“I feel like it’s always the people who take ownership and treat the place like it’s theirs,” he says of his successful mentors. “The best are the ones who were once associates themselves and know what to expect out of the person since they’ve been through the program.”
He also finds an attention to detail, low tolerance for foolishness and a regimented work style are other key qualities to a successful educator/mentor.
Although a stylist’s mentors change as they grow at Jamison Shaw, Codner has also identified the traits of a good mentor in her salon’s culture.
“They put their money where their mouth is and walk the walk themselves,” she says. “You have to use your ears twice as much as your mouth and be objective, remove your ego and care for the betterment of the person.”
In her mentors, Codner believes she is creating leaders who will bring up the salon culture and benefit the salon as a whole. And a big part of this is identifying the people who are and are not great mentors.
“There are people who take it more seriously than others,” says Codner. “It’s hard to mentor someone over how to satisfy a client if you aren’t doing it yourself. We do have some people who are not requested to be mentors.”
At New Identities, Rockquemore shares a similar philosophy.
“Mentors must realize the responsibilities they have—they are molding a young person. We want associates to emulate them, which can be a challenge,” he says.
He cites different learning styles as one of the biggest obstacles for a mentor. “Different things motivate them, in particular with Gen Y. Unless you have them explained to you, you walk around beating your head against the wall.”
At Umbrella, Hoang takes a more regimented view of pairing up mentors with new stylists.
“We all speak the same language and are very consistent,” he says. His mentors/educators have a full book with a good client base, are great at customer service and have the ability to educate on the spot about anything from a hair cut to a service issue.
But like Codner and Rockquemore, he has found choosing the right people to mentor is the key to success.
“Some people are really into being a mentor/educator and others are happy to come to the salon, do great work and go home,” he says. “The ones that do want to become a mentor, they see that future and give a lot back.”