Dental Mentors Blog

Achieving great results ~ what can you do?

sunsetsmlMost of us want to be successful and have a good life. What is success? We are all different and have different needs and aspirations and so what is important to one person may not be to another. Success I would suggest is about achieving goals we have set and becoming more proficient at things we do. What is known about achieving goals?

Professor Anders Ericsson and colleagues studied what makes an expert and discovered the key factors are practice coupled with feedback both from experts and equally important the ‘inner coach’. They found it took about ten thousand hours of practice. This equates to about ten years based on the average working week. If you think about things you feel very proficient at, how many hours or years did it take you? How much did you need external feedback and how much came from self-critiquing?

What is it about feedback that is so important, whether it be by others or self (inner coach)? It is the passing of observations and the asking of questions that raises one’s awareness of what one is doing so that you can choose to do it differently next time. When the changes achieve better results the next time it re-enforces the change you have made and if repeated regularly it becomes a habit so improving performance and leads to achieving success.


Tim Gallway the originator of the ‘inner game’ concept for sports coaching, used by many sports coaches never told his protégé’s what they should do. He asked them questions that raised their awareness of what they were doing so giving them choices in the future when they had the same issue to deal with. The more they raised their awareness the more their performance improved with practice.

How is your ‘inner coach’? How much do you look for feedback from yourself to improve your performance? How often do you think of reasons why you can’t do something or do something differently? How often do you achieve ninety percent of the goals you set yourself? If you find that often you don’t achieve your goals or have reasons why you can’t then maybe your ‘inner coach’ may not be used to its maximum benefit.

How can you develop you ‘inner coach’? There are two ways the inner coach can be enhanced to be more effective and so help you achieve more of your goals. The first is perhaps to get yourself a coach or mentor who can help you develop your ‘inner coach’. They can, by asking appropriate questions assist you in developing your awareness further and encourage you to use your inner coach more in the future. The other way is to ask your inner coach for more feedback whenever you can. This reflective thinking process does not always come easily to some people though with an effective coach and mentor it need not take long. Once harnessed fully the ‘inner coach’ can give you the support you need to be more effective, achieve your gaols and so be more successful.

Dental Coaches and Mentors



  • Harvard business review 85(7-8):114-21, 193 · November 2006 K Anders Ericsson, M J Prietula & E T Cokely
  • The Inner Game of Tennis – W Timothy Gallwey. Publ: Random House


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We believe that all dental professionals would benefit from regularly working with a mentor from a personal as well as a professional point of view. Mentors are experienced dental professionals who can guide and support you throughout your career.

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