Phorest FM Episode 112: Steve Gomez On Interdependent Leadership & Holding Empowering Meetings

Steve Gomez is recognised as one of the top business systems experts in the beauty and wellness industry. With over 24 years of business coaching experience combined with a background in marketing, communication and operations, he has personally supported hundreds of salons and spa businesses throughout his career. On episode 107 of the Phorest FM podcast, he discussed how to put emotions aside to coach based on data-backed decisions. Today, he’s back with one simple goal: to make every staff, salon owner and leader feel empowered by the meetings they attend and hold.


Stephen Gomez

Steve Gomez is recognised as one of the top business systems experts in the beauty and wellness industry. With over 24 years of business coaching experience combined with a background in marketing, communication and operations, he has personally supported hundreds of salons and spa businesses throughout his career. Steve specialises in helping salons increase sales, implements systems to enhance their financial and operational functionality and strengthens the culture of the business through leadership development.


Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 112. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer. This week, we’re picking things up right where we left them in episode 107 with salon business coach, Steve Gomez. We’ll be talking about, what I’m sure is everyone’s favourite topic, meetings, but more specifically, how to use them in a way that turns each staff member into leaders.

Killian Vigna: So, grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and join us weekly for all your salon’s business and marketing needs. Good morning, Zoe.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Morning, Killian.

Killian Vigna: So, interesting one here today. This man has managed to make his way into doing a part two here today.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes, Steve Gomez back for part two. So, episode 107 was all about understanding what your salon numbers were telling you and coaching accordingly, and I, personally, thought it was a very inspiring episode. I remember the last…

Killian Vigna: Very good, yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, remember the last bit? We discussed goal setting and where it should start, and it was all about finding your staff’s “why?”. That really, really stuck with me.

Introducing Steve Gomez [01:12]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So yeah, I suppose let’s get into it, right? Without further ado, welcome back to the show, Steve. Great to have you on!

Steve Gomez: Thank you very much to both of you. I’m really glad to be here, let’s jam!

Killian Vigna: Oh, he’s pure excited. Look at him; he’s sitting here wearing his Irish jersey. When I saw the camera turn on, I just was in stitches straight away, did not expect that.

And, that’s actually the jersey you bought here in the Guinness Storehouse in Ireland, for the Salon Owners Summit, isn’t that right?

Steve Gomez: That is correct. So, we have to represent; we have to channel that great energy, go back to great moments in life, and it’s all the things that we either wear or surround ourselves with, that are constant reminders of great things that we’re up to.

So yeah, this is a great thing that the three of us are up to, in support of people out there that need to grow and need to develop themselves, so let’s rock and roll.

Killian Vigna: And speaking of growing and developing, today’s topic is… It’s talking about that dreaded… The meetings, or what we… We like to call them one-to-ones, and you said that you want to make people excited about meetings.

Team meetings & one-to-ones: it starts with the leader [02:13]

Killian Vigna: So, I suppose straight off the bat, when you’re consulting with clients, what’s the first reaction that people have when you talk about meetings and one-to-ones?

Steve Gomez: Well, what’s interesting is… The typical reaction is the word that you shared, dreaded, so let’s just start with that. I believe that if somebody’s dreading a meeting, on either side, whether it’s the owner or manager, or it’s the employee, technician, contractor, whoever it is, come into the meeting, if they’re dreading it, that’s a symptom of something missing.

That’s all it is, so we need to stop and get aware and conscious of, “Okay, why am I feeling this way about having the meeting?” On either side of the coin; and if I’m feeling this way, what’s missing, that if we added it, would make this more inspiring? Would make this feel like a good use of my time?

It must begin with being conscious of why I’m relating to it that way, and on both sides, we then need to seek to understand the thinking, and what could we put in place to make this something that feels inspirational, and proactive, and supportive?

And, it has to start with the owner first. While it does take two to tango, the owner or manager, the leader, has to turn the mirror and look at themselves first, and say, “Okay, why am I dreading this?” Or, “Why do I feel that energy on the other side of the table? Why am I feeling that person not be as connected to this? Why am I feeling pushback or indifference? Or, somebody being impatient and just wanting to get through this? What am I doing all the time that’s just the same old same old? How can I break this up and shake it up? Who’s this all about, me or them?”

Those are the type of questions that a leader needs to look at and ask themselves so that they can shift it. So, it starts there, how am I relating to it?

Killian Vigna: And that’s exactly what you touched off when you said your three-tiered approach. You’ve got your values, and the one that you were talking about there is your perception. How do you perceive what you’re doing? Then, the last one you had was the habit and behaviour.

But yeah, it’s that perception that you have about yourself and how you’re going to get past that.

Steve Gomez: Correct.

Why we tend to dread meetings [04:31]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Do you feel like that often time, it’s due to a lack of structure in these meetings that’s causing most of these issues, and most of the dread, I suppose?

Steve Gomez: Completely. It’s… Well, it’s two-sided. There is either no structure, or in my experience, the structure is all about the owner and leader, and what they see, the owner and leader, and what they need. It’s typically one-sided.

So, I’m going to sit down with you, Killian, and we’re… It’s once a month, and let’s take a look at your numbers, and here’s what you’re producing, and here’s what need you to produce, what are you going to do differently? I need this out of you. It’s I, I, I, I, conversation, not a “we” conversation. There are no questions being asked, there is, “Here’s what I see you’re doing that I need you to do differently, or need you to do more of.”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s kind of like those job offers, right? Where someone is saying, “We have a job opening, here’s what you need. Do you want to work in this place, this place, this is what we’re looking for.” Whereas, if you switch the job offer to, “Do you want to work on your career?” And make it a focus on the actual stuff, and why they would benefit from joining that team, it changes the whole conversation.

Steve Gomez: It really does. To me, that… The more I can find out about how you’re thinking, the more I could find out about why you’re inspired about something, and maybe why you’re not inspired about something else inside of your job and what you have to do. The more I can help guide and shape you, I can help direct you to where you say you want to go, and if I’m directing you to where you say you want to go, I increase the odds of you actually doing something different to make that happen.

If I’m just telling you what I see and what I expect out of you, you’re going to shake your head and yes me to death, when maybe, in the back of your mind, you’re agreeing with half of what I’m saying, so it really… Really has to go back to, “What’s in it for them? What are they committed to?” And, if you over there know that I’m genuinely committed to helping you get that, more often than not, you’re going to listen to my ideas after I find out what you’re thinking, but it has to start with your thinking first.

Structuring an effective & empowering meeting or one-to-one [06:50]

Killian Vigna: So, how do you structure the meeting? I suppose you’re saying a good bit of focus should be kind of on whom you are doing the one-to-one with. Prior to that meeting, okay? Should an agenda be put in place, or should there be objectives outlaid for that meeting? There’s nothing worse than being called to a meeting, and you don’t know what it’s about, or you don’t know what’s going to be discussed.

Steve Gomez: Yes. So, I’m going to take a two-pronged approach to this. I’m going to answer in the immediate, and then I’m going to backtrack to the genesis and beginning of the whole thing, to begin with.

So, in the immediate, I have a system that I wrote that I attached to my interdependent leadership book, and that is called “The Planning and Review Form.” So, this monthly planning and review form is all about taking the time to reflect, and in this reflection form, it should be handed out to the team member at least 24 to 48 hours before the meeting, and they have to fill it out, answer the questions, and come prepared with it.

So, the first part of the meeting, if I’m meeting with you, Killian, you’re turning this in, and we’re sitting down and going through your answers. So, what’s happening is, it’s giving you the chance to reflect on your own time and space before the meeting, and then for me, the leader, I’m dialling in immediately at the start to you, and what you’re looking at, thinking about, and relating to your position within the company.

The questions that I wrote on this reflection form are things like this:“What are three things you love about working here? What’s one way that we, as a business, can improve, and what’s your idea or solution? What are three things that you think you’re doing well? And, what’s one thing you want to improve upon in the next 30 days, and what’s the step you’re going to take?”

Now, if we were to break those questions down, and get into the psychology of it, “What are three things you like about working here?” We’re starting with a positive. I have you not focus on things that you are struggling with, or things that maybe you’re frustrated with about the salon, I’m having you start with what you like about being here, what you appreciate about being here, what do you love about being here?

We’re starting with positive and affirming thought processes, so then, I get to dance with you on those answers. “Tell me a little bit more about this. Why do you love that? How long have you felt this way? Did something happen to have you feel this way?” So now, I’m digging into, “What did we actually do right?”

Because, by nature, us humans can be very critical first, so I want to be able to isolate what the heck we did do right that has this person happy about that, so we can keep replicating it. The next question comes right on top of it, which is; “How can we improve as a company? And, what’s your idea and solution?”

So, there are two parts to that. There are actually three parts to that — one, coming off the heels of positive thought process. The person’s going to be looking at answering that subconsciously in a more empowered way. Now, it’s not going to land as just some complaint, because they just wrote all these things they like, so now, without them even knowing it subconsciously, their brain is thinking more proactively, instead of a negative or complaining way.

And, because I’m asking your idea, I’m edifying who you are and that you’re important to the salon, and that you matter, and I want to know what you think and what you see. So, as you answer that question, then that allows you to feel heard, and it allows you to contribute.

The second part of that question is; “What’s your solution?” Because, if there’s no solution thought of by the person answering the question, then they’re basically are just laying a complaint at my feet, that now I have to solve, and while I might have ideas around it, I want you to put your thinking cap on. I want… If you see something that maybe I’m missing as a leader, tell me, show me, and what’s your idea? Because you work here, and you’re probably going to have to be the one that has to implement it, so give me some ideas.

So, we’re challenging somebody to think positively, “Where can we grow? What’s your idea?” Now, we have it shift to them personally. So, “What are three things you think you’re doing well?” And, the keyword in that is “think,” because if I come into a meeting, and I’m not asking questions, and let’s say that, Zoe, you and I are meeting, and I see that you can improve your retail performance, but I’m not checking in with you, and I’m just coming in and telling you that you need to… “Here’s your numbers, your retail to service percentage is at 15%, you need to be at 20%.”

And I’m showing this to you. You might, again, shake your head yes to me, or cross those arms and get defensive, and all that stuff, but when I’m asking you what you think, first, and you write down, “I’m doing great at retail.” Well, thank goodness I asked that question first because now I see that you think you’re doing great at retail, where I was going to come into the meeting and talk about how you need to get better at it.

So, that… So, that shifts me, as a leader, to then say, “Okay, so you wrote down that you’re doing great at retail, so tell me, specifically, a little bit more about that. What’s your experience? What’s happening?”

“Well, I was always struggling to sell that colour shampoo and conditional to my colour clients, and in the last couple of weeks, I focused on it, and I’ve had a breakthrough. I had a couple of people buy it.”

“Awesome, give me an example of a few of those people.”

“Well, I worked with Killian, because he really wanted to accentuate that red… Those red curly locks on top of his head, so I recommended the colour, and he went for it, and he… I recommended the colour conditioner, and blah, blah, blah, and he said yes, and it made me feel great.”

“That’s an awesome breakthrough, now how can you make that applicable to other parts of your retail experience? Would you say that you can do that all around your retail?” Yes.

So, it shifts. That’s the power of finding out what somebody thinks they’re doing well. It gets me out of my perception, and it gets me into theirs, and then I could dance with their thinking, and really get more related, and really shift how I coach, instead of going in and, maybe, being potentially abrupt, and then cutting somebody off, and making them feel disempowered.

And then, the last question is; “What are you working on in the next 30 days, and what step are you going to take?” And that’s critical because now, we’re getting into the future. So, we’ve done nothing but positive and empowering things throughout, asked your ideas, where are you working on and being strong? How do you want to improve? All right, now, how do you want to improve? What are you going to do about it? Would you like my ideas?

My ideas come where? At the end. But, by that point, the person’s ready to listen. Who’s it all about? It’s all about the other person. It’s not about me, the leader, it’s about them. And if these conversations are being had once a month, once every six weeks, and we’re getting into the psychology of how somebody’s thinking and relating, we have a really empowered breakthrough with that person. We’re guiding them; we’re helping them build; it’s all about them.

That creates a dynamic shift in, “oh, the dreaded meeting.” Now, it becomes about, “I can’t wait to sit down and talk with my mentor.”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, it becomes more of a conversation than telling.

Steve Gomez: Correct.

Killian Vigna: You’ve just built a leader from the ground up.

Steve Gomez: Yes.

Killian Vigna: They’ve come to you with everything. They’ve told you what they think they’re doing good, told you what they plan to do next. You haven’t really had to do anything, only just, I suppose, sit there and kind of direct them, or like you said, dance with them.

Steve Gomez: And, think about this, Killian, based on what you just said, even if at the end of that going through the form, they haven’t said, or we haven’t addressed, a couple of things that I see that I want to address, then I can address them at the end, and by that time, I have somebody who is that much more receptive to listen to other areas that I see they can improve. The whole course of that has set it up for the person now to be open and wanting to hear, realising that it’s all about them, and I’ve got their interest at heart, and “I’m here to help you, so please share your opinions. What do you think?”

It just recreates the thought process. The other thing is, in order to do this, a leader has to honour the time, so if that meeting’s in the schedule, it has to be honoured, and it can’t be like, “Oh, a colour client just wanted to book at the last minute, so let’s cancel this and do that.” Only emergency things that are drastic should get in the way of it, like, “The water heater broke, and we immediately have to make phone calls to get it fixed, and I got to do that.”

Some things happen that can get in the way, but they should be very minimal, and it should be in a quiet, uninterrupted space. If that phone is turned up, and the owner’s looking down at it, if the knock is coming on the door, and the interruption’s being allowed, those are disrespectful to the time that that person deserves from the leader.

I coach my clients that they should be taking their employees off-site. Go to the coffee house down the street, go somewhere outside of the norm, so that it’s one-on-one. It’s in a different space, and it creates more intimacy.

Killian Vigna: Couldn’t agree more there.

Coaching questions & techniques for salon owners and managers [16:07]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: You just made me think about something. Earlier this year, I read “The Coaching Habit” by Michael… I’m not 100% sure how to pronounce his last name.

Steve Gomez: Come on, Zoe. Come on!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Michael Bungay Stanier? I don’t know. I’d know how to pronounce it in French but in English… Anyways, he was listing off seven essential questions to coach, and now I’m curious to hear about which one would be your favourite.

So, he had, “What’s on your mind? And what else? What’s the real challenge for you? What do you want? How can I help? If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?” and, “What was most useful for you?”

Steve Gomez: I would go with all of the above.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh, really?

Steve Gomez: I love… Look, the more questions you have, the better. I had the honour of learning somebody years back, and he gave me some great coaching, and he was coaching me to be a coach, and he said, “Steve, as you prepare to have a conversation with any of your clients, or if you’re teaching them how to coach their team, as you go into the conversation, you minimally should have three questions that you’re prepared to ask, and each question, naturally, based on the answer you get, is going to lead to other sub-questions, and typically, you might not even get to those three prepared questions, because the first one or two, and the sub-questions thereafter inside the dialogue is going to flush out and bring out a lot of great dialogue.”

But, being prepared with questions is critical. That’s why, when I wrote the reflection form and created that, if you think about it, there are four basic questions in there. So… And, we’re giving it to someone and having them think about it beforehand, so they’re coming in prepared, and it’s all about them.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Steve Gomez: So, you just gave a line of seven questions that, if we had a half-hour to meet, we might even get through all seven of those. Just… All right, what was the first one, again?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: What’s on your mind?

Steve Gomez: What’s on your mind? Okay, so I don’t know if I’d lead a meeting off with that because then that might put somebody… “Well, what do you mean what’s on my mind? What’s on my mind is, why am I in this meeting?” Right?

So, I might start with a few of the other questions, and then use that question somewhere else in that line, just as a way, if I see somebody stuck, that’s a great question to ask. “Well, tell me what’s really on your mind.”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, get the conversation going.

Steve Gomez: It’s a wonderful question, but it’s… To me, it’s not a conversation starter as much as it’s something to help unblock, get somebody unstuck. Another great…

Here’s a great coaching technique; a lot of times you’re going to ask somebody in a meeting a question, and you’re going to get that immediate answer; “I don’t know.” And, the I don’t know is one of two things going on, you either have somebody who’s genuinely stuck and doesn’t come up with an immediate answer, so the conditioned response is to say, “I don’t know,” so I don’t have to think hard, and now it’s back on your shoulders to tell me.

Or, the “I don’t know” means I’m indifferent, I don’t care, this doesn’t… This isn’t important to me, so yeah, I don’t know.

Killian Vigna: Putting up a wall.

Steve Gomez: Yeah. Yes.

So, when you get the “I don’t know,” the best thing to do is say, “Well, if you did know, what would it be? If you did know, what do you think?” And literally, I’ll be on calls with clients, and I’ll keep getting… I was on a call last week, and for five minutes, we were going through the “I don’t knows,” and as a coach, you have to stick with it, literally.

“Well, if you did know, tell me. I’m not letting you off the hook. Come on, think. Give me something. I’m not looking for the right answer; I’m looking for you to think about it. I’m not here to tell you, I’m here to have you think and grow, so if you did know, what do you think it would be?”

So now, that person knows that I’m fighting for them to grow. I’m not here to just tell you everything; there’s no growth in that. I don’t want just a good soldier on the field; I want a thinker that sees the next moves happen in the battle.

So, if you did know, what would it be? If you did know, what would it be? Over and over until that person comes up with something, and what’s amazing is, usually, in that line of questioning, you’re going to find somebody popping like popcorn within a minute or two, sometimes even quicker, because they just have to get out of their own way, and if you have the indifferent person, the one that doesn’t care that’s just throwing the wall up, the, “If you did know, what do you think?”

They’re going to keep throwing the wall up, which is great, because now you can say, “Okay, I’m sensing that you really don’t want to have this conversation, so I’m putting that question aside, and now let’s talk about this. What’s missing here? What’s going on? Why am I feeling this energy? Let’s talk about that.”

Which is even better, because now we’re getting into the truth, now we’re getting into authenticity, now we’re having somebody share what may be really going on behind the veil, because a lot of people just come in and put perfume on a pig, right? That’s just trying to cover up the stink that’s not there, but we all smell it. Wait a minute, okay? Let’s quit masking, let’s dance here.

And, as a leader, leaders have to be willing to work through this, because you can’t be a dictator, and you can’t be a doormat, you have to walk that fine line.

So, I challenge any salon owner or leader listening to this, I challenge you to think about what your natural tendency is, because if your natural tendency is dictator, or to just take the bull by the horn and run with it, then you need to dial you down, because the energy is going to be felt, and if you’re more of the person that doesn’t like confrontation, then you have to understand that…
Notice the word confrontation; it’s just a conversation. You’re the one shifting it to having it be a confrontation; it doesn’t have to be that way. So, when you’re going into meetings, you have to check yourself before you potentially wreck yourself, you know what I’m saying?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Nice plug there. Nice plug there.

Steve Gomez: I mean, you have to be able to notice how you are relating to it, and ask yourself why, and if you can’t get beyond it, this is why working with coaches are critical, because people like myself, we come in, and we help you work through how you’re relating to it and help you put the systems in place, and do the work, and get the courage, and put the size 12 foot on the butt to help you move through this.

I don’t think any of us, especially as we’re in adulthood, are going to change how we naturally relate to things. What is critical, is that we get conscious of how we’re relating to it, so we can choose to think differently in the moment, but we’re always going to have that tendency to feel that anxiety about something, or to feel that aggression, and want to go, “Oh, my god. I can’t believe that Zoe did this! Zoe, get in here and… “

People are going to be one of two ways, really. They’re going to be that way, or they’re going to be quiet and keep it to themselves, and then it’s going to bubble over, right? So, you got to notice how you’re relating to this as a human being first, take the title leader off, and look at yourself as a person, and be responsible for the energy you’re bringing to the meeting so that you shift you so that you become…

There’s an opening there. You become open to the person, you accept that they’re human, too, and just because they don’t get it at the way you do, doesn’t mean there’s anything good, bad, right, or wrong, about it. It’s about understanding their actions, or thinking is the way it is and helping them shift over to how you see things. This is a learned practice, so if these are recorded, and people can listen back to this, and you’re one of those owners that really is on one side of the coin, not kind of in the middle, keep listening to this over, and over, and over, again.

Keep listening to this, so you can let what I’m saying to you sink in because all the growth you’re looking for lies inside of you shifting how you relate so that you can help others do the same. That’s where the magic is.

Recognising when a staff member isn’t willing to be coached [23:58]

Killian Vigna: Have you ever had to devise, I suppose, an exit plan? So, you are just stuck with that one stubborn person that won’t give you anything.

Steve Gomez: Yeah. So, ultimately, there has to be accountability, so if somebody’s not opening up, then you just have to be honest.

So, it could go like this; “So, Killian… So, Killian, obviously there’s something there. I’m not feeling that there’s a willingness on your part to share with me what’s going on, and I respect that. However, I’m going to have you clock out for the rest of the day, and I’m going to have you go home and really think about what’s occurring for you, and what’s important for you.

I value that you’re here, however, at the end of the day, we have to work with each other, and there needs to be open lines of dialogue, and there needs to be clear communication. Something’s missing, and I’m asking, and you’re not sharing, so I invite you to go home and think about it, and then circle back around, and we can touch base on this first thing in morning, or if you feel you want to give me a holler later, we can do that. If I have the time, we’ll make that happen. But obviously, something’s missing, and we need to figure it out.”

If you don’t stand for something as a leader, you fall for anything. What are you standing for? It’s a great quote that I heard years ago, and it’s so powerful. I’m not going to sit there and beat a dead horse over the head. I’m just not going to do that as a leader. Also, think of it like this; the analogy of the bull and the matador. Are you chasing the emotional red cape that somebody’s laying out for you as a leader, or are you going to get the cape back?

So, at that moment, it’s taking the cape back and saying sorry, but if you’re unwilling to dance with me, you need to check out for a minute and really reflect and think about the why, and let’s have a dialogue because, at that moment, I don’t know. It could be me, it could be them, maybe they have something going on in their personal life that’s impacting them, but I’m done fishing. I can only go so far, so I have to then take control back, and say, “This is how it’s going to go.”

And, if a leader is unwilling to do that, then they’re allowing that person to be in control of the relationship, and they’re giving their power away to it, and also, owners are going to do that because “Oh well, Zoe’s bringing in $2,000 a week, and I don’t want to push her, because if I get her upset, she might leave.”

And, if an owner’s thinking that way, then you’re allowing the almighty dollar to control the conversation, and you’re selling your integrity down the river, and there’s not one dollar or one person that’s worth that, period.

Coaching recently hired staff members [26:32]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well, let’s talk about the why. When you have a new staff member coming in, joining a team, or even a new manager coming in and joining the team, sometimes it does take a little while to get up to speed with, first of all, just getting to know people and jelling in with the team and the people you’re going to work with on the daily, and then also, just understanding how the salon works in general.

So, how… Where do you start your coaching journey if you’re an existing manager coaching a new staff member? And, on the flip side of that, if you’re a new manager joining an existing team?

Steve Gomez: Okay. Zoe, thank you for bringing me back to the point that I forgot to make!

Killian Vigna: If you want to take a moment to think and reflect?

Steve Gomez: Exactly. Yes, thank you, Killian. We’ll now take a 10-second pause, queue the music.

Killian Vigna: The elevator music.

Steve Gomez: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, mine would be heavy metal elevator music, but anyway, here’s the thing; if we go back to the genesis of how the relationship begins, it all comes back to how you’re recruiting, hiring, training, someone. It all comes back to the type of questions you ask in the interview process.

Killian can be an amazing colourist, and he can have a full book, but if I’m not asking those subjective questions to understand how he thinks and what his personality is like, if I’m not listening in those questions for if he’s saying a lot of I and not enough we, then I might be missing some of the things that are then going to present themselves two or three months down the road.

There’s always that dating period, and there’s always that… The first couple months of a marriage period with employees where everything’s great, and everybody loves everything, and then behaviours and habits begin to show up, and thinking and perception begins to show up. So, it really goes all the way back to the type of questions that you’re asking inside the interview process that help you increase the odds of finding the right type of thinker to be on the team with you.

From there, it then gets into orientation, and one of the things that I see is that there’s not a empowered systematic integration into the culture. The orientation process, in and of itself, needs to have checkpoints where the educators on the team that are helping that new staff member really come up to speed and be part of the culture, need to be having meetings daily, beginning and end of day, with that person.

The leader, manager, owner, whoever it is in that role, needs to be meeting with that person minimally once a week if they’re not the active educator. There needs to be a structured approach that also will teach the new hire that, “Here’s how we operate here. Here’s how we communicate here.”

So, to me, it gets back to that, and when I’m getting the team more involved in this, it’s not just me trying to figure it out, based on the business size, some salons may be really small, and if you’re listening, and it’s just you, then it’s just you for now. Handle! If it’s you and one or two other people, you got to do what you got to do, but at any rate, it comes back to systems.

Do I have a progression? Is it written down? Is it in a calendar? And, am I presenting that to the new hire, in a way that shows them I’m organised? We had a great interview, you sold me on you, blue skies, apple pies, right on, everything looks great, but now here’s where the rubber’s going to meet the road. Here’s what I’m expecting of you, you told me that you take the ball and run with it, and work independently. Well, here’s your schedule.

And, a lot of times, we don’t have that inside of a salon environment, so then the new hire’s kind of standing around waiting to be told what to do instead of following a schedule and holding themselves accountable. So, there’s a lot of things like that, Zoe, that I think need to be in place, that can take some of those symptoms and get them turned around into solutions.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And, what about if you already have an established team, but you’re bringing in someone from the outside in a managerial position?

Steve Gomez: If I’m bringing somebody outside into a managerial position, I’m going to get the team involved in helping me to identify why we need to bring somebody in from the outside. I’m going to get them involved in coming up with, what would be the things we would need somebody, that we’re going to respect as a leader, a; to do for us, the type of person they need to be, who’s going to be the type of person that inspires you to push them?

And then, in the interview process, I would get team members involved in that process, too. The more involved the team is, we increase the percentages of them wanting to then follow through and execute upon whatever the initiative is, whether it’s hiring somebody, or bringing in a new product line, or whatever it is. So, I’d get the team involved, and then when I’m bringing that new manager in, I’d have them shadow with each team member, I would have them get to understand what makes those people tick, and I would be holding them, as a new leader, accountable to come back and tell me observations, and what they’re going to do about it.

Show me what you think, tell me how we can make our culture better. What are your ideas? So, I’d be getting them involved more that way. A lot of times, an owner will hire a manager without the team’s input, and then the team’s just going to have whatever resistance to change they normally have, and they’re going to have, maybe, resistance to not knowing that person. There’s no built-in respect.

So, there needs to be some level of built-in respect, and an owner shouldn’t hang on their team’s every word with that, and say, “Oh, my god. Two out of my ten people didn’t like the person; I’m not going to hire them.”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Steve Gomez: Ultimately, as a leader, I still need to make my decision, but I do want team involvement because it just… Again, it creates that interdependence.

Killian Vigna: So, how do you know… I’m the salon owner; I’m going to be… You say I have to coach the manager. As a manager, I have to coach the staff members, but how do you know you’re the right person actually to coach someone else? Especially if you’re promoted to a senior role where you’ve never had to coach someone before. Does that not feel like a lot of weight for them?

Steve Gomez: Naturally, it could. So, I need to understand how much of it actually it is. I use… The scale method quite often, and the scale method is, okay, Zoe, tell me on a scale of one to 10, how you relate to having to coach a peer who now you’re leading and managing? A one would be; “Yeah, I feel no confidence at all. I’m completely freaked out, head in the sand. Can I clock out and go home? Can we have this conversation at the pub?”

A five would mean; “Well, it really depends on the person; it depends on the circumstance; it depends on what I have to talk to them about.”

A 10 would be; “I don’t really feel I have any problem with it at all. I’m really ready to go make it happen. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to make a mistake, but I feel comfortable and confident.”

So then, Zoe would say, “Yeah, I’m a six.” So then, I would say, “Okay, well what has you be a six, and not a five, or a four, or a three, or a two, or a one?”

So, I’m starting with the strength first. “What has you be a six and not lower?”

“Well, you know? I really feel confident. I have great working relationships with everybody, and we all have a lot of respect for each other, so I feel really comfortable with everybody in the salon right now.”

“Okay, great. So then, what would have you be a seven instead of a six?” Notice how I’m not trying to get a ten, I just want to go one wrong up. “What would have you increase to a seven?”

“Well, I’m new to the role, so I need to have a better understanding of what I’d be coaching them on.”

“Excellent, let me get my shit together and help you with that.”

And then, an eight would… “All right, so what would have it be an eight?”

“Well, you know, different circumstances may get in the way for me, and maybe if I have to coach somebody on their behaviour, that might be a little bit more challenging for me than coaching them on getting better at coloured… Or offering retail.”

“Okay, awesome. So, let’s dig into some behaviour work together. Let’s go through some scenarios. What would be some of the things that you think would get you stuck, and plug you, so I can help you work on getting unplugged. Would that be beneficial, Zoe?”

And then Zoe’s like, “Yeah, absolutely.” So, that’s the way, to me. I think the scale method is always awesome because it creates a little bit more of… It puts a structure into it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Steve Gomez: And, now I understand Zoe’s opinion of herself, and it’s kind of a safe way of doing it, and now it’s like, “How do we raise from a seven to an eight, to a nine over time?” It’s not about perfection, it’s about gradual progression and growth, and if I were to end with anything you guys, meetings don’t have to be something that we dread. Meetings can always be magical. They must be about elevating culture, they must be about supporting somebody to grow and move beyond what they’re capable of. Make them fun. Make them different, get the team involved, put them in charge of doing things. Shift things up, be creative. If you’re just doing the same thing month in and month out, no wonder you’re getting the results you’re getting, and people are like, “Why am I going to have to sit here now for the next half hour?”

So, be creative. Ask the questions, make it about them, notice how you think. Shift you first, and then you increase the chances that they shift as well, and be patient with the process. And lastly, let go of your expectations that you’re going to go in with this plan, and it’s going to go this way, and then when it doesn’t, you’re upset that it didn’t go that way. It’s not about you as much as it’s about all. And sometimes, people just aren’t going to get it, and they might not get it right away.

Be patient, accept where people are; accept where they’re not. Accept how they think; accept how they don’t. Accept how they relate and how they don’t; accept what shows up for them and what doesn’t. When you allow people to be where they’re at, you then, can dance with them and hold them to account, and help them continue to grow.

When you come from that place of acceptance, you become more patient, and with patient energy, you become more empowered, and with empowerment, you become a better leader, and people feel that vibe from you, they resonate with it, and they want more of it.

So, take your time, it’s not a race. It’s about being open and supportive, and loving people for where they are at on the journey, and allowing them to continue to gradually progress into the highest iteration of themselves.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Wow. I can’t… I can’t add anything to that. Honestly, both episodes, you’ve ended on such a high note. Yeah, I’m just smiling here listening to all of that.

Steve Gomez: Well, thank you!

Killian Vigna: The very same! I was going to say, I have nothing to add. If there’s anything to take away from that show, we’re just going to play that last bit out, and I think, on that note, we’re going to say thanks so much again, Steve, for joining us on the show. It’s been a pleasure.

Steve Gomez: Thanks to both of you, it’s my honour. Love you guys, love what you’re up to, this work is so important, it’s so critical. It really provides such a high level of support for people out there, and it’s so very needed, so keep up the good work, you guys.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well, thank you so much, and we’ll put all of the links to your business coaching into the show’s notes, as well, and again, thanks so much for joining us.

Killian Vigna: Have a great day, Steve!

Steve Gomez: Thanks, team!

Inside Phorest: reflections, upcoming events & final words [38:02]

Killian Vigna: So, that was Steve Gomez on interdependent leadership and holding empowering meetings. I think everyone, after listening to this episode, is going to be hosting more effective empowering meetings and building a great team of leaders, themselves. Some very good content covered there today.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, and it ties back into #30Days2Grow, how that team this year is building unified teams and coming together, working together on these challenges that you face in the salon, so this one is one to bookmark and just get back to and listen to every now and then.

Killian Vigna: I mean, he made me excited to want to book a one-to-one with him. I should have… He booked himself in for another episode last time. I should’ve booked in for a one-to-one with him. I missed out on that opportunity.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And… But hey, listen guys. So, the second half of the show, we don’t too many announcements. One that’s a regular one, we have the Salon Mentorship Hub ready there for you to connect with coaches and consultants that we trust, so if you’ve been working on some stuff and you’re feeling stuck, everyone on the Hub is happy to help you out with a 15 to 30 minute consultation, free consultation.

You don’t need to be a Phorest client to avail of this. Essentially, what you do, is you go onto You can have a look through topics, or through mentors, depending on if you have already an idea of what you’re looking for, choose whom you want to connect with, and on what topic, and once that’s done, you will fill out the form, you’ll check your emails, and you can book yourself in then with that consultant on a date and time that suits you for the 15 to 30 minute free consultation.

Currently, on the Hub, we have coaches and consultants, Valerie Delforge, Susan Routledge, Danielle Boucher, Richard McCabe, Phil Jackson, Jennifer Swaine, Gloria Murray, David and Nicole Barnett, Stefania Rossi, Katie Lowndes, Susie K. Brooks. So, again, to book your free consultation, head over to

Today, we are actually at the Salon Owners Summit Roadshow, so look forward to an episode live from this event next week, and, well, that’s all we’ve got for this week.

So, as always, if you want to share your thoughts on this episode, or have any suggestions, please send us an email at, or leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. We genuinely love feedback and are always looking for ways to improve the show. Otherwise, have a wonderful week, and we’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Related links

Steve Gomez, Salon/Spa Business Coaching, Trainings & Seminars

Interdependent Leadership To Improve Team Culture & Profits

Book a free 15 to 30-minute consultation on The Salon Mentorship Hub


This episode was edited and mixed by Audio Z: Great music makes great moments. Montreal’s cutting-edge post-production studio for creative minds looking to have their vision professionally produced and mixed. Tune in every Monday for a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, roundups of our most recent salon owners marketing tips & tricks, all the latest in and around Phorest and what upcoming webinars or events you can join.

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