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  03.10.05 Issue #157

Should You Invest in Executive Coaching?

Dr. Nancy Haller
Executive Coach
The McKenzie Company

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I am interested in knowing more about coaching. How are coach's fees determined, and what are they per hour? Also, how is success measured and what are the time parameters....specifically when does a coaching relationship end?

Sincerely, JC, DDS

Coaching is much more quantifiable than counseling or therapy. Coaching is oriented to bottom-line results, to increased revenue. That’s easier to measure than whether someone is happier or feeling better work-life satisfaction.

A report on coaching was published recently in Fortune Magazine. Executive and upper level managers who had six to twelve months of coaching were polled. They were asked to give a conservative estimate of the monetary payoff from the coaching they received. The survey demonstrated that the recipients valued the executive coaching at six times the cost paid. Not a bad return on investment (ROI) at all! Sixty percent of the executives in the study were 40-49 years of age. Half the group held positions of vice president or higher. A third earned more than $200,000 per year.

Although this particular study did not include dentists, I think it is safe to make the extrapolation. Most people still think leaders are born not made. This cannot be further from the truth. Most people have the potential to become good leaders. But learning to lead is not like a diet pill. Like most learned skills, it takes time, training and practice.

How does coaching lead to so much value?

  1. A client and his/her coach forge a partnership. This starts with a discussion. Like any relationship, it begins with simple conversation. The coach takes the time to get to know you and to find out more about your interests and concerns. How long have you been in dentistry? Tell me about your practice. What do you enjoy the most about your work…what frustrates you the most?
  2. Although coaching is oriented to achieving business results, the process does not happen in a vacuum. Coaching is built on a relationship and it is sustained on the foundation of that connection. It is important for the coach to get a sense of you as a whole person as well as a dentist. What were those ‘shaping’ experiences that formed the person you are today? Where were you born and raised? Who did you look up to as a child/teen/young adult? Tell me about your greatest accomplishment.
  3. Coaching is built on partnering and fueled by listening. It enables you to chart a course with a clear vision for your team to follow. The process begins with the most important and immediate needs. If you had a ‘magic wand’ how would you use it? What would you change?
  4. One of the key aspects of coaching is to identify your strengths and weaknesses equally so you understand how to operate positively and negatively. In turn, you can leverage your strengths to grow skills and manage weaknesses in strategic career areas. Between coaching sessions, there are assignments. These are mutually agreed upon goals with specific action steps. Meet with front office person to review scheduling procedures. Observe how you treat your staff and how they respond to you.
  5. Coaching provides the structure to help you to motivate staff to excel. The emphasis is placed on learning about the strengths and contributions of everyone who works for you and with you. This includes patients. Converting diagnosis into treatment is crucial. What do each of your employees do well? If I were a new patient, what would I experience during my initial visit? How effective are you at selling services?
  6. Coaching helps you to be resilient, tenacious and to stay accountable. The coach provides support and encouragement because it’s hard to change habits. Dentists also tend to be high achievers who don’t recognize the benefits of small successes. Congratulations on taking the first step! This was hard for you. What will you need to do to continue the momentum?
  7. Coaching generally ends when goals are achieved. The time frame varies but four to six months is a good estimate. In general this involves one-two hours per month. Fees vary but generally are around $200.00 per hour. If you apply the Fortune Magazine survey, the return is $1200.00 per hour spent in coaching!

Although there are people who seem to lead easily and flawlessly, much of what goes into being an effective leader is learned behavior. But for every natural, there are just as many top-notch leaders who got that way by developing their skills. They understand that we all have innate traits that make us good leaders. Coaching can help you to hone your traits to their utmost.

For more information on Executive coaching, e-mail

The McKenzie Company Upcoming Events
Date Location Sponsor Speaker
Mar. 14 Santa Rosa, CA Redwood Empire Dental Society Sally McKenzie
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Apr. 9 Portland, OR Oregon Dental Association Sally McKenzie & Exhibit
Apr. 14 Destin, FL Excellent in Dentistry Sally McKenzie & Exhibit

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