How to Be a High-Impact Franchise Coach
Some things in life will surprise you. While skills, dedication and a lot of “sweat equity” can get you promoted, the further you move up the hierarchy in business, the more Emotional Intelligence (EI) matters. This is true in all of business contexts, and is well documented in management literature, but in franchising, it is not possible to succeed without outstanding Emotional Intelligence skills.
Franchising is all about relationships, and success depends on the strength of them. With 10 years in the industry and 20 years in marketing as a whole, starting off in an entry-level Marketing role and growing into a Director I have taught digital marketing to hundreds of people from all walks of life. One of the most beautiful moments was when an older couple approached me in my office one day saying “thanks to the digital programs you taught us, we were able to afford the retirement that we wished for.” This was after their healthy and growing business was sold at a competitive price.
But, one thing that was a bit different in terms of approach, that in a Myers-Briggs test, I was a “T”, in terms of a “Thinker” instead of a “Feeler”, whereas most people in this industry are decidedly “Fs”. But, coming from a “Thinking” perspective and moving more towards the center has proven to be somewhat of a secret weapon and helps me distill it all into a formula. For me, the key is a combination of:
- Active listening
- Broadcasting excellence
Here I have weaved together a combination of research and in-the-field experience. For this first part of the series, we will take a look at the research that underpins everything else in terms of being a franchise coach.
Connectivity – the Research
Researchers across the business literature are recognizing the power of connectivity in any business relationship. In fact as stated in a recent article:
Researchers surveyed employees from 84 U.S. companies about the character of their CEOs, using compassion and forgiveness as key indicators. Comparing the company’s financial performance against the employee’s judgement of the CEOs character, the researchers found that CEOs with a strong character outperformed their poorly ranked peers by nearly 500%.
Even though almost everyone recognizes that connection and engagement are important, boards and management in the corporate sector are not responding, leaving it a cold place. In fact, Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year. Seasoned veterans of the franchising industry know that corporate disengagement is actually a driver for franchise business ownership. So there is a high cost to be paid by franchisors who ignore franchisee disengagement as well in terms of lost royalties and even exits.
A 2008 article published by Hay Group titled Emotional Intelligence: Leadership prescription for tough times, detailed four common behaviors of good EQ leaders. They found that, “…highly emotionally intelligent leaders tend to:
- listen more than they talk
- emphasize the how’s and why’s instead of simply telling people what to do
- engage team members and recognize their contributions rather than continually criticizing their mistakes
- understand what energizes and engages people on their teams and create environments that foster that energy.”
Consider a case study of Domino’s Pizza in India. According to Forbes, they went from teetering on the edge of bankruptcy to the second largest Domino’s market outside of the United states with a 70% marketshare in India and more than 55 million deliveries annually. A part of that success was taking a core focus on happiness of the workforce, led by CEO Ajay Kaul.
To measure happiness, Ajay instituted a monthly pulse survey called the “happiness score.” Basically, customers and employees’ happiness is measured monthly. Leaders consistently know if either group is happy, unhappy, or indifferent. They know what to do more of, less of, and what needs tweaking. This is the metric Ajay cares most about.
So – the research shows that the relationship side of business is hugely important. Now is the hard part, how do we put these ideas into practice?
In the next part of this series, we will discuss one of the most important skills that a high-impact coach can have: listening skills. If you have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to comment!
Stefania is the Sr. Marketing Director at FranchiseBlast. She comes from 20 years in the Marketing world, 10 of them in progressively Sr. positions in Marketing – most recently as the Director of Marketing and IT Development at Tutor Doctor. During the course of her career she has worked with companies like Microsoft, 3M, Shred-it and the Intercontinental Hotel. While at Shred-it, Stefania was recognized by Google as operating a best practice in managing a franchise PPC campaign and her website at Tutor Doctor won an “Outstanding Achievement in Internet Advertising” award by the Web Marketing Association in 2016.
Stefania has taken part in several speaking engagements across North America about entrepreneurship, franchising, marketing and technology and has volunteered for numerous organizations helping children, artists and educational institutions; she is a volunteer with Futurepreneur as a mentor, and does a number of community initiatives. She was also the past Communications Chair of the Queen’s Alumni Association of Toronto. She holds an MBA from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Commerce from Carleton University. She lives in Vaughan, Ontario with her husband, Matthew and two children, AJ and Violet.