When Susan deGrandpré, author of Common- Sense Workplace Mentoring, was getting her hair cut at one of the Acapello Salons & Spas in southern Maine, she wasn’t planning on studying the organizational structure of the salon. But the consultant soon found herself observing the salon’s owner June Juliano and how she used delegating and mentoring as strategies to grow the company. “Her business remains entrepreneurial even as it expands thanks to her creativity in developing her employees,” says deGrandpré. “June is an industry expert, a technical expert and a business expert. With the growth of her business, she realized that she cannot be the only expert. It made sense to her to mentor her employees to realize their various potentials.”
Until recently, Juliano had managers at her three Acapello locations, as well as her Men’s Room salon, but felt the role seemed too heavy for people who gravitate toward artistry and guest service. So she transformed the leadership role to one of “salon coach.” Individuals applied for the coach jobs, and were carefully selected according to their strengths and aspirations. “The goal is to get everyone to where they want to be,” says Juliano. “I partner with people who want to be successful.”
Building a Coach
Learning to be an Acapello coach is a rigorous process. Their job is to oversee their individual locations, learn the business, understand how benchmarks affect the business, and take responsibility for reaching goals. They do not do bookkeeping, although understanding productivity goals numerically is critical. They then coach and lead the salon’s staff to achieve these goals. Coaches must become as knowledgeable and skilled as Juliano in delivering world-class customer service, creating corresponding goals, and leading the staff members to excel ever-shifting guest expectations. Juliano has equated the role to “super cheerleader.”
“The coaches’ team meets once a month as a group,” says deGrandpré. “They plan new projects, report back on prior projects and observe each other’s work. June designs project challenges to build on the coaches’ strengths and at the same time pull them beyond comfort.”
Juliano roots every class session in Acapello’s vision and mission, and how to live them. “Our mission at Acapello is to explore our every gift and talent, never wasting our potential to bring goodness, beauty, laughter and light to our guest and the world around us,” she shares.