Mentoring is commonly known that the more senior person, with his know-how and expertise, coaches the junior.
“Reverse Mentoring” proves, that these roles may also be switched.
Especially in the digital era it is interesting to see, how millennials and digital natives behave and communicate. Thanks to reverse mentoring the digital mindset in the company can be improved drastically.
There are some necessary requirements for reverse mentoring to work:
- Open-mindedness and honesty
- Both sides should participate on a voluntary basis
1. It’s a match!
The mentoring duo should not derive from the same hierarchies and departments, but from different levels.
In order to find a perfect match, a “Speed-dating” can be initiated. During a limited time frame the couple decides whether they are happy to work with each other and in the end the partners are decided on.
- 2. The perfect topic
Once a duo is established, they decide individually how often they want to meet and which topics they want to discuss. In general, the goal is to discuss current technologies, but the mind-set of the younger, digital mentor can also be discussed.
The goal could be to find a perfect alternative for remote-work or to discuss the concept of social media marketing.
As mentioned in the beginning, both partners need respect, understanding and an open-mind. A talent for communication and diplomatic tactfulness is also desirable.
The younger mentor should have a vast amount of knowledge in the discussed field and should be able to lead the mentee in his learnings.
This method can be trained by performing workshops.
4. High-quality mentees!
The more high-quality mentees you can convince to participate, the better. That way the project will gain popularity within the company. Let me give you an example from the Bank of Austria: in the first round of reverse mentoring eight board members participated, in the second round 30 top-class managers were willing to participate!
5. The mentees’ mind-set
Whilst reading you will already notice, that the project is dependent on the people who participate in the project.
Therefore, it is crucial that the mentees are not only interested in the topic to be discussed, but also have the right mind-set. It isn’t easy for everyone to be taught by younger and lower-ranked colleagues.
The best example for this are the family-owned companies, in which the sons take over the business from their fathers. This goes wrong a lot of times, because the senior is unable to let the junior take the lead! Another phenomenon which must not happen is “prey or beta” when a female mentor takes part.
All of this is common knowledge, but nevertheless it is important that all participants have the same understanding.
6. The successful procedure
The project is either set to a limited time-frame or can run unlimited. In both cases there are software tools that can assist to keep the overview.
Prior to the actual start of the mentoring, a framework should be established, and internal marketing conducted. Again, there are software tools for these processes to stay in the loop.
A kick-off appointment as well as regular meetings should be part of the project. User stories will animate further colleagues to participate!
Do you want to know more about this topic or try it in your company? Let us know and we’ll gladly assist you!