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a blog by Chris Barrow

Making things simpler and making clients responsible

Tuesday was a call-in day for clients – 15-minute laser coaching sessions by telephone. They are always a rich source of wisdom, emanating from the “good conversations” (see yesterday’s blog) that take place. A favourite yesterday was with a coach client who is developing a new programme for clients in the healthcare sector and was concerned that potential clients would find her material “too simplistic”. I reminded her of my own experience in coaching dentists for the last 8 years – that they are looking for: 1. less things “to do” and not more things “to do” and 2. simpler things “to do” and not more complex things “to do” Maybe that’s what coaches do for their clients – create environments in which there is less to do and it all seems simpler? On another note – I was reminded last night of the fact that the client is responsible for getting the outcome they desire from our coaching – its not my responsibility – I just create the environment. Example – we ran our 6th bridge call last night for the “Get your practice finances in gear” programme – a 6-week mini-coaching course for dentists on financial control. Here’s the rub – 17 dental practice owners have paid £500 for the programme, to receive 6 e-lessons, a whole batch of Excel templates and 6 one-hour bridge calls with my good self (the greatest dental business coach on our street) and Tim Thackrah – a £2m dentist and one of my most successful clients – CB & TT live and uncut for 6 hours – compelling – especially if you have paid in advance. What happened? Well for the last 6 weeks we have averaged about 6 of the 17 on each call and last night we chatted with three dentists, one of whom joined us from a darts match as his local rugby club. By the way, I admire the latter individual for making the effort, even though the noise from his mobile phone was a problem in the rugby club, the men’s room, the car park and every other place he tried to hide. As for the 14 who didn’t make the call – well I suppose they can listen to the recording later – but I long ago detached myself from this situation and do not worry about their non-attendance. What I have learned is that clients take what they want most from our programmes and often leave the rest “on the plate” even though I get all excited about how good “the rest” may be. I have also learned that what they want most may be different from what I imagined – and that’s OK.

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