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  • Desmond Boateng

REVERSE MENTORSHIP. WHAT IS IT AND HOW TO DO IT RIGHT?

Updated: Apr 22

In reverse mentorship, the old become the students, and the young become teachers, creating a dynamic system of growth- Unknown



Mentorship between an older man and young man in an office with a large window behind them and a laptop infront of them

Mentorship in general has been about an older person passing on wisdom to a younger person, and it’s usually about a more experienced person helping, sharing insights, and shaping the life and career trajectories of a more inexperienced person. Reverse mentorship flips the direction of traditional mentoring, and the flow of knowledge flows from the less experienced person to the more experienced.

 

In an ever-changing technological world, one needs to stay up-to-date with current trends and innovations across many industries, and for the older generation, reverse mentoring provides the chance to be able to stay up-to-date with the trends in society. Reverse mentorship is also very essential in promoting inter-generational collaboration and helps the older generation to be able to innovate and learn new ideas and the trends that currently work. For the younger generation, it empowers them, builds their confidence in their skills, and improves their leadership skills.


A black guy with braids showing something to a smiling woman on a laptop


To successfully execute a reverse mentorship, there are a few things that are needed to ensure the success of a collaborative learning environment.

 

1.Define Clear Objectives: It is essential for the expectations of the reverse mentorship program to be laid out at the beginning so that both the mentor and the mentee have a clear understanding of what the goal of the mentorship is. The goal should always be clear, whether the mentee is learning or keeping abreast of new technological innovations. This helps the mentors and the mentees focus on specific skills.




2. Open Communication and Mutual Respect: There are bound to be rough patches during the reverse mentorship, and this is due to generational differences and stereotypes. The older generation may also be uncomfortable due to the shift in power dynamics. Ensuring open communication and mutual respect between both parties ensures that there is an honest dialogue and that they are open about the areas they would like to improve upon. This creates a positive learning experience and ensures that the mentorship is impactful on both sides.




3. Beware of role reversion: In a reverse mentorship program, the reverse mentee, who is used to being the leader, and the experienced person are likely to take over the mentoring program and offer advice. There is a need to ensure that the mentee in the reverse mentorship program remains the mentee and the mentor remains the mentor as long as the reverse mentorship is going on. This ensures that the reverse mentorship attains the clearly defined objectives that have been set.



4. Provide Continuous Support:  To sustain the momentum of the reverse mentorship program, there has to be a continuous provision of support. The support may include the provision of resources, further skills development for the reverse mentor and mentee, communication platforms, and anything else that improves the quality of the reverse mentorship program.



5. Assess and Provide Feedback: To ensure that the objectives of the reverse mentorship have been attained, there should be an assessment of the mentoring program to ensure that the goals are being met and the reverse mentee is gaining the skills that they need. It is also important to give feedback to both the reverse mentor and the mentee to build confidence. This provides a framework for tracking the progress of the relationship and also promotes accountability.


Two men in an office space talking

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