During the past 20 years, I have received fabulous input from several different business coaches. They provided critical support, advice and gentle wisdom for the various private practice struggles I experienced. Mostly they helped me discover what I didn’t know and what to do about it. At times they even said that I was doing a great job, which was unexpected but awesome to hear. Owning and trying to manage a private practice is a wonderfully exciting venture but it can be lonely and overwhelming. Here are my business coaching experiences and learnings.
Way back when I started up, there was nobody in the private disability provider space I could turn to. It was the mid 90s, very early days for private practice and only a handful of us in Melbourne. And … can you imagine … there was virtually no internet. I hunted out of industry for the right coach who could help me manage the business, lead people and better understand the financials. I never found anybody specific to my industry, I always had to interpret, apply and project the mainstream business ideas to a small paediatric private practice. But I persisted, my coaching experiences were exhausting, fantastic and mission critical to my subsequent business success.
One coach specialised in people management and was a retired head of a large HR department. Lucky, he powered me though complex staff issues, reviewed my staffing model, taught me performance management know-how and drummed in the difference between management and leadership. We had fortnightly conversations. I had lots of reading to do and a lengthy action list. It was the ideal way for me to learn: talk, read, question, understand, implement, review then repeat. My learning curve was massive and the outcomes powerful, I was accountable to my coach and I felt well supported. Business coaching resulted in improved recruitment, contractual agreements, on-boarding and performance management processes. With these in play, I gained lower costs, more time, updated policies and procedures, delegation opportunities and most importantly improved client and staff retention. Lovely.
Another business coach I worked with mentored me through a period of rapid expansion. As a serial entrepreneur, she had started and sold several business, lectured, authored documents and consulted to various government departments. High energy, big humour and epic business knowledge. She was great at business planning, managing growth and strategic exiting. However it was still a constant stretch to apply it all back to allied health and services to children. Together we planned the future model of what turned out to be six metro therapy sites, comprehensive therapy service provision, a full workshop calendar and a seriously fun online toy store. All with a distant exit strategy in mind. This coach got the thoughts out of my head and onto paper, she was a sounding board and a much needed motivator. She also arrived with donuts and coffee, years before donuts were a thing. A true visionary.
The paediatric private provider sector has boomed during the past decade. I now provide niche paediatric private practice business coaching to allied health professionals nationwide. No topic-based bells and whistles cookie cutter programs, my clients set the agenda for every conversation. Typical topics include building profile through social media, tweaking the website, contracting or employing staff, writing policies and procedures, organising practice management systems and software, understanding financials, marketing, managing staff …
Do these challenges sound familiar?
Maybe it’s time to work with a specialist business coach?
I work via mobile phone, teleconference, Skype and when possible, face-to-face. I work with energetic owners in all phases of the business life-cycle, start up, struggle, sustain and sell. What I hear from my clients is the relief of finding somebody who understands the paediatric therapy scene, relevant funding systems, services, clients, stakeholders and the changing disability landscape. I love shifting my clients from stress to success. I share up what I know and bring the virtual coffee and donuts to every conversation.
How could a specialist paediatric private practice business coach help you and your business right now?