You already know that by definition dentistry is a branch of medicine that involves the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the oral cavity. In a layman’s definition, it is the part of healthcare that deals with the care of the teeth. Which, by its nature, creates a massive opportunity as a profession and it also means there must be dental practices to create access to dentistry. 

If you own a dental practice you have chosen to be in business. That’s not in the definition of dentistry. Dental schools’ curricula are built on the definition of dentistry, not on what it is not. Are you seeing where this is going? Business is not part of the definition of dentistry, schools teach according to the definition, therefore they do not teach how to run a business. This is why there are dental consultants and dental coaches, which unfortunately are often misconstrued and misunderstood.

What is a Dental Consultant?

Dental consultants are professionals providing advice about marketing, office management like scheduling and treatment presenting, human resources, equipment purchases, and supply procurement, as well as training dentists and their staff to improve their dental practice. A dental consultant is an individual who provides advice and direction to dentists and their office on how to improve their services and increase efficiency. Consultants work from defined, prescribed, or pre-formulated solutions that are applied to all offices.

On the other hand, dental coaching is the professional practice whereby experience and knowledge are put in play to help a dentist identify and achieve their personal set of goals. It involves coordinating every part of the dental office, in a customized fashion, to work together for the attainment of the goals; it facilitates success and gives desired results…on the dentist’s terms, not the coach’s. Along the way, a coach may need to consult, but only because that’s what’s needed at the moment. 

Although dental consulting and coaching could both be results-focused, one is “more comprehensive” while the other could be termed “narrow”. Dental consulting is more of “go-and-do-this-if-you-want-that” while dental coaching goes deeper. It strategizes on how to keep the doctor and team focused on their vision and procures solutions to whatever situations that might arise during the journey. 

What is a Dental Coach?

A dental coach helps a dentist-owner build their leadership skills that are necessary to get the expected growth and results they say they want. The coach will focus on the culture of the office, its structure, and systems, and the strategies to get it to where the owner wants to go. While a dental consultant skips the culture and strategies, focusing mainly on the systems of the practice. A dental coach aligns the motivation of everyone in the practice to boost productivity so that changes in systems will stick and individual’s efforts go beyond their perceived limitations.  Whereas a consultant works by giving directions and instructions without adding the “special sauce” that helps everyone go to the next level.

It is safe to say that a dental consultant focuses more on the business part of practice while a dental coach is all-encompassing. A dental consultant is usually hired for specificity while a dental coach is on board to look at all the angles of the business and the lives of those who own it,  to ensure that every decision improves the practice and moves the dentist closer to their vision.

In a nutshell, there is a clear difference in the responsibilities and roles of dental consultants and coaches. A coach works on a one-to-one, tailored, basis to support a dentist to achieve her or his result or outcome. A coach empowers the dentist and their staff to solve problems or change things for the better. A consultant on the other hand is problem-focused,  they identify and try to fix problems. A dental consultant will bring technical expertise only, but if behavior change is needed (which is always) a consultant does not get involved in it. A coach maximizes your commitment to implement agreed-upon solutions. 

Both are helpful assets to a practice. This is why a coach will sometimes switch to consultant mode when needed, then go back, and can do so because she or he knows the business of dentistry and human behavior. A consultant is a one-trick pony, and that’s ok, just know that the results will be limited, narrower, and not about the bigger picture. 

If you are looking to change your practice and your life, let’s schedule a quick call and discuss where you want to go and how I can get you where you deserve to be! 

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