Professional Carwashing & Detailing

The Sandwich Method of Coaching

CarWash Collegeā„¢ Tip of the Month

January 3, 2013

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Every now and then I have the opportunity to experience things on a personal level that we teach in CarWash College. Recently I received some critical feedback on a project I'd been working on. My first thought was to dismiss the feedback as not being valid. I had put a lot of time and energy into the project and I felt as though someone was talking bad about one of my children. Luckily, the more I thought about it the more I realized that the feedback was valid. So why was I so angry about receiving it? It was the manner in which it was delivered. Below I will explain how to deliver corrective feedback in a way that people will be more likely to accept.

The most common method for delivering feedback is through coaching. The definition of coaching is: a teaching, training or development process in which an individual gets support while learning to achieve a specific personal or professional result or goal. One of the best ways to make sure people accept corrective feedback is by using the sandwich method when coaching. The sandwich method is simple - give two positives for every one corrective. The trick is to sandwich the corrective between the two positives. An example would be, "Bob you do an excellent job of making sure the lot is always clean. For some reason this corner always gets missed. Can you make sure to get it from now on? I appreciate your hard work."

It is vital that you provide ongoing coaching for the continued success and well-being of the employees and for the continued effectiveness of the employee's function in the car wash. It is important that coaching is not viewed as discipline or a negative experience. Coaching should be an exercise in both praise for correct behavior, as well as correction for unfavorable behavior. By praising proper behavior, you will put the employee at ease and keep the employee from becoming defensive each time you speak to them. By correcting undesirable behavior, you will show the employee that their contribution to your business is valued – valued enough to warrant your time and effort to correct them.

Effective coaching will provide you with a vehicle with which to track and gauge employee behavior. Coaching also assists in preventing you from assuming that an employee just doesn't listen, or that an employee has an attitude problem. It will also allow you to more easily identify the most difficult tasks for employees to accomplish. With this knowledge, you will be able to train future employees more effectively. Some of the best run car wash locations I have ever seen have been run by people that use coaching on a daily basis. Try to make this part of your daily routine and you will see the befits in no time.

Remember, coaching is something that must be done on a regular basis for it to be effective. Often, you will lose some of your most valuable people because you don't take the time to coach them. Recruiting, hiring and training are expensive. Consistent and effective coaching will help you reduce those costs.


Robert Andre is the President of CarWash College. Robert can be reached at RAndre@sonnysdirect.com. For more information about CarWash College certification programs, visit www.carwashcollege.com or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.