Who’s Teaching Who? Reverse Mentoring in the Workplace

Posted on May 15, 2012 by

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Need a mentor?

Need a mentor?

A few weeks ago, I happened to see a Twitter conversation between Karima-Catherine Goundiam and Olivier Blanchard about “reverse mentoring” – curious about the topic, I asked them to join me to discuss it on #SMchat and they graciously accepted. Karima-Catherine has more than a decade of experience with digital strategy including internal and external adoption of social media strategy, and Olivier is the author of “Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts In Your Organization” – the social media program development reference guide for executives – so they both are well-qualified social media mentors.

For those of you who don’t know what Reverse Mentoring is, Wikipedia describes it as a situation where the mentor has more knowledge in a specific situation, but the mentee has more overall experience (a.k.a. age) – the example we’ll use is when a younger employee teaches a senior leader about social media.

Here are the questions for the #SMchat being held on Wednesday 5/16/12 at 1P ET:

  1.  What are some examples of reverse mentoring and who’s doing it well?
  2. How can potential reverse mentors explain their benefit to senior-level mentees?
  3. How can experienced leaders learn from reverse mentoring in a way that is sensitive to their lack of knowledge of a subject?
  4. How does the level of seniority of the mentor or mentee impact the knowledge transferred?
  5. What strategies can mentors use to present a topic in a style that appeals to the mentee?

In case those weren’t enough, Karima-Catherine came up with a few more thought-provoking questions – these might take substantially more than 140 characters to answer, so please feel free to comment on them below:

·         What strategies must mentors adopt in order to present information that is understandable to the particular mentee?

·         What impact does a more senior leader mentor have on an employee compared to a less senior level mentor?

·         How can reverse mentors present information to senior leaders without undermining their experience and expertise in other areas?

·         How can reverse mentors ensure that the information they are presenting is taken seriously and not undermined because of their level of position?

·         Do reverse mentors have a great impact on a senior level mentee’s participation with new technologies such as social media, etc?

·         How can we ensure that what is taught through reverse mentoring is not dismissed by senior level employees? Do we need to develop new strategies for implementing what is taught by a reverse mentor into daily life?

The Wednesday, 5/16/12 1P ET #SMchat will hopefully give you some insights on the topic of Reverse Mentoring. Know anyone who’s using Reverse Mentoring in their daily lives as either a mentor or a mentee? Please have them join us to share their stories, too!

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Posted in: Marketing, Trends