A title that sounds pretty self-serving don’t you think? It is and it isn’t. Over 34 years of practice I have spent a little over $100,000 per year to educate my staff and myself through consultants and classes. While some were great and others not so great, I would have to say that I got my money’s worth out of even the worst consultant I hired. You always learn something.
In today’s environment, where should you invest your hard earned dollars? You can go into the stock market and assume the risk and poor returns, go to the bank, or even dig a hole in which to bury your money. All of these fall far short of the annualized return you get from investing in your practice by hiring a consultant or coach.
I was thinking back on the obvious and not so obvious benefits I gleaned from partnering with my coaches. My first thoughts hinged around the increased productivity, lowered overhead, and decrease in stress through being more efficient and effective in my business. I think you would expect that and you should find that true, but there are a few areas that are kind of counter intuitive that you might miss. These are probably the essence of reproducible growth through knowledge and perfected systems that were created and continued to evolve throughout my career.
- Coaching creates order to the chaos of everyday practice and the change required to get to the next level. No one likes change and every staff member will give you push back when you try to implement the improvements that every practice needs to take you to that next level. A great coach should be able to help you see your areas of need along with a clear path to improve them. They should see the blockages that are holding you back and have multiple ways of breaking through to that next level. Knowing that no two practices are the same, you should see a customized plan to account for the idiosyncrasies of your practice.
- A coach should create a slight phantom pressure of accountability with you and your team. I hate to admit it, but most of us spend a majority of our time putting out fires at work and at home. While we try and create consensus in the actions we ask you to take, we know that nothing happens until the day before we come back next month. It’s kind of like being back at school, knowing that someone is looking over your shoulder. The neat thing here is that we are on your side. We are not going to be satisfied until you meet or exceed the goals we helped you develop.
- The speed of application goes ballistic. You may have a history of procrastination or just feel that it has always been difficult to get off the starting block. A good consultant makes this manageable. We understand that there is no learning without application. A great coach motivates you to commit to whatever it takes to make this happen, and holds your hand through the whole process.
- Paying for a service and the knowledge accompanying it in a coaching relationship automatically changes the priority setting on getting things done. Pay for something and you are ready to do your part to make it happen. Procrastination goes out the window, and for the first time in years you are focusing on making the hard decisions and following through to completion.
- 5. I would have to say that committing to the cost of both money and time for a coach to come to my office and train me and my staff forced me to live an intentional life that created pride in the fact that I was getting things done.
Consulting should be a great experience with a huge return on investment for you and your staff.
One word of caution: We are seeing consultants pop up everywhere. It’s almost like cosmetic dentists. I don’t believe that you can get the results you need over the phone. If the coaching company you are considering visits once and then has a monthly/weekly call and an occasional webinar, look somewhere else. Great coaching takes time, face-to-face training, and a history of integrity and results. If you are listening to some consultant/speaker who continually changes their strategies with little or no change in results, they’re just doing this to sell you something. If you have to pay up front for a year-long commitment, don’t do it. You deserve to pay a fair price for a great product and experience and still have the option of cancelling with your coach without a huge down side.
Take the time to consider investing in your future and partner with a great mentor and coach.
Michael Abernathy DDS