When you first started in this industry, did someone encourage you to pursue a career in the beauty business? Maybe you were a receptionist, and the salon owner included you in cutting classes because they recognized a spark within you. Or you were a new stylist when a more experienced pro took the time to help improve your form or show you advanced techniques. Perhaps somebody gave you business advice when starting your salon or is your current advisor when you hit speedbumps along the way. If any of these scenarios ring true for you, then you know what it’s like to have a mentor help you in your career.
So, what exactly is mentoring?
By definition, mentoring is when a more experienced person helps a less experienced one develop and grow professionally and personally. In the salon industry, a mentee – the person being mentored – could be a student, apprentice, new stylist, or someone looking to start their career or take their existing one to the next level. A mentor is someone you can look to for everything from advice to technical help and ongoing support. It can be anyone, including an instructor, educator, salon owner, or even another stylist who selflessly offers their time and advice.
What’s the difference between teaching and mentoring?
Teaching is all about following a curriculum and reaching specific goals, while mentoring is more personal and focuses on understanding the person and their goals. Teaching has a clear start and end, while mentoring is more flexible and can be done anywhere and with anyone. Mentoring can be more impromptu and personal, which means it can be tailored to fit the person being helped.
Why is mentoring important?
Studies show that professionals in many industries who receive guidance from mentors have better chances of achieving success and advancing their careers. For example, 71% of people with a mentor say their company provides them with good opportunities to advance in their career, compared with 47% of those without a mentor. In another study, 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if they were offered opportunities to learn and grow.
According to Forbes, people with mentors are happier at their current jobs than those without. 87% of mentors and mentees say they feel empowered by their mentoring relationships and have developed greater confidence. People who served as mentors also experienced lower levels of anxiety and described their jobs as more meaningful than those who did not mentor.
Mentoring is also good for business. An article by Mentorcloud stated that 70% of businesses reported increased productivity due to mentoring, while 55% felt that mentoring positively impacted their profits.
Many large corporations see the value of mentorships. For example, 84% of U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 100% of Fortune 50 companies have mentoring programs. Read that again: 100%!
So, is having a mentoring program important for your business? According to Forbes, 76% of people think mentors are important, but only 37% have one.
Pay it Forward
Based on these statistics, having a mentoring program in your salon can help new talent grow and empower others to share their experience. If you’re ready to implement a program, consider the best model for your team. Do you want to offer a one-on-one mentor-to-mentee model or work in smaller circles of mentees led by key mentors?
Although some salon owners naturally act as mentors, you likely have experienced team members with much to share. Try to foster a teaching mentality into your salon culture and split the tasks amongst your team. Give mentors guidelines to work with and formally announce the program to your team when ready. Pair mentors and mentees and have periodic review sessions to help guide and strengthen the relationships.
The most critical element for the mentor is offering valuable insight and guidance while demonstrating care and understanding for the mentee. Having an open mind and being willing to teach are great places to start, but ensuring you’re doing right by your mentees is most important.
A recent article by Salon Magazine mentioned that some mentoring methods might be more successful than others.
“At my current salon, the moment a stylist joins our team, we let them know that, as a senior stylist, it’s their duty to train the assistants and apprentices,” said Reema Jaber, a salon owner, hairstylist, and ambassador for Schwarzkopf Professional based in Mississauga, Ontario. “Every day, a senior stylist mentors an apprentice, and every day, we rotate. That way, the apprentices get to absorb as much knowledge from as many different people as possible.”
In the article, Jaber added that her biggest advice to mentors is to share their knowledge without expectations. “Sharing with love, an open mind, and an open heart without expecting anything in return is a surefire way to be a successful mentor.”
If you are a suite or booth renter, a mentor can help guide you through many aspects of your business and keep you on the right path. Remember that their time and guidance are the most valuable assets a mentor can give you. To maximize the success of this relationship, come in with an open mind, be willing to learn, and put in the required work.
If you need help finding a mentor or you wish to become one, look to industry associations and other professionals for mentoring opportunities. For example, Beauty Changes Lives offers a Mentorship Matters program. The program is dedicated to strengthening the confidence and skill set of licensed beauty professionals looking to advance their careers.
Mentoring is a valuable tool that has been practiced for many years and has proven beneficial in several ways. Are you ready to implement a mentoring program in your salon?