My Journey Into Coaching

In My Story, She's Touching Lives by Geri Gottlieb1 Comment

I was recruited into dentistry by an orthodontist about 28 years ago. At the time, I was in college pursuing degrees in psychology and music and had never even considered dentistry as a career path. But after nearly 10 years working in retail, I welcomed the opportunity to work 3.5 days a week with evenings and weekends off! 

Never did I expected to absolutely fall in love with the field and business of dentistry. I loved interacting with patients, learning about each of them, and watching the transformation of their smiles. 

I started off as a chairside assistant. That was short-lived however when a few weeks in my doctor pulled me aside after work to tell me how much they loved having me in the practice. He then went on to say that he did not think that “assisting was my gift.” Luckily for me, he said he wanted to keep me on as his treatment coordinator! And so began a whole new love of my work and the deepening of my love for dentistry. 

My boss believed in me way more than I believed in myself.

He pushed me to continually learn and grow. I took every continuing education course offered to me. When the time came for me to leave that position, I only sought out practices that held those same beliefs; developing their teams, continuously teaching and pushing me to new levels. 

After working in dentistry for about 18 years, I found myself a single mom of two daughters. Daughters that I wanted to send to college, without them having to work their way through school as I had. At the time I thought the only way I could do that would be to go back to college and pursue a Master’s degree in psychology. Of course, I was not even sure what I would do with it. What I did know was that even at 18 — and then later at 44 — was that I had a desire to help people grow and develop, to become better leaders, better teammates, and even better people. I wanted people to love what they do (whatever it was) and perform it with a sense of purpose – their unique ‘WHY’. 

As I juggled being a mom, the administrator of a busy dental practice, and a college student, a mentor of mine asked me a pivotal question. 

“Why are you doing this?”

When I answered, she then asked, “Isn’t that something you already do in an industry you already know and love?” And then, “Is there not already a next level you can take that to?” 

It was here that my journey into coaching and consulting began. 

Around that same time, I met and married my husband Bob, a prominent periodontist with two large practices. Stepping into the shoes of a practice owner was the proverbial smack up-side the head, a truly eye-opening experience. Everything I knew and worked so hard to understand about the “business” of dentistry was turned on its head. I had spent so many years wondering why these doctors didn’t know how to lead and manage their teams. Now I realized I had some apologizing to do! 

This inside look into the view from an owner’s perspective only served to grow my ‘Why’.  I wanted to deepen my understanding, compassion, empathy, and desire to help dental teams and practice owners grow and develop. My goal was to find a way to strengthen the players around the doctors, and to coach the team to do the things the doctors could not (and often should not) do.  By creating stronger teams, the doctors would be able to soar in their craft. 

In 2014 I joined Kirk Beherendt and ACT Dental Practice Consulting as a lead practice coach. Those five years with ACT gave me the education and confidence I was needing. It also served to and expanded my understanding and coaching on the value of teamwork.

My time at ACT was the final push that helped me launch a practice coaching business on my own, modeled around my vision, my ‘Why’. In January of 2019, I launched and branded GG Practice Coaching & Development. We partner with you to develop both sides of the practice. The Smart ( Business ) and Team Health side. 

When leaders and teams get better, EVERYTHING gets better!


  1. Hi Geri! How are you on this fine day? 🙂 It’s amazing how over time, one thing leads to another but only if you keep the end goal in mind. It seems like your “title” may not have always been clear but your goal of changing people’s lives always was. I just read your article and loved learning about your journey into coaching. Thank you for sharing it! <3

Leave a Comment