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Practice Management and Coaching

21 min read

Kathleen O’Donnell and Kimberly Brozovich

Some of the most rewarding coaching experiences have occured for the two authors during their years as practice management consultants and business coaches for dentists. These are small businessmen and businesswomen who have no golden parachutes, no employment contracts protecting them, no administrative executive team on whom to blame business failures. As people in the United States are inclined to say, the “buck” truly does stop here.

In settings, you work directly with the CEO of these entrepreneurial businesses. You often see immediate implementation and an impact throughout the organization – no bureaucratic mazes to wander through, no complex office politics to muddy the waters. And yet, there are diverse, interesting issues about which you coach your professional colleague. At times you may be a performance coach, at other times a life coach helping a dentist decide if she should change careers. At other times you do classic executive coaching, working with a person wrestling with strategic decisions for his dental practice that does $2 million USD annually. For us, it has been working with the best of both worlds …. that of a small entrepreneur and a corporate CEO.

A Blend of Coaching with Consulting

Coaching dentists typically seems to be most successful when there is a strong base of sound business practices operating in their organizations. When they have experienced profitable months, lower turnover, increased new business, or lowered stress, they have increased interest in classic coaching activities. One is reminded of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Until business survival and safety are taken care of, businessmen and businesswomen have a difficult time dealing with social and self-actualization issues. Practice management consulting gives us skills and tools to address basic business issues and gives us a common language to cut through procrastination and ignite change.

Many times a dentist will approach us for practice management consulting asking us to ‘change’ their team.  Typical issues that the dentist asks us to address are:  poor team interrelations, inferior verbal skills, team members not meeting the dentist’s expectations, etc.  When we begin peeling the layers and really assess the situation, many times we find it is less about people issues then about the systems not working well and a lack of Leadership.  However, peeling the layers to find out the true nature of the situation is delicate.  It is important to do this while not compromising the trust and relationship with the dentist. We can appreciate the frustrations and concerns a dentist has trying to manage a business, given that the two of us and our husbands own several small businesses, We can help.

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