What is coaching?

Editor's note: The Coaches Corner column appears regularly on the DrBicuspid.com advice and opinion page, Second Opinion.

Everybody knows what a coach is to an athlete, so why is it so difficult to understand what a coach is to a dentist? In both cases the objective is to improve performance, but how that is best achieved is what's in question.

Perhaps it was Timothy Gallwey's book, The Inner Game of Tennis, that first drew attention to the fact that the essence of coaching is unlocking people's potential to maximize their performance.

People are like acorns, each of us containing all that we need to be a magnificent oak. All we need is the right kind of nourishment, sunlight, and encouragement to reach towards the sky. And like the oak, the secret to its success is a thin, "like the skin on a tooth," single tap root that wants to reach down deep into the earth for water. Before the tree emerges, it has its foundation set.

Like the oak, a small amount of time invested in coaching will give the dentist the proper foundation to develop faster and stronger.

Wise business leaders use coaching to work with their experience and perceptions.

It is not about their training or their experience with a subject at hand that makes a coach a great coach, like it would for a consultant, mentor, counselor, or expert; it is about being a coach -- the very specific act of being able to see and believe in human potential.

Coaches think about their dental clients in terms of their potential, not their performance. What percentage of the staff's potential manifests itself in the workplace? Answer: the average is 40%. This means that coaching can help you discover the other 60% of potential performance that you are not having access to. Why don't you have access to it? The universal internal roadblocks are unfailingly the same: fear of failure and lack of self-confidence.

Coaching is a way of managing, a way of treating people, a way of thinking, a way of being -- that makes all the difference!

There are only a handful of peer-reviewed dentist coaches out there; you are lucky to have access to them through the Dental Coaches Association. Good luck and happy new year!

Dan Kingsbury, D.D.S., life and dental coach, is a co-founder of the Dental Coaches Association, an organization of dentists who are professional coaches committed to bringing coaching to the dental profession. Learn more by visiting DentalCoachesAssociation.org.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2009 DrBicuspid.com

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