AC Inc
Published July 6, 2023

How to Build Credibility with Franchisees

Building credibility with franchisees – especially legacy owners and top performers – can be a big challenge for Field Coaches both new and seasoned in the industry.

Your role as a Field Coach is to help franchisees become better business owners. Tasks include building trust and credibility, holding franchisees accountable, helping them set and achieve business goals, and ensuring brand compliance.

It’s one thing to coach newer franchise owners that want support and are eager for help. It’s another thing to coach franchisees that have been in the system for many years or are doing well in their business already. 

Especially as a newer, younger, or less experienced Field Coach.

But building credibility is just a process like any other part of a role, and the following steps will guide you through the do’s and don’ts of building a trusting relationship with franchise owners, showcasing your value as a coach, and supporting franchisees at any stage.


The Founder’s Daughter: Learning to Build Trust the Hard Way

In her early 20s, Angela Coté worked as a Field Coach in her dad’s franchise system. The iconic Canadian brand, M&M Food Markets that she helped grow to nearly 500 locations.

Being 20, blonde, and the boss’ daughter didn’t do her any favors when she would go into older, male, long-time franchisees’ stores to help them set goals and improve their businesses. 

She learned the hard way how to build credibility with franchisees who didn’t initially see a lot of value in having her as a coach. This is still an issue we see Field Coaches face regularly within our weekly Professional Development Roundtable with coaches from across the globe.

Hence, this resource to help guide you through the process!


The Very First Step to Build Credibility with Franchisees

The very first step is a don’t. Do not pretend you know everything.

Firstly, because no one likes a know it all. 

But really it’s because any new Field Coach will not know as much about running the business as a franchisee working daily in the business. That’s just facts!

Instead of coming into a franchisee’s business and trying to pretend you’re the expert, get ahead of any doubts the owner may be feeling by addressing the elephant in the room.

Acknowledge that you’re not going to know every single detail about the business, and instead share what you ARE there to help them with – goal setting, vision planning, leveraging the expertise of other franchise owners, and helping them achieve success in their business.

Being vulnerable may feel counterintuitive, but being honest with one another is essential to building a credible, trusting relationship with franchisees as a Field Coach.

Showcase Your Value and Expertise

Many franchisees struggle to understand how someone who doesn’t work daily in their same business could help them succeed. 

But everyone can get value from coaching, accountability, and peer support – all things that a Field Coach can provide no matter how long, or how successful, a franchisee is in their business.

Setting expectations with your franchisee on what they can expect from you as a coach, and what you can expect from them as an owner is a good starting point in clarifying your roles and responsibilities.

This is also a great time to share your expertise and the value you can provide them. Present your background experience, specialty areas you can provide advice in, and how you will help them become successful.

By showing the value you can provide them, and clarifying that you will also likely learn a lot from them, it becomes a more symbiotic and successful relationship.


Demonstrate Your Work Ethic and Commitment

Angela has a distinct memory of sitting on the floor late into the night with a franchisee the week of their Grand Opening as they waited for the freezer to reach the necessary temperature.

They had been working tirelessly all day and that time spent half-asleep waiting for the freezer demonstrated her commitment to supporting this franchisee, and that they weren’t alone in the process.

Whether it’s mopping the floor or staying late, showing that you’re not afraid to put in some sweat equity and really be in the business with your owners is a major way to build trust and credibility.

Showing your work ethic also role models the behavior you’re encouraging your franchisees to do and helps your franchisees understand that you’re willing to go above and beyond for their success.

Get Your Franchisee a Small, Measurable Win

Sometimes, when a franchisee is having doubts about a coach being able to support them, getting them a small but valuable win can launch the start of an improved relationship.

Even if the win is identifying a way to cut down on an expense, or sharing a new employee training best practice that another franchisee uses successfully could be enough to start building credibility.

A popular quick win is to ask your franchisee if they have a vision plan in place or any goal-setting strategy they use consistently. If they don’t, showing how you can help them build a roadmap to their big-picture goals is a great starting point.


Be Open to Ongoing Development

For anyone training new Field Coaches, we highly recommend putting them through your franchisee onboarding process/training and having them do at least a week in the life of a franchisee so they have the foundational knowledge of running the business.

But beyond the initial training for Field Coaches, plus the franchisee training and in-the-business experience, successful Field Coaches should be open to ongoing professional development around their role and coaching techniques.

By having an ongoing learning attitude and continuously leveling up their skills they can continue bringing new ideas to the table and building trust with their franchisees. Owners will continue to see value in their Field Coach which is the goal for ongoing development and growth.

Have more questions about Field Coaching and franchisee support? Connect with the AC Inc team at!

The ONLY Event Designed Just for Franchise Operations Teams

FBR Summit DENVERHow can you make an immediate and lasting impact on your franchisees’ success? Find out at the FBR Summit, October 22-24 in Denver, CO. The Summit is an intensive, event created just for franchise operations leaders and their teams that directly support franchisees. Don’t miss it!




About the Author: AC Inc

Coach your franchisees for success, unlock hidden profitability, and grow your system! AC Inc is an education & training company that helps franchise brands maximize the impact of Field Support. Assess your support, put a framework in place, and optimize your franchisee coaching.
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