Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2016 04 Busy Stress 1

Signs you might need a coach in your dental practice

April 22, 2016
Is your dental practice reaching its full potential? Be honest in answering a few questions to determine whether you would benefit from a dental coach visiting and guiding your practice in the right direction.
As dental professionals, many of us tend to think in a very “linear” fashion. We aren’t particularly creative but we’re great learners, excellent at following instructions, and good at producing wonderful (if not perfect) results.

But when things don’t happen like we expect them to, we feel frustrated because we know something is wrong but we can’t understand why our formula is not working. Of course this is not always true, but often in the “business” part of our practice, we just can’t understand or come up with a solution for why we aren’t reaching our potential.

Let me share an example. In my first interview with Dr. B a few months ago, she said to me through tears, “I know I can do this! But after 30 years, I’m still struggling just to cover my overhead. I can’t even think about retirement for another 10 or 12 years.”

Dr. B is a wonderful, caring person. Her patients love her and are extremely loyal. She’s an outstanding educator to her patients—they understand their dental needs and accept her recommendations. She has a dedicated and hard-working team. But she had virtually no written or clearly understood business systems in place. Her team was without direction and purpose, which led to frustration. Scheduling was a mess. Collections were poor. Phone conversations with patients were haphazard and poorly understood. She had almost no online presence. I could go on.

We doctors have the intelligence and capacity to make things happen, but often we just don’t know what to do. Is that true for you?

Answer these questions and see how you rate. Be honest in your assessment.

Are you happy with your current financial situation?
Is your practice declining, growing, or has it “plateaued” (which is the same as declining)?
Are you happy with your team?
Is your team happy with you?
Are you seeing enough new patients each month? (How many are “enough?”)
Are you happy with the services you offer?
Is your office big enough?
Are you happy with the value of your practice as you reach the point of retiring or selling?
Do you have a written vision and mission statement? Does your team know it? If so, are they helping you fulfill it?
If you could change one thing about your practice, what would it be?
Are your existing patients staying in your practice?
If not, why not?
Do your patients gladly pay your fees?

If you answered negatively to any of these questions, or if you don’t know the answer, then you’re not doing all you can to grow your practice. You may be a wonderful person and an excellent clinician, but if you’re not creating a thriving business that brings you satisfaction after what you’ve invested, then you have room for improvement. Maybe a lot of room.

Very often, all it takes is a mentor to come into your practice, observe and analyze your business systems, and then train your team and coach you in implementing the needed improvements. I know because I was in the same boat many years ago.

When I sought help, my practice soared! You can do the same. We started working with Dr. B in January of this year. She has already started to see dramatic results in growth. There is more clarity and less confusion in her office. Less time is wasted and the schedule is under control. The team is becoming more focused and less frustrated. They have clarity and an understanding of the practice vision and goals.

Her production and collections have increased dramatically. All this has happened before she’s even started to do anything to market her practice. Just by working on the internal business systems to get them in place and enforced, she's already making great progress.

Maybe even more remarkably, Dr. B and her team are communicating with each other. Much of the confusion is gone and therefore, much of the frustration has vanished. It’s a happier place to work and the patients can see it.

Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Fred Joyal of 1-800-DENTIST taught us, “Everything is marketing.” How true! Just by working on the basic systems in this practice, we are seeing positive results to the bottom line.

When Dr. B adds efforts to attract new patients (the next step), watch out! Her goals may not be as hard to reach as she thought.

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Bobby Haney, DDS, recently retired from private dental practice in Waxahachie, Texas, after 32 years. He is the founder and leader of, president of 1Twenty2 Ministries, and he shares his coaching skills with his family at their home in Bristol, Teas. Visit, email [email protected], or call (469) 843-0119.