Chapter 22: Consultants, Coaches and Mentors
Consultants come in many different flavors. The Consultant Journal, a publication written with the future consultant in mind, separates consultants into four broad categories, each of which can be subdivided further.
- Personal consultants (for weight loss, fitness, etc.)
- Business consultants (for marketing, sales, human resources, etc.)
- Technical consultants (for your computer system, website design, content writing, etc.)
- Executive consultants (lawyers, conflict resolution consultants, etc.)
You may also choose to hire a success coach to help you tap into your inner resources for realizing your dreams. And, having a mentor who has already been in the dental industry for several years can help you foresee and avoid problems the mentor has already dealt with in his or her own dental career. You will want to take some time to decide what type of consultant you need for any project you are planning and hire a consultant with a proven track record.
Consultants Are Not Employees
The heading of this paragraph may sound obvious, but it is an important point to note. Because consultants are not your employees, you have a freer, more level relationship with them. You can talk to them in a more open way and use them only when you need them. You should expect them to treat you respectfully, and it will be to your advantage to offer them the same professional courtesy.
Use the Consultant’s Time Wisely
Depending on the type of consultant you work with, their fees can be quite high. So, it is important to use your time with them as effectively as possible. Before any meeting with a consultant, ask them what you will need to bring with you or have ready for them when they arrive. Examples of things you might need for consultant appointments include:
- financial records
- list of your business goals
- scope of project you want them to help you with
- list of specific problems to be solved
Don’t Assume Any Consultant Will Work with Anyone But You
You not only need to include the scope of the project in your contract with the consultant, but you also need to specify who they will work with on it. If you have more than one consultant at one time, agree ahead of time and introduce them if you want them to work together on a project.
Be Prepared to Live with the Report or Hire Another Consultant
You might not like the results of a consultant’s report to you. They may emphasize problems you don’t want to deal with or put things in a different order than you want for your own purposes. If so, you will have to hire another consultant to get a different result.
Consultants Are Helpful, But Not Miracale Workers
Expect to get value from the money you spend hiring a consultant. Just don’t expect them to transform your failing business into an overnight success.
Honor the Consultant’s Work Product
If a business consultant prepares a report for you, it is for your business, not someone else’s. While you might want to be the hero and share what you have learned from your consultant’s hard work, you are essentially stealing from them if you share that report with another business.
Hire a Success Coach to Help You Identify and Overcome Motivational Problems
Not everyone needs a success coach. If you are unclear about your goals or lack motivation to do the work you need to do to succeed, then it can help you to hire a success coach.
Mentors Can Be Invaluable
There is nothing quite like getting advice from someone who has been where you are now. You may know a more experienced dentist, either from dental school or someone you meet at a dentist’s networking group, who can serve as a mentor to you. Choose a mentor who has no stake in what you buy for your practice or the decisions you make. A mentor can be more impartial than many other people you work with as a dentist. Share your concerns with the mentor whenever you need that experienced perspective.