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Being a mentor may be an aspiration for many, being able to pass on your wisdom and knowledge to someone younger and less experienced, and being seen as a valued member of your community or business. This is definitely something to admire, but when it comes to the idea of reverse mentoring, many are lost. Just what is reverse mentoring? We’re here to explain and tell you how it can help you.

What is it?

Reverse mentoring is where you realise that you may not know everything there is to know about your field and think about looking to the younger generation who may have fresh ideas or a better grasp of up and coming technology. It’s a process in which thoughts and knowledge is shared to create a better depth of understanding for both parties. More junior staff will feel their input is valued and may gain some wisdom from years of experience, while more senior staff will get a different perspective and suggestions of how something can be adapted for the current climate.

How can it help you?

Reverse mentoring is an opportunity for people that might not usually interact much to get together for discussions and open themselves to new recommendations that can improve the way things are done. Not only is it important to get an outside view on ideas you may have and see what others thinks, but developing your listening skills if you’re older or your confidence if your younger is always valuable. There’s a reason the phrase ‘two heads are better than one’ exists and it’s because by combining the strengths of two or more people, you’re more likely to create a better end result from a greater range of input.

How you can implement it?

Don’t just be tempted to swap ideas with anyone because they’re younger or older, there has to also be some meeting of minds in order for things to work. Having differences is fine, but not being able to agree on anything will only cause problems. Being compatible to some level means you will work successfully together and find the process easier, as well as more enjoyable.
You should also look for someone who has skills, knowledge or experience that could benefit you and who can benefit from what you know as well, but be sure that you’re not sharing sensitive information if you end up in talks with someone outside of your business.

How can I make it effective?

Remember the importance of good communication skills and being open to what other people have to say, even if you don’t agree with it. Don’t get frustrated if you’ve shared a concept that the other party doesn’t understand, people can take a while to warm up to an idea or just get a grasp of it, but if you continue to discuss it and suggest why it may be beneficial for them to know, they’re more likely to take it on board.
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