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Tough conversations with your franchisees are inevitable as you support them for success. Like any coaching relationship, Field Coaches within franchise systems need to build a trusting relationship with the franchisees they support.
However, trusting, positive relationships between coach and business owner don’t eliminate the need for occasional tough conversations, in fact, they require it!
If you as a Field Coach aren’t having those tougher conversations you’re not holding the franchisee accountable and supporting them effectively to achieve their goals — and that’s your job description!
Here at AC Inc, we specialize in improving franchisee engagement and profitability through best-practice field coaching. Our team includes successful multi-unit franchisees who exited their systems and field coaches with decades of experience supporting franchisees for success.
Looking for support in building your field coaching infrastructure, hiring a field ops team, or improving your franchisee’s profitability? Chat with us here.
The relationship between a Field Coach and a Franchisee is dynamic and complex. The Field Coach acts as both the Franchisee’s biggest fan and the strategic coach. This means celebrating wins, strategizing action steps, continuously training, motivating, and occasionally — having those tough conversations.
You know the conversations we mean…
Although these conversations can be tricky to navigate, they’re a necessary part of every coaching relationship. Your job as a Field Coach is to support your franchisee and help them achieve their goals. Sometimes that means addressing tougher topics or giving constructive feedback.
Brecon Gage, one of the Franchise Growth Advisors at AC Inc, shared his insights (episode 32 of the Franchise Growth Pod) on how to build the foundations as a Field Coach for having tough conversations with franchisees.
His number one piece of advice? Set expectations early. When you’re onboarding a franchisee or starting to work with them, it’s important to clearly state exactly what they can expect from you as their Field Coach and what you can expect from them.
Brecon explained that stating, “My job is to tell you the truth. That’s the best way I can support you in your business goals. Sometimes it will be tough to hear, but I still promise you can count on me to prioritize your success.”
When you set the expectations right away, this opens up the opportunity for you to bring that conversation up when you need to have a tough conversation.
“Remember when I said I would always tell you the truth even when it’s tough to hear? This is one of those moments”
Bringing up the expectations on a semi-regular basis will not only hold franchisees accountable and keep this foundation top-of-mind, but it will also hold you as the Field Coach accountable for what you have promised to bring to the table.
Setting expectations early hold you both accountable, creates open and honest communication, and makes it easier to bring up tougher topics when they arise in your coaching sessions.
Similar to sports, Franchise Field Coaches can’t use the same communication style with every franchisee they work with. For example, some basketball players do well with a softer tone, some need to get fired up, and some need the “gloves off” approach to communication. (That’s a hockey reference for ya).
The key as a franchisor is to hire Field Coaches who are incredible at working with people and understanding that everyone will need a different approach. Read the DNA of a Field Coach blog for more on this topic.
Brecon Gage shared an insight on this:
In my initial calls with franchisees, I ask them, “If we needed to have a tough, honest conversation, how would you want me to approach it with you?”
I find that opening up this conversation earlier rather than later is a good approach. It shows you care, are listening, and that you genuinely want them to succeed!
Brecon makes an awesome point that realizing that everyone has different communication styles and letting franchisees decide the way they want to address those tougher conversations is a great method.
Do you have more questions about field coaching? We discuss this and more in our free virtual AC Roundtables where franchisors gather on zoom to collaborate and problem-solve together.
The AC Roundtables are a free resource we offer franchisors who are seeking collaboration and peer-to-peer learning. We’ve been running these virtual roundtables since 2020 and we always love to have new franchisors join us!
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