales, human resources, etc. As dentists and business owners, we try to wear many different hats and be competent in each area of running a business. Are you competent in each area? Do you have the time to devote to each area? Are you making $20 MILLION a year? If you answered "no" to any of these questions, I am going to suggest you cannot do it all by yourself.

I will lose two days of production and my staff won’t listen anyway.

A person who would say this needs coaching most of all! The staff

won’t

listen if their leader isn’t committed to the project. Negative thinking from the top down will doom any effort even before it starts. Far too many dentists will trip over a dollar to save a penny. Basically, they are cheap! I can say that because I am a dentist. We fear losing the two days production but fail to see, and therefore reap, the rewards that await.

I am a failure if I have to ask for help.

See point No. 1. The smartest, most successful people have asked for, received, and acted upon “help” to achieve great success. So should you. We were taught few if any skills that are necessary to proficiently run a business, let alone a dental practice. The conferring of a degree and granting of a dental license recognize a satisfactory level of dental competency--not an expert level. You can practice dentistry by being just one point above the failing mark and even THAT takes four year of “coaching.” There is no shame in being

smart enough

to ask for help.

Do random thoughts about your practice ever pop into your head? David Allen, the author of “Getting Things Done,” says that random thoughts about situations or circumstance only happen when you are unsatisfied. If your car is clean you don’t think about getting it washed. Your car is already the way you want it to be. It is only when it is dirty, NOT the way you want it to be, that thoughts of a car wash pop into your brain.

If your mind is constantly being invaded with random thoughts about your practice, that means your practice isn’t performing or functioning at a self-imposed satisfactory level. Most dentists try to think of something else and just hope it gets better. This is a perfect mirror to Einstein’s

famous quote “Insanity. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different results.”

Does this ring true with you? If so, hire a coach. I find that the vast majority of dentists know exactly what the problem is and have a fairly clear and lucid solution in mind. They just haven't implemented it. They are fearful of backlash from the staff, non approval from patients, or are just simply afraid of change. A coach can validate your thoughts and shine light on the issues, then give you permission to correct them in a timely fashion. A wise man once said, “What should be done eventually must be done immediately.”

If your practice is on your mind, do something about it. Hire a coach to help you get it done immediately.

Stan Michalski III, DDS, is a dental coach, author, and speaker based in Charlotte, NC. He is also a member of the Dentist's Money Digest Advisory Board.