Coaching – Why, When & How

Coaching – Why, When & How

Remember when your children were learning to ski? If you mentioned the word “ski school”, your kids would freak out. If you said, “You have a coach for the day”, they saw a fun day ahead!

Continuing education in orthodontics is no different! Throughout our orthodontic programs, we had dedicated faculty members, both full-time and part-time, to help shape our knowledge base. And we rode this out for years. However, for a number of different reasons, there’s a time in one’s career when the need for retooling or coaching becomes apparent. This realization may come from looking at your own practice outcomes with a critical eye. As examples, it may be a professional friend who diplomatically points out a consistent shortcoming in your cases. It may be realizing your expected results are inconsistent or not what you anticipated. You may notice extended treatment times. Through a more experienced or detailed lens, you may see outcomes like open-bite relapses during follow-up care or short lower jaws that did not respond favorably to your mechanics. These outcomes may not happen often, but when they do it eats at all of us! It does not make for a clean practice or, in some cases, creates an unhappy patient.

The growth of an orthodontic practice has three stages:

  1. The growing stage: Your practice begins slowly, and as your reputation develops, your practice begins to develop exponentially.
  2. The thriving stage occurs next as your practice is busier than you can handle, and you now have “growing pains”.
  3. The maintenance stage is defined in many ways, but essentially you have a little debt, children are out of college, and your practice continues to thrive. At this stage, you have many options. One may be to master your craft. These three growth stages require different levels of information or education.

Advanced orthodontic learning can be divided into four areas:

  1. Fine-tuning your diagnosis and developing clearer and measurable treatment goals for the occlusion, facial symmetry and smile aesthetics, airway patency, periodontal, and TMJ health.
  2. Mastering mechanics for both mixed and permanent dentition and managing time efficiently, including your time, patient treatment time, and staff time.
  3. Treating rewarding and complex interdisciplinary cases with specialists who share the same treatment goals.
  4. Understanding the 4 P’s of practice development – People, Place, Promotion, and Product.

When is a good time to consider “upping” your game and making it more fulfilling? Further analyzing outcomes? No better time than now!

Advanced learning is more available and more easily accessible than ever. Technology has made this possible. Let’s use it. During this terrible COVID-19 pandemic, we can go from “onsite” learning to “interactive virtual learning” and continue to educate, inspire, and thrive. It’s better than ever. Consider programs that are able to specialize in your individual orthodontic practice needs.

Let’s make use of this “no travel time” for virtual learning platforms to share information throughout the world! Cyberlearning will be our sole source of education until the vaccine for COVID-19 is developed. We can then return to some form of normalcy and traditional “onsite” and hands-on learning. I firmly believe that both can be done to benefit the doctors and, more importantly, our patients.

So, just as your kids said, “No ski school!” let’s think of this next learning phase as “coaching” and have fun interacting during this new normal.

Source: orthodontic Practice US, Volume 11 Number 5 

Publication: Orthodontic Practice US