You’re a fearless entrepreneur with the skills to provide clients with excellent customer service. But if you haven’t hired a coach, you could be making a costly mistake.
“We all need a coach — even the coach needs a coach,” says LaShaun Brown-Glenn, owner of Speaking on Point and a salon success coach from Chicago. “With a coach you get a clear, precise plan to achieve whatever it is that pleases you. It could be to start your own business, have more clients, spend more time with family, or have more balance in your life. However, one must first ask, ‘Am I ready to be coached?’” warns Brown-Glenn. “A coach will not do the work for you, nor will she join your pity parties. A coach will always RSVP ‘with regrets’ to those parties.”
So when weighing the benefits of hiring a coach, the question isn’t, “Why would I need a coach?” The question is, “Am I ready for a coach?” Start by admitting you have skills that could improve and then decide if you’re willing to do the work to improve them. That’s not easy to do. We nail techs are an independent lot. We’re artists. We’re leaders. We’re territorial. We’re high achievers — which, in this case, actually works in our favor. Yes, it’ll be hard to hear criticism, and it’ll be hard to break old habits and develop new ones, but most of us would prefer the difficulty for a season if it means we’ll reap future rewards. “We all know that the truth can sometimes hurt,” says Brown-Glenn. But a good coach points out how you can improve as a way to help, not hurt, you and your business.
As techs and business owners, we may think we don’t need to hire someone for a job we can do ourselves — or we think we can do ourselves. But that’s exactly the point. We can’t do everything. Nobody can. “A lot of business owners have a hard time delegating,” says Millie Haynam, owner of Natural Beauty Salon in Twinsburg, Ohio. Haynam became a public relations coach after she realized what came easy to her — marketing — was actually a big frustration to many salon owners. “My niche is to help people understand and develop a PR strategy,” says Haynam. She says many times when we aren’t good at something, instead of doing the job poorly, we won’t do it at all. Haynam reminds salon owners that sometimes doing it yourself is the worst use of your time.
Other coaches help business owners improve the bottom line by crunching numbers. “I hear people say they don’t need a coach because they have an accountant,” says Lisa Marie Arnold, business coach and owner of Salon and Spa Solutions located in Gibsonia, Pa. But accountants don’t know your business, they know your books. “Ninety percent of owners don’t know their retention rate,” says Arnold. An accountant can’t help determine and improve a salon’s repeat business, but a coach can. “Most nail techs are working in their business, not working on it,” says Arnold. Successful businesses need policy manuals, systems for employee raises and promotions, and a retail strategy. “Every decision comes back to a number,” says Arnold.
Some salon owners may prefer a coaching company to a personal coach. A coaching company can retain many coaches, so in hiring the company, the salon owner has access to the knowledge of multiple coaches and resources. Milady, for example, offers technicians weekly coaching calls via their Coaching Club program. On the line are a number of technicians plus a coach from Milady. Topics can include communicating with the team, marketing, hiring, and increasing sales, among others. “It’s a way for technicians to gain tips, training, and encouragement from a coach and from other techs,” says Gerard McAvey, senior marketing manager for Milady. C
hoosing a coach can be overwhelming, so before you make your decision, take some time to articulate your goals. A relationship with a coach can last for an hour or for a year, but expect to be in a relationship for three to six months. Do you work better in a one-on-one relationship or would you work well in a group setting of your peers? Do you need focused coaching in marketing, number-crunching, goal-setting, or business systems, or would you prefer a little help with everything? As salon owners, we can’t be good at everything, and neither can our coach. Each coach will have a personal skill set. Interview the coach to see if he or she is a right fit for you and your needs.
The cost of hiring a coach can vary greatly, so as you interview, make sure you compare apples to apples. Some coaches charge per hour, others charge a fee per month. Find out what you’re getting for the money. Prices can range from $100 per hour to a set fee of $4,000 for a three-month contract. It all depends on what you’re looking for and what you agree to. There’s no doubt that hiring a coach is an investment. However, with your investment comes a high return. “When you are in a partnership with a coach you should feel like it was a great investment in you, even when it’s long over,” says Brown-Glenn.
Coach vs. Consultant
Technically, there is a difference between a coach and a consultant. “A coach is an expert who helps you achieve your goals,” says LaShaun Brown-Glenn. “A consultant is an expert who does the work for you. A coach helps you take actions to accomplish your goal, which is key. A consultant is paid to do the work for you.”
> Crystal Focus Salon Coaching: www.crystalfocus.com
> Durocher Enterprises: www.durocherenterprises.com
> Inspiring Champions: www.inspiringchampions.com
> Kassidy’s Salon Management Consulting:www.kassidys.com
> Kitty Victor Inc.: (719) 761-5520; firstname.lastname@example.org
> KRS Consulting Group: (800) 718-5949; email@example.com
> Maisie Dunbar: www.mdbeautybusiness.com
> Marketing Solutions: www.mktgsols.com
> Michael Cole Seminars: www.michaelcoleseminars.com
> Milady: www.milady.cengage.com
> Millie Haynam: www.milliehaynam.com
> Monochrome Marketing Solutions: www.spamarketingtools.com
> Salon & Spa Solutions: www.lisamariearnold.com
> Speaking on Point: www.speakingonpoint.com
> Stampora Consulting: (540) 338-7747
> Strategies: www.strategies.com
Want some free advice from a group of professional salon coaches? Check out NAILS’ blog, The Coaching Chronicles, at blogs.nailsmag.com/coach.