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Why Every Dentist Needs a Mentor


Accountability business coach leadership mentor Oct 13, 2021

Graduated top of your class. Accomplished a higher than average GPA. Received a 100% score on a clinical board exam. Your crowns and fillings are flawless. You may possess one or many of these, and while these achievements are commendable, they lack business competence.

Dental schools largely focus on biological science classes and heavy clinical studies. There remains a persistent craving for business education in this industry because it is not consistently taught prior to taking on entrepreneurial roles. You might be performing the highest level of clinical dentistry nationwide, and your business could still fail. How can you prevent possible failure? How do you achieve more than excellent dentistry? How do you improve your business and your life simultaneously? You get yourself a mentor!

Refine Your Business Expertise

A mentor will show you all the secrets of the trade, all the shortcuts, all the little tricks that will help you become a successful practice owner. A great mentor will teach you the true potential of your niche market. They will teach you what questions to ask, what to look for and what to do. Mentors are able to recognize the potential in you even before you have made it on your own. They will ultimately be the source of your long term career success.

If you are in this industry for the long-term then you know what happens when you start out. Your passion gets in the way of your careful planning and your focus. You begin to spend money in an impulsive manner that leaves you broke in a short period of time. All of this happens because you are not taking the time to evaluate your career path and what you really want to do with your life. Without a great mentor, your career path may very well take you to failure and years of regret.

A Mentor Will Hold You Accountable

One of the best reasons you need a mentor; they will help you achieve more in your career than you could do on your own. For example, you might consider a great coach someone who has successfully helped others achieve personal growth.

Most people who have been very successful in life have mentors to guide them and give them the direction and confidence that they need to get there even if they lack the skills needed to do so themselves. The best mentors help you focus on your personal growth so that your goals are truly achievable. This focus will drive you to achieve those goals, and once you do, you'll be glad you waited to get help from someone who really knows what they're doing. 

Improved Leadership Skills

A good mentor will provide you with leadership skills, both in and out of the dental office. It is important that your mentor has a good leadership style because he or she may be your primary decision maker at a certain point in time. If you can find a good mentor that teaches and models good leadership, then your team will listen to and follow through on action items you give them. As your relationship grows, your mentor may become a confidante, a sounding board, and even a best friend. When looking for a mentor, keep these tips in mind.

Mentors give their students leverage so they have more chances to succeed, and if you are willing to ask a few questions or learn a few things, you will realize success sooner.

Your mentor will teach you how to develop your communication skills, leadership skills, how to obtain and retain patients, and exhibit good oral and written communication skills. Communication is key. Your mentor will show you how to effectively communicate with people from different backgrounds, experience levels, and personality styles.

Our most recent webinar Leadership is Lonely with Kirk Behrendt and Dr. Barrett Straub discusses the challenges and opportunities we face and learn from together. 


There are many different kinds of people who might be qualified as mentors, but the best mentors come from within. Great career coaches, most importantly, come from the trenches of their own professional life and have seen just how damaging it is to simply jump into the professional world without a plan. 

The ACT Dental team has experienced those trenches and navigates practices to a better practice and a better life. 

“I can’t say enough about the entire ACT Dental organization! My experience over the last 2 years has been phenomenal. It’s not only changed and grown my practice, but it’s helped to grow me as a leader and a person. Our entire team has benefited from our time with ACT. Grateful for Adriana, Kirk and the ACT Team.” (Review shared by ACT client Tyler Bolin.)

Dentistry is a highly competitive field, but having a good mentor can benefit you greatly. Finding a good mentor is a crucial step to success. If you have the right attitude, a good education, and a passion for helping others, you will be able to achieve your goals. Schedule a call and discover what having a mentor can do for you and your practice!


About the Authors: Jenni Poulos is a lead practice coach at ACT Dental.

Heather Crockett is a Lead Practice Coach at ACT Dental. She is also a dental hygienist, motivational speaker, and writer. With over twenty years of serving in different roles in dentistry, she combines her experience to provide our community with best practices for a better life.

Kirk Behrendt

Kirk Behrendt is a renowned consultant and speaker in the dental industry, known for his expertise in helping dentists create better practices and better lives. With over 30 years of experience in the field, Kirk has dedicated his professional life to optimizing the best systems and practices in dentistry. Kirk has been a featured speaker at every major dental meeting in the United States. His company, ACT Dental, has consistently been ranked as one of the top dental consultants in Dentistry Today's annual rankings for the past 10 years. In addition, ACT Dental was named one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States by Inc Magazine, appearing on their Inc 5000 list. Kirk's motivational skills are widely recognized in the dental industry. Dr. Peter Dawson of The Dawson Academy has referred to Kirk as "THE best motivator I have ever heard." Kirk has also assembled a trusted team of advisor experts who work with dentists to customize individual solutions that meet their unique needs. When he's not motivating dentists and their teams, Kirk enjoys coaching his children's sports teams and spending time with his amazing wife, Sarah, and their four children, Kinzie, Lily, Zoe, and Bo.