“I just haven’t thought about it that way before!”

dental coaching uk

“I just haven’t thought about it that way before!”

When do you know you have really made a difference? There are probably lots of ways to get feedback these days but as well as the established ‘digital’ methods of asking for reviews, I expect that you have also had those moments when you know you have really made a difference with a patient, and not just with the end result or clinical outcome but when you have made a difference in their thinking.

This might be the reluctant patient that has previously resisted seeing your hygienist, despite it making sense on a logical level (if I start seeing the hygienist regularly there will be less blood when I brush my teeth) or your patient that for no obvious external changes in their circumstances or behaviour, seems to suddenly get it, and they finally proceed with this or that treatment that you have been recommending. Previously these will be the patients that have shrugged off your best intentions with “I’m just not sure” or “I will have a think about it” and even though it always made sense to both parties on a logical and rational level, something has needed to change.

What has happened in these situations? Well, one possible conclusion is that there has been a change in their thinking. Recently this has been highlighted with such ideas as those explored in The Chimp Paradox or for a while by those with a good understanding of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and more recently Michael Neil and ‘Inside out thinking’…there are plenty more, Daniel Pink, Chip and Dan Heath et al. Furthermore, none of this is new. I’ve been looking back at many of the documented lectures of Milton Erickson and it’s largely all pointing to the same thing, whether you have thought about it in this way before or not, that when you guide somebody to a new way of thinking, largely by overcoming what was previously resisting their thought patterns, then you can make a real difference to the lives and well-being of others, and this includes those moments with patients.

I experienced this only yesterday with a new client. He had highlighted a number of blockages in his business that were holding back its development. The marketing wasn’t working, the team just didn’t seem to get it and so on. As tempting as it may always be to dive in and try and knock each of these individual problems from the coconut shy, this isn’t really going to make a lasting change and it’s never in a client’s long term best interest. Instead after some pretty intense conversations that allowed my client to look at the problems from various different angles, sure enough there was the inevitable “I just haven’t thought about it that way before” and then and only then could we really get to work on fixing the problems.

Over the summer, we’ve been hosting a number of ‘in-house’ workshops for clients, developing reception teams and their telephone skills and dental teams, with their uptake of treatment plans. I’ve learned to now look forward to the first coffee break. This is when I get the feedback that really matters, usually from the quietest or most reflective delegate and it’s always along the same lines, that “I just haven’t thought about it that way before”. A receptionist with 17 years at the same desk saying those words is powerful. A dentist that has struggled with talking about even the simplest set of treatment options. amalgam or white filling, suddenly waking up to a new way of thinking. This is what drives us at Rose & Co.

We are taking our workshops on the road this Autumn and if you want to understand if and how a new way of thinking can benefit you and your patients, then there is just about enough time to get booked in. We look forward to seeing you, particularly at the coffee break.


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