The Beauty of Mentoring: Adam Federico Shares His Experience

We talk to top stylists about their experiences with mentoring and why it is important.  Read on to find out what they had to say!

Adam Federico, Creative Director of AJF Salon and FEDERICO Beauty shares his mentoring experience:
What is the importance of mentoring? How important is a mentoring culture within a salon?
I feel mentoring builds positivity and unity within a salon’s culture. Through a steady mixture of guidance and a listening ear, mentoring facilitates the continuity of the industries heritage.
What are ways that one can be a mentor?
There are many ways that one can mentor. There is, of course, offering technical guidance. I find this to be but a small facet of mentoring. For me, the most crucial focus of this role is guidance and counseling through the complex journey of career building. It is always beneficial to have a guide who has been where you are going.
What is the difference between education and mentoring?
In the process of mentoring, you build a personal connection. The education process can take place one on one or a teacher can be instructing a massive audience. Uniquely, a mentoring relationship will always occur between two individuals. It is an opportunity to offer personalized guidance and wisdom obtained through experience.
What is the benefit of continuing education?
 An education of the purist variety is one that is without conclusion. We have chosen an industry that flows steadily. To be a successful member, you must faithfully strive to sharpen your skills and endlessly attempt to master them or you risk becoming obsolete as an artist.
How has mentoring helped you personally?
I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to be on both sides of the mentoring relationship. Having mentors in the industry has lent me guidance. Additionally, I find mentors who have achieved some measure of success offer me positive incentive to reach beyond myself to achieve accolades. Alternatively, being a mentor has served to keep me grounded in my craft. It has also helped in preserving a genuine passion for the industry and has pushed me to be persistent in bettering myself as an artist.  
Does one decide to be a mentor, or is it innate?
 I find it to be a native skill, something that simply comes from within. To be a mentor, you have to be successful in naturally inspiring trust from others while simultaneously encouraging a relationship steeped in respect. It is a delicate balance.

Where do stylists need the most help in education?
 As artists, we are naturally right brained; it is what makes us effective in our craft. That being said, we could all use a healthy dose of knowledge pertaining to building and sustaining our business. At the end of the day, this is a business. Regardless of our artistic skill, if we do not learn to effectively maintain our business, our careers will fail to succeed. 
Once a stylist decides to become a mentor, what is the next step?
 To become an effective mentor you must have been, at one time, mentored yourself. You must be willing to ceaselessly practice what you teach, while maintaining availability and a clear, sound mind.
If not already in place, how can a stylist begin a culture of mentoring in his/her salon?

From my own experience, beginning with an apprentice program is an effective place to start. Typically, when you take on an apprentice (or assistant) you are dealing with young minds that are looking for guidance and are eager to be shaped. You can only hope that relationship will encourage trust and that it will allow you to offer the direction of a mentor.
How can a stylist find his or her own mentor?
By surrounding yourself with artists that you aspire to be like and always staying open and humble. Humility is paramount to success.


[Image: Thinkstock/iStock]

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