A few weeks ago, our Founder and CEO Ronan Perceval wrote an article relating some of the lessons he’s learnt along his career building Phorest Salon Software. The most important takeaway was perhaps what this excerpt explains: “[…] whether it be to help you overcome different setbacks or just to plan for the future, as your circumstances change, you might feel the need to talk to people with different experiences.” Different people, different experiences. That’s all well and good, but how do you build and nurture a mentoring relationship with one salon mentor – let alone with two, three or even four?
The Problem With Coaching
Before I start explaining a straightforward 5-step formula, let’s talk about coaching and mentoring in general. Many readers might be thinking what we thought at one point: “coaching doesn’t work.”
But to understand how it can work, we must know that a business coach or a salon mentor isn’t there to do your hard work. And that’s why most people feel like coaching is ineffective. But what’s the point in someone doing all the work for you? Like the adage says it so well, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
The thing is, coaches and mentors are there to help you see more clearly when you’re stuck in a rut.
And according to Michael Bungay Stanier, they should be asking you 7 questions. And these 7 questions should be aimed at helping you figure out a solution to your roadblock.
- What’s on your mind?
- And what else?
- What’s the real challenge here for you?
- What do you want?
- How can I help?
- If you’re saying Yes to this, what are you saying No to?
- What was most useful for you?
Turning A New Or Existing Contact Into A Salon Mentor
Reaching out to someone to get help is already hard in itself, let alone reaching out to someone you don’t know much. Let me tell you a secret: finding a mentor doesn’t happen overnight (and if it did for you, please leave a comment on this post so I can get you on the Phorest FM podcast to talk about it!).
To find the right salon mentor for you, you must first identify why you feel like you need one and what roadblock you’re trying to get past. Then, try to identify people who might have been through what you’ve been through or are in more mature job roles. If you’re not too sure where to start, LinkedIn is a great place to start looking for connections. Or like Ronan did mention in his article on mentorship, we’ve worked with plenty of kind and talented coaches and consultants (Susan Routledge, David Barnett, Gavin Hoare, Phil Jackson, Valerie Delforge, Simon Lotinga, Alan Austin Smith, Richard McCabe).
Once you’ve identified a few “ideal” mentors (it could be another salon owner, someone in the visual merchandising field, retailing industry, etc.), then the fun – or so to speak – begins. And yes, I intentionally made that plural. Not everyone will answer, and that’s okay. Plus, you don’t want to take up too much of someone’s time. 😉
1. Do Your Homework
Blame it on years of doing phone, written, live or podcast interviews within the realm of various industries, I’m a big fan of researching who I’m about to talk to. Not in a “stalker” kind of way – by all means, please don’t stalk your potentially future mentor.
No, by “do your homework,” all I mean is, put in the same effort in researching who the person is and what they’ve done/what they’re working on as you would when looking into a salon or spa in which you want to apply for a job. It captures the attention and warms up the person you’re about to introduce yourself to.
2. Find Out Which Social Media Channel They Use The Most, And Interact With Them
Are they the most active on Twitter? Instagram? Facebook? LinkedIn? Don’t waste time trying to message them where they’re not. Do, on the flip side, spend time interacting with their posts, and general social media activity. And keep at it too.
I was watching a Gary Vaynerchuk video the other day in which he was explaining to a young entrepreneur, that no’s were a positive thing. That he wasn’t always going to get answers. I’ll let you read the transcript:
“You gotta know that missing 11 times and hitting the one time of the 12 times that you spent 12 hours on is ROI positive. […] Great, you DM’d and emailed and tweeted 17 shop owners that are trendy, and none of them replied. That’s good. That’s good! Everybody thinks it’s a wasted day. That’s a good day ’cause you got your answer. It was no. No’s are just as good as yes’ ’cause you know. […] It’s not gonna come to you and it’s not gonna be a miracle.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
You might not always get an answer. Sometimes it might be the way you asked, what you said. Other times, it might just be because the individual you’ve approached is just too busy, or gets too many of these messages so some slip through the cracks. Keep at it. Perseverance is key in this context.
3. Show That You’re Passionate
Talk about your work. But talk about it passionately, and in everything you do. Established people – especially if their job role isn’t exactly one of a consultant or a coach – don’t have the time to motivate you in your work. If you’re scheduled for an initial short chat with someone, prepare thought-provoking questions or common topics you can talk about. Remember, often, mentors aren’t looking for flattery so don’t be the over the-top-let-me-stroke-your-ego kind of person. They’re looking for people who are serious about what they do and have a good work ethic.
4. Be Prepared To Give First
Give yourself a chance with this new or existing salon mentor relationship you’re trying to nurture. Something that tends to work well is to offer your help on projects the person you’re reaching out to may have. Make sure it’s in your area of expertise and interest though, otherwise there’s no point. Remember, it’s always easier to give than to ask and it makes for a good initial step towards building a trustworthy and fruitful relationship.
5. When The Time Is Right, Open The Conversation
If you’ve been interacting with your “ideal mentors” for a while and have had chats with them or perhaps you knew them from before or someone introduced you, it’s very possible that you won’t even have to bring up the mentorship conversation. It will happen naturally. But if it doesn’t and you want to get things moving, there are ways to ask. We’ve even created a cheat sheet listing what you should include in your email. Download it here and good luck! Hope you get awesome responses.
Thanks for reading! #LetsGrow