Coaching Playbook: Excuses

Eric Vickery, President of Coaching, is interviewed by host Alex Nottingham, JD, MBA on Dental All-Stars to discuss the excuses some dentists make for not investing in training and improving their dental practices. They emphasize the importance of investing in the team at their current level and training them to the highest potential. They highlight the need for continuous growth and dispelling the notion of maintaining status quo, explaining that without growth, practices are actually losing money. This episode concludes by urging dentists to recognize their limitations, seek coaching and support, and overcome perfectionism and fear to drive progress in their practices.


About Eric Vickery

Eric holds a degree in business administration and brings a strong business and systems approach to his consulting. His initiation into the field of dentistry was in the area of office management. He managed dental practices for over ten years and has been consulting over 250 offices nationwide since 2001.

About Alex Nottingham JD MBA

Alex is the CEO and Founder of All-Star Dental Academy®. He is a former Tony Robbins top coach and consultant, having worked with companies upwards of $100 million. His passion is to help others create personal wealth and make a positive impact on the people around them. Alex received his Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida International University.

Episode Transcript

Transcript performed by A.I. Please excuse the typos.


This is Dental All-Stars, where we bring you the best in dentistry on marketing, management and training. Here’s your host, Alex Nottingham.


Welcome to Dental All-Stars. As part of our coaching playbook series, we have our president of coaching, Eric Vickery, with me. Welcome, Eric. Good to have you. Hey, Alex. Thanks for having me. I am frustrated, Eric. I’m frustrated. Tell me all your frustrations, Alex. Yes, we’re gonna do a therapy session for our listeners. This is what it’s gonna be about, because I figured we’re getting a podcast and I’m just frustrated.


Look, let me give you some backstory, how All-Star works here. We have dental practices that sign up. Okay, Heather speaks with them because I don’t have patience for BS. And so Heather is very patient, she’ll work with them. There’s all these excuses of why I can’t train, what have you, so I’m not the right person for that. I remember when I was speaking at the AACD and we had sellout crowd, it was wonderful.


And at the end of the presentation, we had a bunch of dentists came up and said, I’d like to sign up for your program. I see it will be helpful. We have one dentist that said, listen, I’ve been following you for many years. I loved your presentation right on the spot. I’m going to sign up one day and walked away one day, one day. And everybody looked at him like, what was, so then what happens is if time is allowed and I have the


space on my schedule, I like to meet with our clients that sign up. And we talk about ways to improve their business. And some of them would like help with coaching. They ask for coaching and we talk about it. And some will do some coaching. And then when they start coaching, either they start coaching or they don’t do coaching, one of the situations, somewhere in that transition stage, there’s all these excuses why I can’t do this. I can’t do that.


I don’t write team. There’s always something in their way. That’s the one. I don’t have the right team yet. That’s a big one. It’s just frustrating because I see that, look, you have all this money you can make on the table. You can benefit from it and you’re keep creating excuses. So what’s going on? Help talk me off a ledge here, Eric, because it’s very frustrating for me.


being a very deep personality. I don’t have to. I get it. I get it. Let’s jump in. So most dentists, let’s say C personality types, conscientious, very analytical and honestly, overthinkers. And we hear this a lot where they’ll say, I don’t have the right team yet, but someday I’m going to get training them. That’s like saying, I don’t want to buy stock on Amazon at $5 a share. I want to buy it when it’s really expensive. You have to invest in your


to the highest level of which there’s a person on your team ready to be trained. What I mean by that is, you know, let’s say I need 16 members for my team and five of them are phenomenal, but I’m holding back on them because this one person isn’t the right fit. I’m not gonna train five. I’m not gonna pour into five of them because one is the problem. No, you always train to the highest level that your team can withstand. And those that can get there with you will get there. And those that cannot, they will eject. And that’s okay.


Always be hiring. Robin knows this. Always be training. If you’re not growing, you are declining. If you’re not growing, you’re on the descent. There is no, hey, we’re just gonna hang here at this level for a while. Things are always getting more expensive. So if your revenue, your collections, your production has maintained, you’re like, yay, I maintained. I didn’t lose any money. No, you’re actually losing money because things are more expensive than they were last year. Your team wants a raise this year because of the expenses in their life.


So you’ve got to figure out how to grow your practice at a significant rate. That requires pouring into them so that you get outcome. That’s a part of leadership. And so for doctors who are like, I need this to be right or I need that to be right, I hear that all the time. And the honest truth, just the hard truth is, you have to get out of your own way. You have to get out of your overthinking. You have to move that out of the way. You have to say, either I have the ability to train my team,


or I need somebody with the ability to train my team. It’s perfectionism. And perfectionism again, these are high C, doctors, DCs or CDs or what have you. And perfectionism is a defense mechanism. We say, oh, I’m a perfectionist. That’s a bad thing because perfectionism can stop progress. It’s important to do things well and have a quality attitude.


But perfectionism is a way not to get started, not to take a risk. There’s fear. It’s all about fear and getting outside of your comfort zone for whatever that might be. And I remember, I love this quote, don’t step over dollars to get pennies. And it’s keeping perspective. It’s recognizing. And I’m not immune to this. I have my perfectionism. I have my areas that I stop and start.


but I recognize it and that’s where coaching is so important. And I, and I, I seek coaching and right now you’re coaching me. It’s like, please help me because I don’t get it. And well, I do get it, but I get frustrated. That’s my D. And it’s this idea of, look, I recognize that’s a limitation. I recognize that I will fall into those States. And that’s where I have coaching. I have therapeutic coaching that I get. I also have business coaching.


And that helps me as CEO as well, right? I get coaching as well to help me say, okay, I recognize I have certain tendencies. I recognize I’m falling into this. This is not reality. Here’s reality. Here’s what the KPI say about my business and where I need to make those investments to grow. What I have to do to improve. Does that make sense? Like we have to recognize we’re limited and get the support to do it. It’s an ego trip.


It is an ego trip. When you say, I know I can’t grow my business because I don’t have the right people, I can’t do this, it’s perfectionism and it’s a big ego trip. Like, what do you know? I’ll tell you the practices that are really successful, they’re humble. They say, I don’t know. I don’t know. And they’re still crushing it. They’re doing great, many of them. But they still say, I can utilize support and help. What can go wrong with this?


So I’ll give you an example. I might have a $2 million practice that says to me, Eric, and this goes to case acceptance perhaps too, it says to me, well, I have to see if my accountant I can afford a few hundred dollars a month for coaching. You know, so what’s going on, help? Yeah, you’re just generating so much thought in me. And first of all, I love that you talked about coaching. High performance coaching is something I love to do with my clients. And


I liken it to the C personality type, analysis paralysis is what you’re talking about. There’s no such thing as perfect. The C’s biggest fear is criticism for making the wrong choice. Oh, by the way, C, we’re talking about the disc profile. Yeah, disc personality profile. Okay, C. This is the analytical, introverted, task-oriented person who’s a thinker, left brain scientist. Albert Einstein would be the imagery.


This person is thinking so much about the perfect decision that they never make a decision. When in fact, it’s about making decisions every day towards growth, knowing that I can go back to the way it was before. Change is not permanent. That’s the opposite of the definition. So high performance coaching is about movement. It’s about generating movement. Therapeutic coaching is about dealing with the past that you can actually implement coaching.


you know, I need to work through some things so that I get better and trusting and, and breaking those barriers that are holding you back from implementing these coaching hacks. And it’s also about identifying your blind spots. So when someone says, Yeah, I can’t afford coaching, or I need to check in on the budget, two things could be happening. One, they don’t really believe that it’s something that they need, or that’s important for their practice lack of urgency in that think about a patient who says I need to go home and talk to my wife about.


you know, this crown and the fee and everything. That’s somebody who probably doesn’t have buy-in to the fact that there could be potential problems in their practice that they’re completely unaware of. KPI coaching comes into play. The second thing is they don’t understand their money. They don’t understand that investing a few hundred dollars a month turns into thousands of dollars a month. So ROI, you know, getting more out of what you put into it.


There’s nothing our coaches love more than to report. We celebrate with each coach. I meet with them every month. They talk about their clients with me. There’s nothing these coaches love more at All-Star than telling me about a success story where they implemented a system, a verbal skill, a challenge to the team, and then the result showed up on the other end. And when that team sees the results, now they’re going to be inspired, not motivated. They’re gonna be inspired to continue to do that same system and verbal skill. That’s what we love.


Well, I think what triggers me, Eric, is for those that may not know, my father is a dentist retired. I helped build his practice up. We took it from 1 million to 2.4 within 18 months. Uh, I had the luxury of yelling at him and pushing him and because he couldn’t really fire me, I guess he could, but, uh, I could do that. And it was just frustrating because he does embody it’s amazing. Many dentists, and I made this very naive assumption that


many dentists are like my father and they are. They sweet people, just hard to get out of their way, their own way and their lack of business acumen. And so with him, I could yell at him and I can push him to do it and it worked. Maybe I could do it now, maybe a little more gentle, but I can’t do that with someone I don’t know. Now, what does surprise me, Eric, is there are some dentists out there that we work with. They do coaching, they do mastermind, and it’s amazing is,


They don’t even, you mentioned this is an area to improve. They go, let’s do it. It is remarkable. They are just designed to succeed and they’re not frivolous. They are really, they have, it’s really a delight to see. I admire them because sometimes I’m a little tight with the purse and it’s like, but they know what they’re looking to do and I really appreciate that. There’s a difference and we can admire those personalities in dentistry.


They have the natural leadership component. And again, my mentor Tony Robbins would always tell us, model the best. What are they doing? These dentists are crushing it. And we meet every month, Eric, with the mastermind and you see the mentality. I just wish that dentists, that the other dentists, I can bring them up to be like that. And maybe, again, this is therapy for me, everybody. Maybe I just gotta be patient and it happens.


But for those that are listening as well, we can apply this conversation to patients. They may not get it, and that’s okay. I mean, there are ways we’re building rapport, and they’ll eventually get to that point, but sometimes they just don’t get it. I don’t know, help me out here, Eric, where I’m at. So a couple thoughts that I have that I’m typing while you’re talking, right? Tony Robbins saying, my mentor, Walter Haley, said don’t invent your own mediocrity, copy genius.


you can see what’s working for other people. And so what coaches do really well is the numbers don’t lie. My friends who are out of the business of what I do ask me, they say, how do you tell someone their problems? I have them still want you to tell them what to do or coach you. And the numbers don’t lie. Let me just show you the numbers. And then once you understand the numbers, then I’m going to provide you with some solutions on how you can turn the dials. For example, when we do our.


two-day seminar, we’re doing gross summits, we’re doing our master class level one, there’s gonna be dentists in the room that some of them are producing 300 an hour, so they’re getting their patients healthy at 300 an hour. Okay, it’s just a metric, not about money. Some dentists are in there getting patients healthy at $800 an hour or more. Now, both have the same number of patients, both have the same skill set, right, clinically, they’re both highly trained.


Why is one doing getting a patient healthier faster than the other? And this has you realize this, one of my favorite sayings I use is, you’re only as good as you can communicate. So your clinical skill can be up here. You can have a ton of patients in your practice, but if your communication skills are five and they’re a 10, they’re gonna see you as a five and therefore they move forward out of five. So when you change that verbal skill and how you communicate to the patient, you change the results of them getting healthier and your practice getting healthier. So,


Your frustration is the dentist’s lack of understanding their potential. If they can understand their potential of what is capable, they’ll be more likely to listen to you solving your frustration, Alex. But I think too many dentists don’t know the numbers of what’s potential. What should their income be? What should their production and collections be? What should they be paying their employees? Is open time costly and what, at what rate? And how do you fix those things? That awareness.


allows us to be offensive in coaching and say, hey, this is not going well, but here’s a great solution. Would you like to do this? What I realize? Yeah, totally. And what I realized in this, as I think about this is case acceptance in a sense. I mean, people, they have to get to a certain level of where they require treatment, whether it be coaching or dental care, and we can’t force an issue and we’re never going to manipulate.


They gotta be ripe when they’re ripe. It’s like fruit. And I sometimes joke and well, what I, look, I’m frustrated, but I get over it. I’m more frustrated because I see my father in them and I want them to be, to help them. So my heart goes out to them. It breaks my heart that they’re missing out because I see the others and they just don’t get it. And I know how difficult personal development is. I’m working on myself every day. It’s a lot of work. I may be more difficult than others, but still.


It takes a lot of work. And so, but they have a timeframe. And I always kind of joke, but it’s true. They may need more suffering. They may have to fail more to finally see. And that’s up to them. And that’s why it’s so important at All-Star and also for all of you listening, to continue to educate, okay, your patients, to make sure that they are, they’re always, you’re available, they’re there, there’s something they can interact with. So maybe someone, for example, listening to podcasts is enough for them.


to grow. And then another is a webinar. Then maybe it’s the online training, maybe it’s coaching. So they have to go kind of in their time zone of personal development. Of course, I’d like to accelerate people faster, but they have to be ready. If they’re not ready, so if you go after a patient, you say, you have to do this, you know, I see it. They’re gonna go, whoa. They have to be ready for it. I mean, the goal is to get them to where they have to be. But look, this podcast and this conversation,


is to shake people up a little bit. I think it’s important that sometimes this is a very easy way. You’re listening to us. We don’t we’re not talking to you directly, so it’s not threatening. But you can also I think many listening can can feel what we’re going through. And whether it be coaching, whether it be patients, whether it be anyone where you see that we can help and and that frustration where they’re not taking it. What’s the old adage? You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Yeah. So.


It comes from a good place. I love to help people, uh, but they have to get, that’s where the personal development, that’s where the mindset is. So important if you don’t see it, what is it? Your mind will achieve whatever, well, your body will achieve what your mind can conceive. You have to see it in your mind essentially. Yeah. I think the, the challenge that I get frustrated with and sharing in some frustrations is


And I’ll say this to clients I work with, I’ll say the clients who need my help the most will never seek out that help. They’re struggling so much in different ways. They don’t even know it. They don’t know how to get out of that. And if they could just tap into some opportunity with another set of eyes, with some coaching, with some sense of authority and experience in some areas that they don’t have training in, it’d be great. The clients we typically work with, like you mentioned, are already doing really well, and they’re just trying to get 5% better. They’re wanting to grow 1% every single day.


How are you growing right now? If you’re not growing, you’re declining. What could we give our listeners, dentists that are listening, what are some action steps that we can give them in terms of, look, they might be the dentist listening that is doing it all right. They’re coaching, they’re going to events, they’re training, others are hesitant or scared, or they have an excuse, we can call it, or some roadblock. What can we offer them?


What are some action steps that they can take or consider from this podcast? So a couple of things. One is you don’t know what you don’t know. So do you have blinders on either yourself as a leader or understanding your numbers fully? So if you don’t know your collection percentage, your open time cancellation rate cost of that, your peri-ail percentage, your case acceptance rate, we talked about that, your new patient call conversion rate, if you don’t know some of these things,


there’s blinders in the way. And you can bury your head in the sand, that’s fine. But if you really wanna grow, you really wanna practice that someday at the end, you have to sell at the end, right? You gotta create value in. Somebody’s buying your goodwill that you create. They’re buying your practice. So not to mention, your team’s gonna wanna work for the best. And if you don’t have team members who wanna work for the best, I’ll let you figure that part out.


they’re probably not in the right seat. If that’s what you want and that’s not what they want, it’s about getting the right people in place. But most people just need an ignition switch hit in them to get fired up and say, now this is a place I would enjoy coming to work. Ask your team when your alarm goes off Monday morning, are you excited to come into work? If not, what do we have to do to create that fire? Because that’s what I’m about. I wanna know what is it


that gets you fired up to come in today. When that alarm goes off, do you go, oh crap, or do you go, oh yeah? And that’s the part of high performance coaching that plays a role in every human being. So know what that is as a leader. I love it. The ignition switch. Maybe I’ll title it the ignition switch because I got ignited today. But I love what you’re saying is ultimately, think about what ignites you.


What gets you going? What helps you go towards your comfort zone? What helps you face those fears? Everybody has something that ignites them. Others are more easily ignited, like myself. Some take a whole can of kerosene. Everybody’s different of what they require to be ignited. So I love that. Eric Vickery, our president of coaching, that’s gonna ignite us here. Thank you for being.


on the podcast. Thank you for coaching me. Thank you for calming me the therapeutic and business coach and I got today you saw a coaching session in action. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me Alex. Appreciate it. And if you liked our coaching and me being coached, go ahead and follow us on Apple podcast and Spotify. Give us great reviews and comment and show some love for the page and this way we can continue to create some great content for you and


all of dentistry and until next time go out there and be an all star.


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