Reverse Mentoring: What It Is and How To Set Up a Program

In reverse mentoring, a senior employee enters into a professional friendship with a junior colleague. This helps senior employees and junior employees develop new skills. For example, a leader might want to learn new digital skills while gaining a fresh perspective on their business or industry.

Traditionally, mentoring entails an older, more knowledgeable person guiding a younger person assisting them in learning new skills, exchanging knowledge and insights, introducing them to pertinent individuals, and generally supporting and motivating them But there are several different kinds of mentoring, and some are better suited to particular workplace goals than others.

The procedure acknowledges that both parties in a mentoring relationship have learning gaps and opportunities, and that turning the conventional structure on its head can be very beneficial for both parties. Reverse mentoring also challenges the notion that mentoring is elitist because it is a formal relationship for the purpose of skill sharing and professional development rather than a senior person taking someone under their wing.

How reverse mentorship can help create better leaders | The Way We Work, a TED series

How to set up a reverse mentoring program

Business leaders may choose to take into account the following actions if they determine that a reverse mentorship program could benefit their workers and, ultimately, their organizational outcomes:

1. Gauge interest

You may want to survey staff members to ascertain how many might be interested in participating before committing to a reverse mentorship program. A positive response might be a definite sign that moving forward with the program is a good idea. Although a more subdued reaction might not necessarily rule out the possibility of launching a reverse mentoring program, it might indicate that staff members would benefit from a more thorough explanation of the advantages of reverse mentoring. To gauge interest in a reverse mentoring program, you could use a digital survey tool or less formal in-person conversations.

2. Identify and match participants

The next step after deciding to start a reverse mentoring program is typically to choose participants and pair them up in accordance with useful and beneficial criteria. You might think about figuring out the advantages and disadvantages of both junior and senior participants and using that knowledge to form partnerships. This makes it possible to develop mentorship relationships that are mutually beneficial and in which both parties have knowledge to share and knowledge to learn. You may also think about inviting successful reverse mentoring pairs to speak to non-participating colleagues about their experiences. Their positive experience may encourage others to get involved.

3. Set meaningful goals and rules

Clear objectives are frequently used in traditional mentoring programs to direct the partnership. Similar to a traditional mentorship, a reverse mentorship can be most successful when both parties have the same goals for the relationship. Knowing exactly what each partner expects to gain from the mentoring relationship and how they can each contribute to their shared goals is advantageous for both parties. Participants in reverse mentoring may decide to review these objectives and guidelines as their own requirements and those of the organization change.

4. Encourage professionalism and tact

When partners in a reverse mentoring relationship are both willing to maintain an open mind and respect for the other’s background and ideas, they stand to gain the most. For instance, it can be helpful to be understanding and patient if one partner has trouble grasping a new concept. Encouragement of employees to act with tact and professionalism can lessen the possibility of difficult feelings developing. You could impose formal guidelines or request that your mentoring partners create their own standards.

5. Measure and reflect

It may be beneficial for participants in a reverse mentoring partnership to evaluate their development at predetermined intervals. This could entail evaluating achievements in relation to the objectives set at the start of the reverse mentoring arrangement. This stage of a reverse mentoring program could involve acknowledging accomplishments as well as productively coming up with solutions to unmet objectives.

Employers and participants in reverse mentoring programs may complete these steps out of order, go back and complete earlier steps, or move on to upcoming steps. Customizing the procedure to the needs of the organization is acceptable as long as the program is serving the business objectives and everyone benefits from the agreement.

What is reverse mentoring?

In a partnership between senior and junior level employees known as “reverse mentoring,” the less experienced employee helps the more experienced one fill in any knowledge gaps that may exist. Reverse mentoring initiatives frequently emphasize modern business techniques and technology Despite being referred to as reverse mentorships, these kinds of initiatives can be advantageous for both parties. For instance, a junior employee could impart knowledge on social media and video calling to a senior partner while receiving business best practices advice from the senior partner.

Advantages of reverse mentoring

Reverse mentoring arrangements can be advantageous for both parties and fill knowledge gaps in their respective backgrounds. At the junior and senior levels, it can also aid in the development of leadership abilities. Additionally, reverse mentoring can promote respectful interactions among various generations at work.

Younger workers may be more likely to stick with a company where they feel appreciated and enriched if they receive reverse mentoring. Reverse mentoring programs have been discovered by some companies to promote diversity and inclusion by creating opportunities for fresh connections and interactions.

Finally, if one of the organizational goals is to facilitate culture change, reverse mentoring can help. Some companies have discovered that a reverse mentoring program can promote cultural changes, one of which is a greater emphasis on technology in business operations and marketing.

Disadvantages of reverse mentoring

Although reverse mentoring can be beneficial for many businesses, it may be worthwhile to take the potential drawbacks into account as well. When implementing a reverse mentoring program, businesses with difficult generational dynamics may experience initial conflict or may see lower interest than management would like.

Participants may also worry about infringing on one anothers privacy. For instance, if one partner assists the other in learning social media techniques, they might have access to family photos and other private details they otherwise wouldn’t know.

Finding times for reverse mentoring partners to meet can also be difficult. If this is the case, leadership may want to use digital communication tools in the reverse mentoring program as both a goal and a tool.


Why does reverse mentoring fail?

Executives not prioritizing reverse mentoring programs is the main cause of their failure. When sessions are postponed, the momentum quickly wanes. Improve session structure by teaching younger staff members; the more executives benefit, the more motivated they will be to maintain the commitment.

How do you reverse a mentoring session?

Reverse mentoring involves the senior team member (mentor) meeting with the junior one (mentee) and working on important topics together. These one-on-one meetings concentrate on discussion and task guidance in line with the mentee’s goals, just like traditional mentoring.

What are the 3 types of mentoring?

There are three types of mentoring.
  • Traditional One-on-one Mentoring. Through a program or independently, a mentor and mentee are matched.
  • Distance Mentoring. a mentoring relationship where the participants (or group) are spread out in different places
  • Group Mentoring. A single mentor is matched with a cohort of mentees.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *