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Reverse Mentoring: What is it and why should you try it?

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

As you probably already know, mentoring is a learning relationship. It’s the advice, guidance, or direction given by a mentor to a mentee. But have you heard of Reverse Mentoring before?

What is Reverse Mentoring?

Most people think of mentoring as the older generation passing down wisdom to the young. But there's also a huge benefit to flipping that relationship around and allowing junior team members to guide more senior leaders. Usually, Reverse Mentoring involves a younger mentor who has less experience in general than their mentee, but more insight and knowledge in certain areas. An example could be a young professional mentoring someone in their 60's about anything from diversity to new technology.

Why is it Important?

Where we're seeing reverse mentoring really make a difference is diversity and inclusion. People within inclusion groups such as LGBTQ+ or BAME networks educate more senior professionals about the challenges they face - or the broad challenge of how to increase representation of women in tech companies. This kind of Reverse Mentoring is incredibly powerful as it truly is the transfer and exchange of knowledge between individuals across all spectrums of the workforce. And it can result in real change.

Reverse Mentoring in the Workplace

Today the workforce consists of four generations and is becoming more diverse across all spectrums of underrepresented groups including age, gender, race. This change however is not as evident in leadership positions leading to a growing gap between leaders and their teams with regards to perspectives.

That’s when Reverse mentoring comes into play. Empowering junior team members to guide senior staff can be an effective way to bridge that gap.

Studies have shown that when organizations embrace Reverse Mentoring, members of underrepresented groups feel more confident about sharing their perspectives. And when accompanied by a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy, it leads to higher retention amongst these groups. It’s a collaborative practice that leads to a major cultural change.

Top Tip! If Reverse Mentoring happens within your organization, make sure that your mentor isn't a direct report or part of your team. It would be difficult to get honest feedback from someone who you also have to review at the end of the year. Different perspectives make better leaders, and this approach ensures that you get a variety of perspectives from outside of your immediate team.

Reverse Mentoring is a win-win for everyone. It empowers junior professionals to share their experiences, develop confidence and have a real say in the future and culture of their companies. And it helps Executives to develop fresh ideas, get new perspectives and become better leaders.

Even when you're at the peak of your career, there's always more you can learn - and Reverse Mentoring is a great way to do that.

Download Upnotch today to find a Reverse Mentor, become one or reach out to us to roll this free program out within your organization.


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