Reverse Mentoring

Reverse mentoring - traditionally, mentoring has involved an older, more experienced, "wiser"person (mentor) with a younger, less experienced person (mentee). On the other hand, there is "reverse mentoring": when the young person is the mentor and an older person occupies the role of the mentee. Some examples are

- young computer nerds or digital natives (mentors) mentoring senior management (mentees) on how to use the Internet, etc, as was the case with GE's former CEO Jack Welch:

"...I have a 23 year old spending three to four hours a week teaching me how to use the Internet - I am the mentee..."

Furthermore, Welch

"...asked our top 500 leaders to get Internet mentors, preferably under the age of 30..."

Jack Welch as quoted by Jack Welch et al, 2001

- older executives using younger members of their staff, especially Generation Xers to keep them up to date with the latest in business, customer desires and trends, staff aspirations, society changes, etc. In fact, both learn from each other, ie the young are allowed to grow and learn while the senior managers keep in touch with the thoughts of the younger generation.

- the ANZ Bank used junior women staff to mentor more senior male managers so that the men had a better understanding of gender issues

. While both men and women's careers can benefit from mentoring,

"...it was found that women benefit the most..."

Michael Cave, 2004

This is probably due to the fact that women face more barriers to advancement and they need help to overcome them

 

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