Human Resource Domain
Asha Bangari
Hr Professional

Thread Started by #Asha Bangari


The concept of a senior person learning new & latest concepts from a fairly young & junior person is REVERSE MENTORING

While traditional mentoring focuses on passing knowledge from professional to up-and-coming stars, Reverse Mentoring feeds expertise up the corporate world.

Thus under Reverse Mentoring, “a younger or less experienced Executive helps a more senior manager gain insight into areas, such as computers and changing IT technology, changing mindsets & expectations of the younger generation, new business concepts, thinking out of the box etc.”



- Seniors or Mentees“ The reverse mentoring sessions are extra-ordinarily valuable. They have made us a better leader and more in touch with today’s workplace” says a senior executive from GE.


• Improves decision making as it brings a lot of associated inputs in terms of feeling of employees, new development around the industry, best practices etc. and create more tightly knit relationship with juniors. So it serves as an element of Decision Support System.

• Reverse mentoring helps senior executives learn new areas as computers, technology, culture and other highly focused technical areas.

• Senior employees learn new skills and competencies that boost their job performance and motivate them to work better.

• It is a part of natural evolution of learning as business in the digital age requires more than a pulse and a briefcase.

- Subordinates or Mentors“Having a direct line of communication with the senior executive is invaluable” which is the most important feature of this relationship.

• It opens a direct opportunity to gain a great deal of confidence.

• It helps in gaining insights and wisdom that could otherwise take years to obtain.

• It is a tool for opening the channels of communication and knowledge sharing.

• It helps junior employees face critical situations along with the seniors which otherwise would have not faced being young & junior. There is no substitute to experience. The young ones greatly benefit from the treasure of experience of seniors and their calm and poise.

- Organization

Reverse mentoring is very beneficial for organizations whether it is done formally or informally. It attracts the many possible gains-

• Increased level of expertise and productivity by providing assistance, guidance & informal skill for the mentees.

• Reduced turnover and Increase in Loyalty.

• 1-to-1 relationship acquired helps foster a feeling of caring and support through testing times.

• Development of managerial talent. A young employee can provide skills and knowledge about new technologies which normally would not be provided to the mentee or if provided it would be very expensive and time consuming.

• Increase the mentor’s skill of communication, problem solving and resource management which could be beneficial to the organization in the long run.

• Saves time and money spent on training activities.

• Helps seniors to understand the aspirations and feeling of young ones and culture fitness in the organization. It proves beneficial in many staffing decisions such as hiring, induction, training, placement etc.

• It also facilitates resourcing the energy and enthusiasm of the young ones in the organization and having perfect fusion of their individual goals with those of the organization’s.


(Principles behind Reverse Mentoring)

Setting up a successful Reverse Mentoring program requires a great deal of effort and planning. Without a solid foundation, it is likely to encounter more than a few bumps and participants are likely to receive plenty of mental bruises. As the relationship involved is a very delicate one.

5 Step Reverse Mentoring program-

1- Developing a structured program: Either, assign mentoring pairs or, let participants find mentors/mentees they feel they will be comfortable with. What’s important is to develop a set of goals, objectives and ground rules.

2- Make the program a priority: Participants must understand the importance of a reverse mentoring program and block time which mentors & mentees would spend with each other so that seniors do not miss those sessions due to their busy schedule.

3- Screen the members: Being young doesn’t automatically make a person an authority on what’s “COOL”. Mentors must have patience and temperament to work with senior executives as the seniors may be reluctant to open up with someone so junior.

4- Provide proper training: Mentor must learn what’s important and how to show patience and the mentee has to check his or her ego at the door, otherwise the whole reverse mentoring program may fall.

5- Solicit feedback and make necessary changes: Reverse mentoring can require CORRECTION. By surveying participants it’s possible to identify strengths and weaknesses and make the adjustment necessary to achieve success.

What is Required for Successful Reverse Mentoring?

Both, the mentor and the mentee, must have certain qualities and attributes. Both the parties have their share of responsibilities which when fulfilled can make a reverse mentoring program successful. Following are the must have qualities for a mentor and his partner in a Reverse Mentoring Program:-


• Listen and Understand

• Challenge and Stimulate learning

• Teach by example

• Introduce to new technologies

• Patient

• Restricted advice


• Listen

• Act on advice

• Show commitment

• Ask for feedback

• Open-minded

• Willing to change

• Act pro-actively

By developing these qualities the success of the reverse mentoring program can be ensured. But it requires a lot of motivation as both the parties must understand the importance of implementing this program.

Junior executives must understand that senior executives are much more wise and experienced and this program should maintain the ego of the senior executives intact.

Most Important Key for Successful Implementation of Reverse Mentoring

It includes:-

• Training the mentor to be patient and restricting his or her advice to relevant topics only.

• Privacy and confidentiality are also important for senior’s who don’t wish to be seen as depending on the TIPS from the employees with less experience.

Limitations of Reverse Mentoring

“The idea of reverse mentoring is good, but should be used Judiciously”

• Senior executives may not like taking advice from executives who are juniors to them.

• It is not present formally, therefore, little Reverse Mentoring is found in organizations.

• Reverse Mentoring programs may wither if they lack clear and adequate goals.

• If not handled properly it can ruin the work atmosphere and discipline in the organization.

20th September 2007 From India, Lucknow
Hello Asha
Nice write up. Very good points indeed. alas! in our country, people are surrounded by so much ego that they would hire an external consultant to learn the same thing which they could have learnt from their juniors.
But I felt that the words Reverse mentoring is not suitable in this case. mentoring is totally different concept. Mentor is a person who has wide experience over a period of time, knowledge and can steer the mentee in achieving his/her goal and as a result the big organizational goal. A mentor has to have the overall knowledge and vision. A new, highly qualified, knowledgeable, young person can never be a mentor to an experienced person because then the concept of mentorship will totally change.
Yes the young person can be a coach. There is a wide difference between mentor, coach and counselor
so the term may be reverse coaching. Or better Reverse Learning.
These were just my thoughts.
thanks again
20th September 2007 From India, Delhi
My Dear,

What you said is correct, but “Reverse Mentoring” is said as it is – Reverse of Mentoring what many of the companies are using.

Many people feel that being a mentor requires special skills, but mentors are simply people who have the qualities of good role models.

For years, forward-thinking companies have viewed mentoring as a way to pass on experience and knowledge within an organization. Hundreds of companies in an array of industries have established formal and informal programs designed to ratchet up their competitive firepower. Yet the technological revolution has presented the modern enterprise--and human resources--with an intriguing irony: it's not uncommon for young, entry-level workers to have a better understanding of technology than their managers.

In response, many organizations are shifting into reverse. They're asking tech-savvy employees to teach the "old dogs" new tricks. "Reverse mentoring can provide substantial benefits for an organization," says Matt Starcevich, CEO of the Center for Coaching and Mentoring in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. In a study conducted last year, the company found that 41 percent of respondents use reverse mentoring to spread technical expertise and 26 percent rely on younger staff members to help executives gain a more youthful perspective.

"Executives are beginning to realize that knowledge isn't a one-way street. It's in everyone's best interest to share expertise,"


Asha Bangari
20th September 2007 From India, Lucknow
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