Five Steps of Training & Coaching

Updated: Jul 7, 2019

My goal is to teach restaurant owners and managers to focus on Eight Basic Fundamentals that financial freedom and a better life.

Did you know that there are FIVE specific steps of training that we must go through with each and every new employee IF we want them to succeed?

It’s true. If we leave out any of these five steps we will NOT get the new person where they need to go, AND their chance of success will be greatly reduced. I believe failure to go through each of these five steps with every new hire (on every aspect of their job) is a major cause of employee dis-satisfaction and turnover.

Another important factor is – knowing the difference between training and coaching.

Training is the transfer of knowledge from one person to another. In this situation the trainer, controls the subject and the material. Coaching is different. Coaching is a two way interaction, where the coach watches the performance and gives the student valuable feedback that leads to better performance.

Step One:

This is when we play Show & Tell – we show them and tell them EXACTLY how to do the job or the task. We show and tell them how we do it here. For example this is how we turn on and fill the dish machine. This is how we use the spray arm at the dish station to rinse plates before they go into the dish machine. This is where we store the clean plates. This is how we set a table. This is how we polish glasses, so they are spotless. Spotless is important.

We must do this with EVERY element and every facet of their job from A to Z. If we leave anything out, it will force them to figure it out for their own and this will cause deviation and problems down the line.

I want to make a very important point here! This is the Round Pegs in the Round Hole stage. This is when we teach the simple basic elements of the job. This is the TRAINING level, we determine the material and TELL them exactly what we want them to do AND exactly HOW we want them to do it.

Consistency is the hallmark of our business, we must train our people to do things the SAME way every time. For example; in my restaurant there is only ONE way to make a Lemon Drop Martini – Period. The customer has an expectation and we better meet that expectation. If you want to invent a new drink that is fine, just don’t call it a Lemon Drop, because that will cause confusion.

Level One is NOT a creative level. Level One is about – HOW we do it HERE!

Level Two:

Is the Coaching Level. I watch you do it and make corrections. I watch you set a table and then point out where you got it RIGHT and where you missed the boat. I watch you polish a glass, and help you improve your technique, until you have it down. I don’t just say – Polish those glasses and walk away. I watch you open a bottle of wine and help you improve your technique and style. I don’t just say, watch a few You Tube Videos and figure it out.


Don’t get me wrong here, it’s OK to watch You Tube Videos to learn things, I love them.

You Tube Videos are a great way to learn new things, but before you set the new person free to open bottles of wine for your customers, you must make sure that the they can actually open the bottle in a way that meets your standards.

The point to remember is the NEW person must be able to meet the MINIMUM requirement. OR, they do not pass go…

Level Two is also the PRAISE level. Be sure to praise and encourage your new people when they get it right. Think about how excited new moms and dads get when their baby learns to walk… and you’ll get the idea. The job of the coach is to help them to become proficient at EVERY task and duty of their job.

Level Three:

This is the Do It Level. This is when the new person has been trained and coached on how to do each and every facet of their job. This is when we let them, do it themselves.

Think of teaching a little kid how to ride a two wheel bicycle for the first time. The training wheels are off, they are about to experience the freedom of doing it all by themselves. This is an exhilarating and scary time, because we know they will fall over or crash. The trick is to give them rope a little at time until you and they are both confident that things will be ok.

At level three, we come back regularly and often to check on their progress and see how they are doing. My big Concern at level three is that they will get sloppy or lazy and not do it as they have been instructed, OR they will revert to the way they did it at their last job. Sometimes this is good, sometime it’s no good. It depends where they are coming from.

IF they have deviated from the plan and the way we do it here; we must step in and STOP the bus. We must get them re-focused and back on track. This is critical. This is the FIRST time that we should use negative feedback. Everything we have done to this point will have been POSITIVE.

But, here’s the point, in step ONE we showed them EXACTLY what we wanted.

In step TWO they demonstrated they understood and showed us that they could do it.

Now, in step THREE – they have deviated, they have changed the game. THIS is BAD!

We must go all the way back to step one and start the process over again.

If they are willing to do it the right way – that is good. If they are NOT – that is unacceptable – and they have to go. I mean they must be fired or terminated right now. Be honest with them, say - Sorry, but you have failed the training and are No Longer on the team!

Think about it. If they cannot do the work, they have to go. If they refuse to do it OUR way – they have to go. Ok, so there is one exception, and it’s very obvious. That is if they are doing it BETTER that we do.

In that case I would embrace the NEW way 99% of the time. Provided it doesn’t screw up anything else further down the supply chain.

Level Four:

This is the Own It Level. I OWN My Job! This is similar to the do it level with one BIG difference. The new person takes OWNERSHIP of the position or station. For example, I am the Pastry Chef. This is my department and my job! I am going to do my 100% best to produce all the goods and services every single day, for as long as I am here.

This is a really BIG DEAL! Notice what it says. – I OWN MY JOB! It doesn’t say – I will do it when I feel like it, or only when I’m in the mood. Or only on Thursdays.


Now we can get to - the FUN part.

Level Five:

This is the Improve It Level. This is when we get to Move the Ball Forward.

Up until now we have been putting ROUND pegs in ROUND holes. Level five is the level where the fun starts. This is where we get to be creative.

At level one – we explained the job. At level two – they proved they could do the job,

At level three – they proved they could and would do the job by themselves.

At level four – they proved they OWNED the job, they took OWNERSHIP.

Now we are about to move forward and start making things BETTER!

Bringing NEW cool ideas to the table. I really want you to understand this point.

If someone can’t follow a system, and won’t do it the right way, they will never be able to CREATE.

Think about The Harlem Globetrotters Basketball Team. The Harlem Globetrotters tour the World doing silly and entertaining things on the basketball court. First and foremost these guys are great athletes who have mastered the basketball fundamentals. They know how to dribble, how to pass and how to shoot. They are expert basketball players. Because they are AWESOME athletes and players, they get to do silly goofy things on the basketball court to entertain the audience. They get to have fun and play outside the box. If they were not Great athletes and basket ball players to begin with, they would not be able to do the crazy things they do on the court.

Pablo Picasso said – Learn the rules like a PRO so you can break them like an ARTIST!

It’s the same thing in your restaurant. You and your people cannot be creative or innovative until you understand the Basic Fundamentals. Every new culinary student wants to do the fancy stuff, they watch the Food Network and want to be a master, and if we don’t let them do the cool stuff- they blame US for holding them back. Everybody wants to skip elementary school and go straight to college.

The second part of the problem is that most restaurant managers and chefs don’t go through the first FOUR steps of training and coaching with every team member. Most managers expect third graders to do college algebra, and when they can’t do it perfectly on the first try - they call them stupid.

Your job is to design the system – The HOW we do it here, then train and coach your people to do it over and over again – day after day after day after day!

I hope these FIVE steps of Training and Coaching help you improve your performance.

My Name is Peter Harman, I am the Food Guru. My goal is to start a restaurant revolution where every restaurant owner in America has the information they need to create financial freedom and live the life of their dreams.

I have written a book called Restauranting 101, it focuses on Eight Basic Fundamentals that will propel your restaurant into the top 5% of all restaurants. Restauranting 101 has the power to change your life and it's available on Amazon today. I encourage you to read it, and if you really like it, buy a few extra copies for your key people. These eight basic fundamentals have helped me and my teams accomplish amazing results, I’m sure it will help you and your people too.

If you have any questions or comments or an idea for a future podcast or blog post, please send me an email at I would love to hear from you.

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