Pennsylvania chiropractor asks – are you coachable?

by Sharon Gorman, D.C.

A couple of months ago my husband showed up to lunch one day with a surprise gift. He bought me a motor scooter. My husband has had a motorcycle for years and I was one of the few wives that I know who actually enjoyed riding on the back. All of that changed a few months ago. The bike is as big as a motorcycle and requires a motorcycle license to operate so last month I went and took a test and got my permit. Then I signed up for the 15 hour course offered by the state and at the completion of the course I took the test and got my license. I want to share with you a valuable lesson that I learned in the course.

The instructor had many different lessons that were designed to teach us different skills. He would explain the course and then we would take turns driving the course and he and the other coach would stand at the end of the course and explain to us what we could have done better. Sometimes we would drive the same course a dozen times and each time the coach would have something to say. Initially I would feel myself becoming defensive. Sometimes I would feel humble and teachable when I didn’t feel like I “got it” yet. Sometimes I felt myself judging the coach’s coaching. No matter what I felt, it was their job to continue coaching. They had nothing going on about it. It was their job. They were being paid to coach and they coached. They coached and we learned.

All of a sudden my mind flashed over to my life in Chiropractic and my practice. Imagine if I could have someone in my practice who would be able to guide me at every turn. Even though it sounds good the very thought of it ticks me off. Well I am in practice 22 years and I have done this and that and etc. Boy am I arrogant. Who would I allow to coach me? Who’s opinion would I trust enough to listen to? I don’t know the answer to those questions but I do know that most of the time in the past when my practice has grown by leaps and bounds it usually occurred after consulting a mentor. In order to allow this input in, I need to be coachable.

Those gentleman on the motorcycle course coaching me taught me one other lesson about myself. When I coach the team of people who work with me (my associates and CAs) I often feel like I am imposing my will on them by requesting them to do things that I want done. I don’t want them to feel like children who are being told to do their work without giving them any room for creativity or their own personal style. I wouldn’t want to stifle that creativity or style yet certain things have to be done the way that I say they should be done. I know that they want to do the best job they possibly can and as the boss who signs the checks then I am the boss and the coach. It is my job to bring the best out of them. It is my stuff that holds me back from coaching them. My fear of their rejection. My fear of them not liking me. If I give in to that fear then they will not be able to benefit from my experience and my ability to coach. Those coach’s on the riding course weren’t afraid to coach, they were getting paid to do it. They were just doing their job. Those of you that run chiropractic practices (or any business), it is your job too.

Now let’s take the lesson one step further, to the patients. They are in a fine jam when they first come in to your office. Most of the time their bodies have broken down to the point that they have a symptom. People with symptoms are often very coachable. In those first few visits what are we coaching them about chiropractic? What lessons will they take away about their lives and their health? Sometimes it seems easier to give them what they think they want. Adjust them until their symptoms subside and let them loose. It reminds me of that old saying I tell my patients when they return after a period of absence with the same symptom they originally came to the office with. I tell them that “I might be white and flaky, but I am not an aspirin.” There is not much transformation involved in simply treating their symptoms. There is not much coaching involved in doing that. Seems like it might be easier for us yet it is not. In the long run you will develop a practice of people who think that chiropractic is a cure for pain and use it only for that. Doing that would be very sad because they would never be able to experience the true miracle of chiropractic. That is not the kind of chiropractic that I would want for my own family or yours either. Sure not everyone is going to be ready to be coached to a new way of life yet it is our job to keep making the case for it.

Now have you noticed how I went from talking about being coached myself to talking about coaching my associates and staff to talking about coaching my patients? It is easier to look at coaching other people than being coached myself. That is a common defense mechanism. Now with the amount of success that I have achieved I could go on perfectly well without looking for a new mentor. I could have learned to ride that motor scooter without the help of those coaches. Probably would have taken me much longer and I might have accumulated a few more cuts and bruises along the way. The lesson that I really learned is that I want to have mentors and coaches and a support system so that I can move ahead with my progress and be more willing and able to serve more people and help to change the world.

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Focus Philosophy Night
John Hofmann — Paula Hedgelon
September 9, 2006- 7:00pm
Howard Johnson Hotel — Route 611 Bartonsville, PA (exit 302 off I-80)
(570) 424-6100 for Reservations (ask for Focus Rate)
Contact Sharon Gorman at (570) 350-4091 for more info.

planetc1.com-news @ 7:08 am | Article ID: 1156266536