Leadership in Dentistry: Does your office have a High-Performance Coach?

Should Leadership be Taught in Dental School Curriculums?


Absolutely!  The dentist running a practice must be the ‘scientist’ in dental sciences and deliver quality care. Also, the dentist has to be a ‘business’ savvy individual to ensure the practice’s financial health. What else does the dentist need to be … the team ‘coach’. 

It is either the dentist’s role or if the office has an office manager, it may fall upon the manager.  Nonetheless, it’s a reality that hand-in-hand with being a practice owner comes leadership.  So where does a practice owner ‘learn’ leadership? 

It would be fantastic along with DENT 3055 there would be a Leadership 101 course that teaches the practice owner how to navigate the various dynamics of a team to develop and strengthen that team. 



What Does ‘High-Performance Coaching’ Have to do With a Dental Office?


As the profession of dentistry evolves with advancements in science and technology, there are more and more demands of typical day operations.  The more the demands, the more the stress. 

So how do we keep dentistry fun???? 

Coffee and donuts?  Pizza lunches? 

Besides the obvious buffet of junk food every dental office has in their lunchroom the dental staff now more than ever requires a boost in positive energy.  This draws us back to the basics of having a shared mission and vision. 

When was the last time as a team we took the time to write a mission and vision statement?  A simple task that can easily bring a team back to the same page.

High-performance coaching can be accomplished with simple leadership steps, but they must be a continuum.  The team needs the continuum of support and that is what defines high-performance coaching…non-stop motivation. 

High-performance coaching has everything to do with dentistry as we are facing a record high of labour shortages and we will need to intervene with creativity to stop burnout and stop job dissatisfaction.  Don’t get me wrong the coffee and donuts do help, but we need more than the caffeine and sugar rush!!! 



What ApproachesCan be Used to ‘Spark’ a Team’s Positivity and Keep the Motivation Going?


We have all been impacted by the pandemic in one way or another and although we may think we share similar experiences, we really have no idea what profound impact it may be having on any of our team members. Someone in the office must take the reins as the leader and be very diligent and deliberate to facilitate encouragement and motivation. 

I can share an example … my office manager brought in a massage therapist for the day! 

  1. Morning huddle: How about a morning huddle where every day the team takes turns to bring a positive affirmation quote and read it?  In the past offices could socialize as a group and venture out to a team-building event. 
  2. Thank each other in writing: The power of listening and acknowledgment goes a long way … a simple approach in writing one another thank you cards for recognition of each others’ strengths.
  3. Group messaging: Unity is an important and easy way to accomplish that is to stay engaged with the entire team with a group social messaging app.
  4. Group Activity: In Daniel Pink’s book Drive, he suggests giving everyone a notecard to answer the question “What is our organization's purpose?”  Read the answers out loud and see where they align. 
  5. Goal Setting Exercise: GROW Acronym -  Goal; Reality (current); Options/Obstacles; Way Forward/Will


The message is it MUST happen.  Coaches coach people and the dental profession needs to be coached to continue to function at the high level of performance required in dentistry.


Michelle Aubé (Simmonds) RDH, maxill Dental Hygiene Educator

Michelle is a Dental Hygiene Speaker, Consultant and Educator with over 21 years of experience as a RDH and 4 years as a CDA. She has written dental hygiene articles for CDHA’s OH Canada professional publication and continues to practice clinically and teaches both clinical dental hygiene and practice management at Fanshawe College and the University of Western Ontario. She has served on the Discipline Committee at Algonquin College and held the position of a CDHO Quality Assurance Assessor for 7 years.