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Finding the Right Mentor

Web Editor | July 10, 2011 | 10:12 AM
Having a mentor at work is an important part of your professional development. However, finding the right person to mentor you is not always easy. Here are a few guidelines to help choose the best mentor for you:

• Is he/she easily accessible? Although your mentor does not have to work in the same salon you do, or even be in the hairdressing industry, you do want someone you can reach easily. Don’t choose a person who never checks e-mail or returns phone calls. You won’t be reaching out to this person every day necessarily, but you do want him or her to be available for advice when you need it.

• Are you comfortable with your mentor?
Don’t choose a person you are wildly intimidated by to be your mentor. If you feel uncomfortable with your mentor in any way, you certainly won’t be comfortable sharing your career development issues with him or her.

• Does your mentor have experience? Whether it’s as a hairdresser, a salon owner or some other entirely different profession, you want a mentor who has experience in the work place, experience in dealing with tough situations and just general experience in life. There’s no point in asking someone with less experience than you to help guide you through tough situations.

• Is your mentor a good communicator? There are many smart, experienced, successful people in the world. However, they are not all good at communicating their knowledge. Have you ever been to a highly qualified, highly-recommended doctor with a terrible bedside manner? Think of this in the same way. You want your mentor to communicate clearly and effectively.

• What kind of skills does your mentor have? In this area, you will want to evaluate your own skills first. Are you great with people, but could use a little technical help? Choose a mentor who is a phenomenal stylist with excellent cutting and coloring skills. Learn from her in technical areas. Maybe your technical skills are great, but you’re having problems relating to clients. Choose a mentor who excels in her interpersonal skills.

There’s no formula for the mentor/mentee relationship. Do what works for you. Like everything in life, find the right balance and try to learn as much as possible. And someday, maybe you’ll become a mentor yourself.

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