The Two Key Elements to Mentoring Talent in Hairdressers from Creative Icon, Robert Lobetta
This June, Robert Lobetta was appointed Creative Visionary of Sebastian Professional, a brand of Coty Professional Beauty. After a 10-year hiatus pursuing creative passions and sourcing inspiration, Lobetta makes a return to the brand which he once led as Creative Director. In his new role, Lobetta will guide the brand into new territory, shaping a vision for the future. He is also looking to nurture the talents of up-and-coming hairdressers, mentoring them while introducing them to this iconic brand.
While in London with Lobetta and the Coty Professional Beauty Family for Wella Professionals International Trend Vision Awards, MODERN asked Lobetta to talk about his method for mentorship and how to encourage growth, gently guide and increase confidence in hairdressers, while ultimately making them responsible for their own learning.
MS: In your role, you will be working with both very established and experienced hairdressers, while also inspiring very new talent, and mentoring both. What is the key to being a good mentor?
RL: Listen and have patience. Both of those things need to be happening at the same time. It is a game, where you position yourself so that both sides will ultimately win. You need to help someone understand not just what you want but also why you want it. The beauty of this is that when you mix a bit of what you do, a mix of what they do, both of you are learning. You can’t just push your idea forward; I’m the coach of the soccer team and my job is to make sure that everyone plays brilliantly.
MS: What potential pitfalls are there in mentoring someone?
RL: This is where patience is important. I have made the mistake of trying to move someone ahead too quickly…and they freeze. It’s a gradual and often a long term process to mentor someone but I know that if I have the patience and the understanding, it can work exceptionally well. I must listen to what they want to do even if some of their ideas might sound outlandish to me.
I have accumulated so much experience and knowledge over the past forty years but what’s the point of keeping it all in there, in my brain? I need to get rid of some of it so I have room to bring in new thoughts and ideas.