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Having a franchisee peer coaching program in your franchise system can be one of the best things for your profitability, franchisee engagement, and owner lifecycle.
Although 1:1 coaching sessions (snag our 1:1 coaching call structure here) are still some of the most popular and effective styles of coaching franchisees, having franchisees interact with their peers can offer a lot that 1:1 sessions cannot.
Shared experiences. Learning from fellow franchisees means learning from people who are running the exact same business. Many franchisees appreciate information more when it comes from a fellow franchisee whom they trust.
Cost-effectiveness. Doing a group coaching program can bring down the cost for the home office team because one Field Coach can facilitate group sessions instead of 1:1 sessions.
Accountability. Hearing your franchisee peers work on their business each week creates a sense of accountability and sometimes even friendly competition that can greatly benefit the amount of implementation franchisees take.
Connection. Having franchisees feel connected with one another creates more buy-in to their work, more engagement in the system, and more happiness in their business overall. Everyone loves community & connection!
But of course… There are also some drawbacks to building out franchisee peer coaching programs, especially if done without the proper structure or strategy.
When you put a franchisee in a position of leadership in a peer coaching relationship you can often see other franchisees lose trust in their peer – it may seem as though they have extra favor with the franchisor or home office team for example.
Another drawback we see is when a brand hears about franchisee peer coaching programs they may think that having Field Coaches is optional if peers can just coach one another. However, having an effective Field Coach (or coaches) is still an imperative part of building out a strategic peer coaching program.
Field Coaches are crucial to managing peer coaching programs, developing relationships, offering 1:1 coaching for newer or struggling franchisees, and often leading the franchisee peer coaching sessions themselves.
Okay now let’s dive into the different models and which one is the right structure for your franchise system…
This can be done 1:1 or in a small group where one franchisee (often someone who has been in the business for a long time, a top performer, and/or someone who has been selected by the home office team) mentors other franchisees.
It can be incredibly helpful for franchisees to hear from someone who truly understands what running their business is like and learn from their insights and perspectives. Can also be a great way to engage legacy franchisees and leverage their expertise.
These programs don’t work well if they are too unstructured or you haven’t selected the right mentors. Mentors can sometimes have too limited a perspective when they provide advice, and can even turn franchisees on home office if left without a solid structure and guidelines from the operations team.
This is a good model for you if… You have a large system with many franchisees that would be a good fit for mentoring newer or struggling franchisees. This is also a good fit if you have a great operations or Field Coaching team that can help manage the mentorship program to ensure it continues to function properly.
When franchisees partner up in groups of 2-6 people to meet semi-regularly, have a group chat, and hold one another accountable to their goals. These are often facilitated by the Field Coach/Operations team or sometimes franchisees create these accountability groups themselves.
These are great for nurturing productive relationships amongst your franchisees and encouraging owners to take action in their business. These groups can be leveraged at annual conferences as well — people love to connect in person with their peers at company events!
This format doesn’t work well if you have lots of franchisees who need more than just accountability, they need skill development and training from Field Coaches. These groups also don’t work well if franchisees aren’t bought into the process.
This is a good model for you if… You have franchisees who are middle performers and understand what they need to do to improve their performance but aren’t doing it, then accountability groups can be a game changer!
When a group of 4-8 franchisees is coached by one Field Coach and there is assigned homework, training, and skill development at each session — that is performance group coaching.
This is a great model. It’s more cost-effective than 1:1 coaching and it works for both middle and high-performing franchisees. Having peers hold each other accountable works really well when there is assigned homework like SWOT analysis or staffing reviews.
This model doesn’t work well when the franchisees in the group are at different levels of growth and performance. This also isn’t a great option if you don’t have content that you can work on with your franchisees (i.e. when a Field Coach leads the group without a plan and assignments set out ahead of time).
This is a good model for you if… You have franchisees who WANT to improve but just don’t know how, and are excited at the idea of meeting regularly to make a real difference in their business.
FYI: This is the program that you can hire AC Inc. to do as a fractional field coach — an AC Field Coach Specialist comes into your system to facilitate and coach groups of franchisees to improve their performance and engagement. Book a call with us to learn more.
When selecting the right franchisee peer coaching program style, consider your franchisees and what they need out of coaching and support.
If you have a lot of middle performers eager for training, performance group coaching could be a great option. Whereas if you have a lot of underperforming franchisees, 1:1 coaching is often still the right strategy. Mentorship is great for large systems with middle to high performers, etc.
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Have more questions about how to best support and coach your franchisees? We discuss topics just like these in the weekly AC Roundtables — collaborative virtual calls where peers learn from each other and problem-solve together.
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