Conversational Recall

June 4, 2021 Sheri Kay RDH

Over the past few months, I’ve had a series of coaching sessions with frustrated dentists due to many of their exchanges with team members not being as effective as they had hoped. The dentists were confident they had been clear about their expectations, and yet there was still lagging or even absent implementation of the anticipated behavioral and system changes.

“Maybe this is not the right team member! How can they not just do what I ask them to do?”

Of course, I appreciate how disconcerting this can be, AND I want to challenge the notion that a single conversation can lead to effective change.

I imagine we can agree that most of your patients are in the midst of their own developmental process, as dental offices have quality systems in place to support this idea. A patient comes in for a hygiene appointment and they are routinely scheduled to return in 3 or 6 months to follow up, monitor for changes, and (hopefully) celebrate new levels of health. We are used to the idea of having a return date, better known as a “recall appointment.” More often than not this system works. Over time, as the recall appointments continue, trust levels increase along with deepening relationships and even case acceptance.

The question I pose is this: How can you as a leader apply this same principle to coaching your team members? I like to call this system a Conversational Recall.

What if at the end of a coaching conversation, even a short one, you create an opportunity to revisit with the team member to assess progress, problem solve any obstacles, and set a time for yet another Conversational Recall? My own experience tells me that sustained change typically occurs by implementing small changes over time. Staying connected with a team member by offering ongoing feedback and support may very well be the difference between you being frustrated by unmet expectations and your ability to celebrate high performance and heightened levels of engagement.

One aspect of leadership is setting each team member up for success. You can do this by investing time and energy, walking alongside them, and committing to following up as a pathway to letting each person know that you care. One of the greatest ways to inspire change is to demonstrate to your team members that you both value what they have to bring and that you believe in them…sometimes even more than they believe in themselves.

Another aspect of quality leadership may just lie in your ability to be congruent in all areas of your practice; do for your team what you do for your patients—if not more. Care for your team like you care for your patients—if not more. The rewards for everyone involved could be incredible!

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About Author

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Sheri Kay RDH

Sheri Kay started her career in dentistry as a dental assistant for an “under one roof” practice in 1980. The years quickly flew by as Sheri worked her way from one position to the next learning everything possible about the different opportunities and roles available in an office. As much as she loved dentistry … something was always missing. In 1994, after Sheri graduated from hygiene school, her entire world changed when she was introduced to the Pankey Philosophy of Care. What came next for Sheri was an intense desire to help other dental professionals learn how they could positively influence the health and profitability of their own practices. By 2012, Sheri was working full time as a Dental Practice Coach and has since worked with over 300 practices across the country. Owning SKY Dental Practice Dental Coaching is more of a lifestyle than a job, as Sheri thrives on the strong relationships that she develops with her clients. She enjoys speaking at state meetings, facilitating with Study Clubs and of course, coaching with her practices.

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