A MELBOURNE hair salon has brought in a counsellor to help its staff cope when their clients offload their often troubling or distressing life stories.
Melbourne salon owner Lauren MacKellin has taken the big step of hiring a counsellor so staff can deal with some ‘over-sharing’ from clients.
RECOGNISING her customers pour their hearts out to her staff on a daily basis, Melbourne hair salon owner Lauren MacKellin is enlisting her staff into a counselling course on how to manage the emotional needs of her clientele.
The Vision Blonde salon owner has decided to take action, sending her staff to a course on how to deal with others’ problems.
“Every day my staff are taking on my clients’ problems and each day is an emotional rollercoaster for them,” says Lauren.
“What my staff need is a hand in how to effectively help, to know how to nurture our clients’ emotional needs along with their own.”
Hairdressers and their clients share a very close and trusting relationship, and thanks to social media, social interaction with your hairdresser is now becoming even more valuable.
“At the end of the day, my employees are as important to my business as my clients, and I need to look after the needs of both. It’s not just about the needs of their hair”.
According to clinical psychologist Georgia Foster, being in “the chair” while someone is nurturing you not only makes you look better, but it also makes you feel good.
Counsellor and hypnotherapist Georgia Foster
And the mind enjoys the attention; off-loading can be a way to release tension with someone who is not in their everyday life.
“A hairdresser, like any other profession that involves a one-on-one interaction, can often trigger burnout due to the demands of being a ‘free therapist’,” says Georgia.
“The best strategy is to find ways to ‘brush off’ clients’ problems by taking proper breaks when possible, going off-site or after work, finding ways to break the state such as a big walk or an exercise class.
“Any profession where you are one-on-one for a period time similar to a hairdresser can have client burnout too, such as beauty therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, pilates and yoga teachers.
The Blonde Vision salon in Melbourne
“They all – to a certain extent – have to expect some level of being a ‘friendly’ therapist, but equally need know when to stand back and not take on board too much.”
Georgia really commends Lauren for her efforts as an employer in contacting her to counsel her staff over Skype.
“Employers need to put in place tools and strategies that give staff the right communication to know when and what to say, and when to retreat or change subjects,” adds Georgie.
“It’s important that when the staff feel supported, the domino effect means the client is happier too.”
A few helpful tips from Georgia:
Listen and be non-judgmental
Don’t act surprised if you hear anything that shocks you
Let them know you are not a qualified counsellor and suggest an appropriate support system
Never commit suggesting a way forward, as you are not trained
Encourage outside stress management tools such as a yoga class or meditation class
Find a worse story to talk about that makes them become more grateful
Try and turn a positive spin on the situation
Find funny things to talk about that breaks their emotional state