Overwhelmed? Frustrated? I can help. (250) 248-1926

What keeps you up at night? Being a boss? Running your practice? I help dentists find relaxed confidence as business owners and bosses. Discover how to navigate the dental practice jungle and be COMFORTABLE, CONFIDENT AND CAPABLE. If you want to love coming to work, let’s talk. 

Unique Coaching Just for Dentists

Tap into my 30 years in the dentistry ‘trenches’ 

Finally a coach who really understands your challenges!

Are you a dentist who is a reluctant entrepreneur? What would change for you if you knew how to make your practice better, healthier and easier to run? I make it easy to gain confidence in your role as leader and business owner and eliminate that Sunday night dread you feel about going to work on Monday!

Practice management consultants tell dentists & their teams what to do. I show you how and help you work out solutions that are right for YOU. I’ve been doing it for 30 years.  My expertise is teaching hands-on, grass-roots fundamentals  that lay the foundation on which you can build a happy, healthy practice. My coaching experience and training enable me to be a collaborator and support system for you.  I help you to see how and then I provide an on-going resource for you to continue learning. You CAN love coming to work!

COACHING

Be Challenged. Be Confident. Coaching for professionals and entrepreneurs is an idea whose time has come. You have the answers, you have the ideas, you know where you want to go. Sometimes it just takes a little help from a trained coach to sort out your thoughts, reign in your worries, and lay out your path ahead. I am a Certified Executive Coach with an PCC designation from the International Coach Federation. I am also a Certified Team Performance Coach, which means you have a resource to cultivate your team into one that can work with you (not against you) to build and nurture your practice. I have worked with dentists for 30 years in a variety of capacities and know the profession, its challenges and idiosycracies! I guarantee confidentiality and I guarantee the prospect of confidence in all you do. Being coached isn’t always easy, but it works! See the Coaching page of this website for more details.

TEAM COACHING

What if you had a resource at your finger tips to help you build, grow and nurture your practice? You do! It’s your team. Sadly, most dentists say that their teams and ‘managing staff’ are the bane of their existence. This can be true when a team is not a team – when it’s not cultivated to energize a practice; when the team leader is not demonstrating leadership; when a team does not operate as a high performing team; and when team toxins and communication cancers get in the way of how a team operates. You CAN cultivate a team through coaching using assessment tools that enable a team to look at itself as a living entity (rather than as a group of individuals) and a coach that guides you and your team  into new possibilities. Step one is finding out how you see your team – call me today for your no-charge Team Leader View – an online questionnaire that takes about 25 minutes to complete!

 

 

 

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Screw the goals! Set intentions!

Do you feel you should set goals every year? When you do, how often do you actually achieve those goals? If your “goals” are about production numbers, what do you base your aspirations on? What I usually hear from my clients is that they want to produce a certain % more than the year before. If so, have you given thought to how you are going to achieve this?

In actual fact, production “goals” are nothing but targets. And very often, these targets are set without a plan for how to get there. This is the number one reason that we fail meet our goals.

What if, instead of goals or targets, you set intentions? The difference is that an intention is a commitment; a promise to yourself. An intention can be to change something, do something differently, be better at something, finish something, accomplish something, work at something, set a new routine, add something to your routine, stop doing something, do less or more of something.

Are you hearing the difference? When we set an intention and make a commitment to it, we are far more likely to achieve what we set out to do that striving for some arbitrary bar.  And once you have stated your intentions, your coach will be your committed accountability partner that will help keep you on track!

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Listen! Everyone has a story!

Everyone has a story. When was the last time you paid attention….really paid attention…to the people around you, and wondered what their stories are? I think we have all had the experience of being rushed, preoccupied, lost in our own thoughts and worlds as we push through the busy-ness of our day? How many people come into our view or contact and how often do we take the time to listen and hear their stories? The dental practice is what I call a “whitewater” environment where everything is happening in double time and there is always a lot going on. We say our priority is optimal care and patient experience, but do they necessarily mean the same thing?

My brother told me yesterday that last week that he went to get his haircut. He went to a drop in salon so he didn’t know the woman who cut his hair. As many hairdressers do, the woman kept a stream of conversation going as she clipped. Only this time, it was very one-sided and quite negative. She complained about her son, moaned about how her husband never helped around the house, groaned and whinged about her dog and then filled him in on the unfairness of her job and how she disliked her boss. My brother sat and listened to this, thankful that a hair cut only took 20 minutes. He remained silent and left as soon as he could. This story would be bad enough of its own accord. This is the kicker….my brother had just lost his wife and the love of his life that week to cancer. This was one of the few things he had done for himself in 2 months, after caring for his wife so that she could die at home.

People, I implore you. Shut up and listen. Stop and listen. We all have a story. We may not tell it, but we still have it. Try something a little different….look at each patient in the chair, every person you meet, as though they are a book with a story inside. Share yours if asked and if you think that people want to hear it. Mostly, be curious about their story. Ask questions and be interested and then LISTEN. Sometimes being silently mindful is the best way to make a connection with the people who cross your path. When care excellence is paired with listening, patients will feel heard and acknowledged and that goes a long way toward a good patient experience.

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Failure to Launch?

How often does something happen in your practice that frosts your socks and leaves you feeling angry and frustrated, and you carry it around with you the rest of the day, maybe even into the evening? When these incidents involve staff, what do you do about them? Most of what I see and hear from many of my clients is a pattern of RE-action + NO-action. Do you fall into that trap? For example, let’s say an employee does something that really makes you mad. Do you engage in huffing and puffing, complaining, griping, commiserating, dumping, railing against the unfairness, drawer slamming or worse?  Then what? Continue reading

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Tinker Dabble Doodle Try

Unlock the power of the unfocussed mind.  That is the subtitle of Dr. Srini Pillay’s book, Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try. And it is what attracted me right away to buy the book.  Have you ever experienced difficulty staying focused? Or have you ever been so focused on something that time passes and you suddenly realize that you have been focused on one thing for hours? I seem to experience both frequently; the latter often when I am at the computer.

Our culture is very pro-focus. We learn it in school (I can still hear my Grade 5 teacher rapping her ruler on the desk and saying “Focus, students, focus!!”). Our jobs demand it. Whether you are a dentist in the middle of a big case, or the CDA assisting, staying tuned in to the task at hand is mandatory and necessary. One of the parts of working at the front desk that I found so annoying and difficult is the constant pull away from focus by phones ringing. Even our leisure time is often centred on being focussed, keeping our ‘heads in the game’.

Dr. Pillay’s thesis is that we are too focussed! As a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and brain researcher, his credentials lend credibility to his hypothesis that our brains are not hard wired to stay focussed for long periods of time on one thing. He claims that when we switch off the focus and allow our thoughts to wander and imagine, we not only release our creativity and enable it to flourish;  we can return to focus refreshed and with greater ability to focus! Wow!  As I delve deeper into his book, the ideas that he advocates are resonating with me. By training myself to be able to switch easily from focus to unfocus and back again, I am nourishing both and will be better at both! I love that.

I will likely write again about Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try. For now……I am enjoying the journey.

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Are you too nice?

When communicating with your employees, when is it OK to be blunt and assertive, even though your words might hurt?

Usually, our communication takes this tack when we have either left a communication too long, or we have been too soft, too kind, too gentle in past communications. How can we avoid “fierce” conversations? By communicating early and clearly! Continue reading

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I Hate Being a Boss! Help!

“Being a boss is the part I hate most about my job as a dentist and practice owner!” I wish I had a dollar for every time, as a coach, I have heard that lament from my coachees! You would prefer to be chairside, right? You are most comfortable when you are being a dentist, with a patient in the chair, performing dentistry…am I right?

 Would it surprize you to know that many of the skills you use every day when you are with a patient, are the same skills you need to be a boss?

Oral Health Journal (February 2017), has printed a comprehensive 6 page article, written by Diva Priya Appulkuttan on scientific strategies to relax anxious patients. What jumped out of the article for me is on Page 18 – “Communication Skills, Rapport and Trust Building”. Listen to what the points the article makes in this sub-heading, then re-read it inserting “Employee” in place of “Patient”. I have highlighted here the most relevant parts of each point (paraphrased) and added a few  thoughts in brackets:

  • A good patient-dentist relationship is crucial for the management of anxiety.
  • Communication strategies are very important for the patient-dentist relationship.
  • There should always be two-way communication.
  • The dentist should personally converse with the patient, and listen carefully in a calm, composed and non-judgemental way.
  • Information should be acquired from the patient regarding concerns, taking time to inquire and listen.
  • Patients should be encouraged to ask questions (and contribute input).
  • Patients should be kept completely informed about what (needs to be) done.
  • Keep inquiring, give moral support and reassurance to convince patients that their words are taken seriously.  
  • Dentists should give all the necessary complete information, which builds good rapport and increases the patient’s confidence.
  • Patients appreciate clear, honest and straightforward (feedback).
  • Avoid negative phrasing.
  • Nonverbal communications are an essential skill.
  • Face the patient, make eye contact (let them know they are seen, heard and understood).
  • A friendly, sensitive and (empathetic) approach will be appreciated by patients.

Do you see where I am going with this? If you use only half the skills that you muster up to make patients feel at ease; seen, heard and understood, valued, appreciated and not a number, you will be half way there to increasing your “boss-ability”. Adopt the same tone, mindset and attitude that you use with patients. You’ve already got it mate….now use it!

 

 

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Dentist or Entrepreneur?

Some years ago, I read an article by Dr. Bruce Glazer in Oral Health magazine titled “Are Entrepreneurism and Dentistry Mutually Exclusive?” Dr. Glazer thought so and I was so incensed by his argument that I emailed him. A very lively and intelligent exchange of emails ensued….. Continue reading

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The Ice Castle

The Ice Castle

I attended a party a few weeks ago in the home of a co-member of a volunteer club to which I belong. I have known our host (I will call her Gina, not her real name) for many years and always found this person to be articulate, capable and dedicated. She is committed to our cause and is always willing to jump in and help. Does she overuse her strengths sometimes and tend to ‘rule the roost’? Yes, however I know her heart is in the right place. This was my first visit to her home.

I always love visiting other people’s homes, because how they live and what they surround themselves with in their homes says so much about who they are. Sometimes I am completely thrown off guard. This event was one of those times.

Gina’s home was lovely – in a magazine sense. It was a picture perfect home, decorated elegantly with statuary, artwork and furniture. It was decked out for Christmas like the front cover of House Beautiful with silver or white Christmas trees in every room, decorated with coordinating baubles. The mantle was draped in green and tinsel garlands, sculptured angels and silver candles. She had floodlights casting dancing ferry lights on the ceilings and baskets of greenery strategically placed by the door. Each room was softly lit with blue light coming from beneath the sofas and chairs. It was magical, elegant, near perfect and…….cold.

Why cold? Well, firstly, the tile floors were freezing. Mostly, there was something missing. Continue reading

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BOSS HACK! Acknowledge vs. Appreciate

BOSS HACK: Acknowledgement vs. Appreciation

Hey, both are good. But there is a difference! Appreciation is saying “Thanks for a good day” as one of your staff members heads for the door. Acknowledgement is saying, “You handled disgruntled Ms. Jones beautifully today. That wasn’t easy – you have a special way with people and great patience. Thank you!” Do you hear the difference? Appreciation stops at thank you, you did a good job. Acknowledgement taps into something special, specific, skillful and what it took to do it.  Did it take sacrifice? Did it take courage? Did it take patience? Did it take willpower, enthusiasm, etc. We all like to be appreciated, however when we are acknowledged, it literally lights up our brains, leaves us feeling open, bonded, trusting and engaged. As a boss, isn’t that who you want on your bus?

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If It’s Not Working, Change It!

I had one those really uplifting coaching conversations yesterday with a client who has been practising for over 25 years. I spend a great deal of time with dentists in their first ten years of practice and so I often find that the life lessons and stories that more experienced dentists have to share is both inspiring and energizing.

Many of the challenges stay the same….it’s the perspective that changes! Yesterday’s conversation was about the transition from expecting perfection from staff for so many years, to a more relaxed, less stressful approach. He understands today that his frustration when staff did not meet his expectations was a self perpetuating, downward spiral, particularly since he admitted that his expectations were not only NOT communicated, but that they changed from day to day! It would have been impossible for anyone to meet them!

His approach now is very different and I think there is a lesson for us all in this. He now listens more to his staff and their concerns, appreciates them more, acknowledges them, and views them not as necessary evils, but rather as human beings who care about his practice and patients and the profession. He claims that it’s just age that has mellowed his outlook. I believe that he made a conscious life choice to change direction because he became aware that his approach was not working for him, for his practice, for his staff, and for his own stress level.

This is a wake up call for us all. Don’t wait for 30 years to change what is not working. Whether it’s on your own or with a coach, give yourself permission to be introspective, step outside yourself and ask poignant questions, such as “Is this working?”, “What is this costing me?”, “How can I change this?”.

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