How to make reverse mentorship work for you

By Haylin Belay

Reverse mentorship has been making headlines as a way for senior employees to mine their younger colleagues for tech trends as well as fresh approaches to problem-solving. But the benefits of reverse mentorship aren’t limited to the mentee. Through reverse mentorship, junior employees can build a more robust professional network of senior leaders while improving—and demonstrating—their capacity as leaders.

Given the fact that reverse mentorship is a relatively new approach to workplace coaching, it might be up to junior employees to get such a program off the ground themselves. They may feel intimidated at the prospect of approaching a senior executive to be their mentee, and it’s true—in a strict hierarchy, the word “mentee” coming from a junior employee might raise a few eyebrows. Success as such depends depends on finding the right mentee—and making the right pitch.

Luckily, opportunities for reverse mentorship don’t have to be couched in formal mentor-mentee language. After all, many junior employees already provide feedback to upper management on a regular basis. One way to find reverse mentors is to look to trusted superiors who have already expressed that they value your perspective and insight. 

If no one in your office network fits that description, try approaching the person in charge of your office’s formal mentorship program and offering yourself as a resource in your area of expertise, be it social media or big data analysis. You just might find yourself paired with an older colleague who’s eager to learn—and to help you succeed.
For more on the benefits of a reverse mentorship and finding success as a reverse mentor, be sure to download our latest white paper, “Reaping the benefits of reverse mentorship.”

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