Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Reverse mentoring" reframes traditional views - or does it?

"Reverse mentoring" is meant to reframe traditional views of mentoring. According to Gill South's article in the New Zealand Herald reverse mentoring is a process where senior leaders deliberately seek out young staff or aspiring female staff to access their views of the world.

While reading the article I found myself thinking, "This isn't new, this is what mentoring already does." As a facilitator of mentor training programs I'm yet to experience mentors (who are volunteers in the programs that I facilitate) who do not expect to learn a great deal from their mentee. In fact, most of the mentors with whom I have worked have explicitly stated that they want to be mentors to access a different perspective on their company.

To enable you to make up your own mind the full article can be viewed here.

While I might not agree with the term "Reverse mentoring" I do agree with the benefits of forming true mentoring relationships that Gill lists. From a senior staff perspective accessing views from people within the organisation that you might not have direct contact with provides a smart and strategic reason to become a mentor. Fortunately there is a resurgence in company mentoring programs and Gill's article will contribute to that trend. If you are a senior staff member and not involved in a mentor program I encourage you to become involved now. The relationship you form will benefit both your mentee and yourself, possibly more than you realise.

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