Dear Bill | What Makes a Great Chiropractor?

Posted by Bill Esteb on May 2nd 2023

Dear Bill

“I’m in my second year of practice and things are going great. Wondering if you could share some of the characteristics of what you think makes a great chiropractor?”

Happy to, just remember, what follows is my version of a great chiropractor, which may not correspond to that of a typical patient.

So, with that caveat, here are some of the qualities I’ve most appreciated amongst the chiropractors I’ve met over the last four-plus decades:

Great adjustor – I’ll start here because it’s what many chiropractors think is the most important. And it is, to a degree. However, it’s mostly a hygiene factor. By that I mean, great clinical skills generally get you to zero. It’s kind of expected. In the same way you wouldn’t think to refer someone to the airline you flew last week because it got you to your destination without crashing. Or was a particularly smooth landing!

Being a spectacular adjustor only gets you so far. It’s often why the chiropractors who win the awards in student clinic often find themselves in struggling, under-performing practices. There are simply other factors that trump adjusting skill.

So yes, be a master of your craft. Patients expect that. Even deserve it. But there are other qualities by which patients rate chiropractors.

Comfortable in their own skin – Simply put, these chiropractors are proud to be chiropractors. There’s no pretense or apology for the lack of prescription rights. In fact, they are quite glad not to be in a profession whose errors and mistakes are the third leading cause of death.

The sense of ease these chiropractors project is disarming and contributes to the connection they’re able to establish and maintain with patients. When combined with excellent clinical skills, the confidence and certainty they project create high levels of trust and most importantly, hope.

Their generosity and authenticity give patients the emotional safety to lower their guard, facilitating the partnership so crucial for deep, influential relationships. Even with their self-depreciating humor, you can tell they take work seriously—but not themselves.

Effective communicator – Because they’re comfortable in their own skin, and are proud to be a chiropractor, they have a solid philosophical center. Because they aren’t inclined to be chameleon-like, they have a clear point of view. This makes it easier to be direct, but compassionate.

They have countless metaphors and analogies at the ready to explain and give new meanings for the experience patients are having during the healing process.

These chiropractors see a lot of pediatric patients. Apparently, their tableside manner and communication style that enables them to resonate with younger patients, is also attractive to older patients.

Ironically, they aren’t inclined to do a lot of talking. Because they know that the secret to being a great communicator is being a…

Remarkable listener – Because of their natural curiosity and talent to suspend judgment, their ability to listen is prestigious.

They ask interesting questions and remember details. They permit patients to speak without interrupting, jumping to conclusions or fast-tracking assumptions. With their self-confidence and philosophical center, they can surrender to the moment and truly receive, rather than “reloading” their rebuttal. They don’t have a compulsion to be “right.”

Because they demonstrate their ability to be fully present, patients feel heard. When listening is your superpower, word gets around. New patient flow never seems to be an issue.

Inspiring – They are such an attractive representation of chiropractic they inspire many patients and team members to become chiropractors themselves. In fact, it may be one of the most important key performance indicators of a healthy practice that is rarely discussed.

If you can’t think of anyone whom you’ve inspired to become a chiropractor, it might be cause to identify those aspects of practice (or yourself) which you dislike or have disassociated yourself from. Choose to fall in love with those parts you’re less than competent or comfortable with. Because it’s unlikely that you can excel at anything that you hate or don’t enjoy.

Practice development is mostly about personal development. The practice (or business) grows only as we grow. Which often means abandoning old stories we’ve created and the unhelpful meanings we’ve assigned to circumstances in our lives. Which is idea behind HeadSpace Coaching.

Thanks for the question!

Ask Bill your question.

« Previous Next »