Mentorship and Coaching

Reverse Mentoring

Shriya Sarang

22nd May'22

Reverse mentoring is a management technique in which a senior employee seeks advice from a less experienced, sometimes younger employee. The traditional mentoring relationship, in which a more experienced person guides a less experienced person, is flipped in reverse mentoring.

Reverse mentoring as a business practice is a popular alternative to using a third-party mentoring agency to find mentors. Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch is often associated with the concept.


How It Started


Welch discovered his global consumer finance CEO was learning about the internet's potential power from a younger colleague during a business trip to London in 1999. When Welch returned from his trip, he formalized the concept of reverse mentoring and incorporated it into his leadership style.

The primary goal of reverse mentoring is to keep leaders and senior managers connected to their organizations and the outside world. However, the benefits are reciprocal, as more junior employees have the opportunity to comprehend and be heard by more senior and experienced individuals.


Objectives of Reverse Mentoring



Reverse mentoring is effective in attaining a key goal - Improving top management's technical knowledge and skills. Executives are being asked to make more strategic decisions as a result of technological advancements. If you are unfamiliar with how growing social networking sites or cloud computing technologies are being used, it can be tough to capitalize on chances.

Companies like GE, Ogilvy & Mather, and Cisco Systems have all addressed this problem by developing reverse mentorship programs, in which junior employees who are more knowledgeable about new technology assist executives in brushing up on their skills. These ties give junior participants a sense of purpose and belonging while also creating a safe environment for senior management to learn.

Examples of Reverse Mentoring - Mohammed has recently joined a high-profile tech firm as a senior manager. The organizational structure, on the other hand, is perplexing. Sarah, on the other hand, has been a mid-level executive for almost six years and is eager to advance.


Consider the following examples to better understand Reverse Mentoring:


Example A - Mohammed approaches Sarah for assistance in understanding the company's structure. In exchange for her assistance, Mohammed is able to identify abilities that Sarah should strengthen in order to increase her prospects of advancement.

Example B - Amirah is the founder and CEO of her own business. The demand for her to be active on social media has grown as the group has grown. Amirah hooks up with her social media manager Taylor to learn the ropes as a novice on platforms like Pinterest and Hootsuite. Taylor has developed a beneficial relationship with their CEO, while Amirah has improved her ability to interact with potential consumers.

Exercise C - Ted is a programmer who has been stuck on a coding problem for months and seeks help from his new coworker Jessica. Jessica is able to use her fresh perspective to break apart the problem and discover a solution despite only being with the organization for a few weeks.


Reverse Mentoring's Downfalls


When you join a reverse mentoring partnership, there are several possible negatives. For starters, more senior team members may not believe that their younger mentors have meaningful expertise to impart, and they may be resistant to taking input from those with less experience. Newer team members, on the other hand, need to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, and they may be less likely to contribute if they are fearful of delivering feedback to more experienced colleagues.

People may also be unwilling to take time out of their already hectic schedules to mentor someone they dislike or disrespect. Finally, your role may not need much knowledge of new technology – in these situations, reverse mentoring partnerships may only be "nice to have," rather than "highly desirable." Therefore, you must consider one of the two roles in the type of business mentoring that suits you the best.

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Shriya Sarang holds a degree in Political Science and Public Administration. Apart from having no political opinions, she advocates financial literacy among her friends. 


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