Goodbye Guesswork
Hello Guest Work™

Goodbye Guesswork
Hello Guest Work™

The Salon Educator's Best Friend

Chris Baran has been training hairstylists and educators for over 40 years. He has helped hundreds of thousands of hairdressers in 26 countries understand the Principles of Design and Finishing. He studies facilitation with the best in the business so that his students can in turn change the lives of their own students.

From the Blog

Dealing with unwilling staff

Being a salon owner comes with many benefits, and having a great team behind you is a huge win, but an issue that often comes up on my Salon Team Training Facebook group is dealing with staff who have become lazy or unmotivated. Nobody wants to fire their staff, and I get it: it’s a tough decision. But here’s one method I use that helps me decide if someone isn’t fitting in really well, and what to do about it: the Willing versus Skilled model.

This model helps you to:

  • Determine where your stylist is in their skill vs willingness
  • Choose how you need to approach the situation

In the diagram attached the horizontal axis gauges whether the person is unskilled or skilled. The vertical axis is whether they’re willing or unwilling.

Willing vs Skilled Model

Quadrant A – (unskilled but willing)

If someone is in quadrant A (unskilled but willing), they need training—they have the right mindset and attitude, but they need some guidance in order to get up to speed with the rest of your team. This is where you as a leader need to step in and provide them with the tools they need to succeed.

Quadrant B – (willing and skilled)

If someone is willing and skilled (quadrant B), all they need is motivation—they know what to do and want to do it! Spend some time with this person to learn their motivation factors, and let them go for it!

Quadrant C – (unwilling and skilled)

But if someone is unwilling and skilled (quadrant C), then they need some straight talk and some motivation. When it comes to dealing with unwilling staff, it’s important to remember that not everyone is going to be on board with your vision, so this is where conflict resolution comes in. Don’t call them lazy or unwilling, don’t blame them as people, or otherwise diminish their value—coach them on their behavior instead of their character so you can get them back into quadrant A or B.

Quadrant D – (unwilling and unskilled)

This Quadrant is unwilling and unskilled or what I like to refer to as Course correction. It’s easy to get focused on the money you’re losing by letting a stylist go that you forget about everything else: the time and money it takes to hire and train a new employee, for example, or the fact that unhappy employees are bad for morale and productivity.

Personally I believe it’s better to call a firing “course correction” or “finding another business where they’ll be much happier”. After all, you’re not just looking at this person’s ability to bring in revenue—you’re also trying to help them find a place where they can be happy.

I hope this method helps make the process of determining your staff’s future at the salon a little more clear. For more methods, tips and a whole community of salon owners and stylists make sure you join us on my Facebook Page.

How do I get my new hires to pre-book?

As the owner or team leader of your salon, you might feel like you’re always preaching about the importance of pre-booking appointments. But when it comes to new stylists who are just starting out, they may be uncomfortable with this concept. This topic came up recently in the Salon Team Training group on Facebook.

Why Is Pre-Booking So Important?

  • It’s a huge help in building a loyal client base for your stylists
  • It’s the most important factor in creating a reliable income for stylists
  • Appointments on the calendar helps the whole salon run more smoothly

How Do I Get My New Hires to Pre-Book?

  • Explain the importance of pre-booking during their initial training. Make sure they understand why it’s so important for both them and the salon
  • Have them practice pre-booking appointments with clients who are willing to cooperate. This will help them get comfortable with the process and learn how to best sell the idea of pre-booking to clients

Returning Clients

A major problem is that the pre-booking conversation typically happens at the end of the service as clients are getting ready to leave. They’ve already switched gears. Their minds are elsewhere. Here’s a tip I learned from a great salon in the UK: instead of pre-booking at the end of the service, do it at the beginning. Once associates see how easy and effective it is, they’ll be more likely to keep doing it.

A great way to make the conversation easy and natural is to make it part of the consultation about the client’s needs and goals. This will help you to understand what kind of services they are looking for and how often they need them. Once you have a good understanding of their needs, you can set up a 6-month schedule that outlines when they need their colour, cut, and finishing services. Set up a system so that they know exactly when they’re due to come in and keep in touch with them between services with mini consultations. This keeps them on track with trust that they are getting the best possible service from your salon. It won’t even occur to them to try a new stylist because they already have a plan in place.

Each new season, you refresh the consultation to meet their new needs and discuss the steps they need to take in between services. This keeps them confident in themselves and in you, their stylist.

By following these tips, you encourage your clients to pre-book and keep pre-booking long into the future!

How do you keep your stylists from feeling left out?

This is a question someone recently asked in the Salon Team Training Facebook group: How do you keep senior stylists from feeling left out when the associates are getting all the attention during training? Well, the first thing that I would say is to get them involved! The trick is to include them from the start – as soon as you introduce the program to the salon. How?


We talk about culture a lot around here. A strong, positive culture is the single most important factor in your long term business success. It gets you a happy, loyal team that works just as hard as you do to build your business. Part of what makes a strong culture is that everybody’s got to speak the same language. If you live in Italy and you don’t speak Italian, you’re going to have a harder time fitting in and creating relationships. Seems obvious. But the same is true in your salon. If there’s something big going on and someone’s not a part of it, they can start to feel left out and unappreciated. Investing in your culture is a must.

GET EVERYONE ON THE SAME PAGE – Our training program, the Salon Associate Accelerator, seriously over-delivers. It’s got everything a stylist needs to be well on their way to a six-figure income. We call it the Associate Accelerator but everyone needs all of this info. If your senior stylists have a few gaps in their training, or they’re still using terminology from their old job, now is the perfect time to iron out those speed bumps. This has huge advantages for you and your business:

  • you establish a gold standard of quality for everyone — everyone knows it, everyone meets it
  • consistent training means anyone can jump in to help anyone else
  • a common language means knowledge is easily shared

If somebody is not up to standard with their blow dry, take them to that specific segment. If they don’t know how to do a Marcel iron, you can set them up to practice at home. If they’re having trouble with their bobs, send them straight to the six-panel bob. This is where the official standards of quality for your salon are established. Keep driving until everyone is hitting those marks consistently. Get this part right and it’s all wins from now on: You’ve set the standards AND they can all support each other. Nobody feels left behind, and you can be confident in the work even when you aren’t there. Wait, what do you mean not there?


GET HELP – This will have you dancing in the street: we believe that the owner should be focused on their vision for building the business, not training the team. So right now we’re going to set up a system where you get to focus on your vision AND get a salon full of six-figure stylists. Pick one of your senior people, whether they are a rising star, somebody that’s been around forever, or someone for whom everybody has a lot of respect, and make them your Education Manager. Or Artistic Director. Or Grand High Wizard of Education. Whatever it is, a title will make them feel involved and invested. Their role is to execute your education plan. Check in once a week but trust them to do the work.

OK! That’s one person feeling very much included but how about the other senior staff? This is where that strong, positive culture really starts to happen: Make sure they are included in the team training. If Senior Stylist Sam is an expert at, say, the perfect ponytail, have Sam check the associates’ work as they go and offer constructive feedback. Now Sam’s feeling like an important member of the team and invested in the success of your associates. AND your associates are feeling more welcomed and they know at least one more person they can go to for help.

More Wins with Less Effort

We started out trying to save the senior staff from feeling neglected and suddenly we’ve got a unified team working at the highest standards of quality. And somehow you’ve got all this free time for making your vision a reality! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!

  • we brought in a consistent comprehensive training program like the Salon Associate Accelerator
  • we got senior staff involved in setting official salon standards, which got everybody speaking the same language while filling any gaps in their skills
  • we appointed a Lead Educator/ Education Manager/ Grand Wizard of Teaching Stuff to execute our education plan long term
  • we highlighted our senior stylists’ expertise by asking them to assist in training sessions and they loved us for it

With the right Education Manager in charge of the right training program, your senior stylists will feel more valued and more included. And that kind of culture is great for business.

ChrisCamp coming up fast

The Premier Event for Facilitators and Educators – October 16-17, 2022

We’re just a few weeks away from the triumphant return of LIVE facilitator training from two of the best in the industry. Chris Baran and Chris Moody will host a select group of educators for two days of intense learning and growing — everyone will present, everyone will get priceless feedback. This is how you level up FAST with knowledge you can take back to your own stage, class, or salon and use right now.

  • Immediate measurable improvement in impact with your learners
  • LIMITED attendance to maximize everyone’s presentation time
  • Train in person with your peers
  • Get direct coaching from two of the best in the business
  • Learn industry-leading engagement and success techniques
  • Teaching tools you can use RIGHT NOW for maximum success your own team
  • All attendees get multiple opportunities to present and level up
  • Breakfast, lunch, and snacks included
  • Sunday poolside dinner at Chez Baran!

Only a few tickets are left. This is the best opportunity of the year to pick up game-changing tools you can put to work in your classes or salon right now for a more motivated and united team. Do not miss it! Grab your seat HERE!

Salon owners should be growing the business, NOT training new associates. Let Chris handle the heavy lifting!

Salon owners should be growing the business, NOT training new associates. Let Chris handle the heavy lifting!

The ultimate salon education resource stacked with teaching tools for mastering your design and finishing education game.

The ultimate salon education resource stacked with teaching tools for mastering your design and finishing education game.

Complete training for stylists. Confidently take your clients from WHAT I HAVE to WHAT I WANT every time.

Complete training for stylists. Confidently take your clients from WHAT I HAVE to WHAT I WANT every time.

Live interactive mentorship every week with industry superstars Chris Baran and Chris Moody.
Live interactive mentorship every week with industry superstars Chris Baran and Chris Moody.