Reluctant to Hire a Coach? You're Not Alone.
The McKenzie Management Team Retreat was held last week. Our national consultants met here in San Diego for a rich program of training and rejuvenation. When I spoke with the group, I learned that many of our Practice Enrichment Program ™ (PEP) clients are not using the coaching time that is included in their contract. And there was a common theme from our consultants’ observations as one poignantly stated, “He admitted to me that he is just "chicken" to talk to you... fearful of what you may say or what your conversations may uncover”.
I suspect that some of our dental clients are struggling with a very human issue- fear of change, fear of being vulnerable, fear of not being perfect. Unfortunately nothing sabotages success as much as fear.
In her book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers describes the limitations that people impose on themselves when they cave into their fears. People who never take any risks ironically live with a dread of something going wrong. They seek security above all else, but the effect is chronic insecurity. It is actually easier, and infinitely more rewarding, to try new things. The decision to incorporate more challenge into your life brings a feeling of security because you know you can tackle anything.
Unless we face our fears, we can’t grow. Without growth, life is stagnant.
One of the biggest obstacles to growth is perfectionism, a common trait of dentists as well as other professionals. For many high achievers, the message came in childhood when well-intentioned parents tried to instill motivation yet delivered fear. I remember being a seventh grade student and being introduced to biology. Although I was blessed with a good brain, I hated dissecting bugs, worms and frogs. I ended up with a ‘C’ in Science on a report card filled with ‘A’s’.
Pleased with my overall accomplishments, I proudly awaited some form of praise from my parents. However, the first comment I heard was, “What’s this ‘C’ doing here?” I was crushed, ‘they didn’t even notice the good stuff I did’. And in a small and probably unconscious way, I learned the benefits of being perfect – no one can criticize you.
Like some of our PEP clients, many who are reading this also tend to judge themselves too harshly. The perception is that others will criticize them and find fault too. However, as a ‘recovering perfectionist’ and coach, my job is to offer a safe, non-judgmental place for change to happen, to help identify strengths and talents, and then to leverage those to overcome obstacles for greater success. Coaching is designed to enable people to be ‘good enough’ rather than perfect. Imagine what it would be like to have someone who accepts you as you are, and also helps you to see the part of you that maybe you've forgotten; someone who will stand with you and hold your vision so you can move towards your highest potential.
Coaching is an opportunity. The process entails setting goals for more effective action, and it provides the support needed to make incremental but important behavioral changes. Coaching is akin to having a ‘professional fitness trainer’…someone who works with you on your agenda. A good coach is someone who inspires you by pointing out what you did well, someone who encourages by aligning with your values and needs. A good coach is someone on your side.
Along with fear, another significant obstacle to coaching involves financial concerns. A study reported in the January 2001 issue of Business Wire followed 100 executives, half holding positions of Vice President or higher, almost half between the ages of 40 – 49, and one-third earning $200,000 or more per year. The results of their 6 – 12 month showed an average return on investment of 5.7 times the initial investment in a typical coaching assignment or a return of more than $100,000, according to executives who estimated the monetary value of the results achieved through coaching.
I hope that what I’ve written will help our current and future PEP clients, as well as others who are reading this. Face your fear, and do it anyway. Coaching will give you confidence AND financial rewards too.
Dr. Haller is available for dental leadership coaching and development. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if you would benefit from one of our leadership programs.
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