How to Start Field Coaching Your Franchisees
By: Angela Cote, CEO + Founder, AC Inc
There is hidden profitability in every franchise system that is found when you start field coaching your franchisees.
When you coach franchisees to be strategic business owners instead of operators, you generate more royalties, healthier franchisee lifecycles, and improved franchisee validation in your franchise development.
The steps below are part of our team’s proven process to help franchise brands begin field coaching with their franchisees and unlock that hidden profitability found in every system.
Let’s start with the basics: What is field coaching?
What is Field Coaching
Field coaching is the process of proactively coaching your franchisees to become better business owners and improve their profitability. Field Coaches are the roles within a franchise system that coach franchisees, both in the field and/or virtually.
Field coaching is different than initial training or reactive support. Initial training gets your franchisees all the information they need to run their business, and reactive support like template libraries or hotlines is for franchisees to get help when a question or challenge arises.
Field coaching helps franchisees work ON their business instead of just in it. Examples of field coaching include 1:1 coaching calls, group coaching programs, financial analysis support, goal setting, SWOT analysis, accountability, and action planning — just to name a few.
Now let’s get into the steps for implementing…
Step One: Assess Your Current Franchisee Support
To start field coaching your franchisees, we must first look at how you are currently supporting your owners. Often, there is initial training and reactive support in place. Perhaps you even already have some form of ongoing coaching in place.
To assess your current forms of support, use the Who, What, Why, When, and How structure to analyze the effectiveness of your current support strategies.
Answer when, how, why, etc. you are providing coaching and ongoing development for your franchisees, and the financials of franchisees who are leveraging the support.
It’s key to understand both your franchisees’ financials and their satisfaction levels (surveys and 1:1 conversations are good for this step) to get a holistic view of the effectiveness of your franchisee support.
If you only look at your franchisee’s financials, you may miss out on identifying disgruntled franchisees. But if you only analyze your franchisee’s satisfaction, you may miss out on identifying happy franchisees who still need support with their financials.
Step Two: Create Franchisee Buy In on Field Coaching
Once you have identified how your franchisees are well-supported and where there are still gaps to fill with coaching… The next step is to create buy-in with your franchisees.
Like introducing anything new to franchisees, it’s imperative to explain the WHY behind the new strategy or initiative.
By explaining to your franchisees (and home office team members) what is currently in place, where you’d like to improve, and how putting field coaching in place will improve each owner’s business success, you will better align everyone on the goals and vision.
This may seem like a simple step, but it’s also one that can be easily skipped over which can cause confusion and make the implementation less successful. All of that is to say — don’t skip this simple but important step!
Step Three: Hiring & Training a Field Coach
If you are a brand with 5-30 units with no field coaches yet in place, a common implementation strategy is to have someone on your home office team who is strong operationally and has the right traits and experiences take a step into the Field Coach role.
This is a good strategy at this stage because a field coach in a more emerging brand will likely also take on other operational or training duties in their role.
If you have more than 30 units, it is a good idea to hire someone specifically to start field coaching your franchisees in a more full-time capacity. Perhaps even more than one if you’re a more established brand.
When you look at hiring your first Field Coach, beware of just seeking someone with past Field Coach experience. Instead, work on finding someone who has the right traits and background – look at the example list below!
- Takes Initiative
- Balance of self-confidence and humility
- Compassion and patience
- Experience in business and finance
Your next step would be to get them trained as an effective coach. ACademy courses are a great option for this, as well as having them go through your franchisee’s initial training, and/or other business courses.
Step Four: Booking Initial Coaching Calls
When their training is in place, they can start booking their first calls with franchisees. Check out this guide for a field coaching call structure which is a helpful resource for structuring your coaching calls.
The first few calls as a Field Coach are all about building rapport, credibility, and beginning to map action steps toward the franchisee’s goals.
Great tools to get started include helping franchisees do a SWOT analysis, getting them talking about their WHY for owning a business, and sharing how you can support them as a coach.Learn more about field coaching from AC Inc. at fieldcoachexperts.com