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Reversed mentoring, is a new concept established during this decade. Where young mentors mentor senior leaders. A two-way experience sharing street attractive to both parties. The purpose is to enable senior leaders to tap into experiences junior employee have. This type of mentoring is especially common when talking about developing digital capabilities. But how do you pull of the first session when you need to nail it from start.
Senior leaders have a solid platform in place
Be humble! The person you will reverse mentor has a vast experience base. Most of it still relevant. Consider it a platform to build from where you can aspire to add perspectives and insights.
Senior leaders share the following attributes
- Focused – short time straight to the point
- Excellent communicators – brief, focused in plain language.
- Have strong influence in their own organization.
- Handle customer insights with great care.
- External communication context guided by clear company frameworks.
It is a large task and opportunity to raise your game to this level. And do it fast.
Need to develop digital courage and influencing skills
Reverse mentoring opportunities come from one or several of the following needs.
- Limited own experience with a fast-developing digital technology landscape.
- Digital immigrants in a world defined by digital natives.
- Business success defined by influencing eco-systems, and not just customers.
- Social media is often their fourth language, after native, second and business language skills.
Digital leadership skills in demand
Executives don’t aspire to be great at digital/social execution. But need to know enough to guide initiatives. Areas to address can fall in one or several of the following categories.
- Support in prioritizing which social channels to learn and exploit.
- Fining a balance of what to expose between professional and private.
- Develop a professional digital profile for use as social biographies.
- Identify industry influencers worth following in the digital domain.
- Define own ambition among the 3 primary influencing options.
- Develop his/her speech execution to maximize reach in digital channels.
- Understand role of digital discovery journeys, bridging marketing and sales.
- Understand role of employee advocacy programs in leveraging a business’ most trusted resources.
- Understand the role of social selling with an active LinkedIn agenda.
Craft a menu of skills you can offer
Prepare a menu skills you could offer to share. As you are the mentor and a senior colleague is the mentee. The skills most attractive to a senior mentee is digital capabilities. Where you are the digital native and the mentee a digital immigrant. Not restricted to technology itself. But your experience with digital tools embraced in the workplace. Your ability to master social media platforms for communication and marketing purposes. Your experience in building and evolving digital contact networks.
Plan your first meeting well
Aspire for a brief first session, where you should to click in 15 minutes but hope for 30. Open by understanding your mentees agenda and interest. Present the smorgasbord of ideas on what you can offer. Let questions and your mentees perspectives lead the conversation. Be open to add parts to the smorgasbord you feel you master.
What first meeting success can look like
- Trust – Your conversations are confidential and should stay so.
- Excitement – to move on to a follow up session.
- Courage – enough to explore one of the ideas you talked about before next session.
- Focus – a joint idea on which development areas you can contribute to.
- Reciprocity – prove you are ready to take on prep tasks for next session in areas you are not on top of.
Additional Reading suggestions
- Demonstrate your value to senior leaders – become a reversed mentor [BLOGPOST] – by CEB
- Reverse mentoring cracks the old workplace code [ARTICLE] – by Metro
- Reversed Mentoring – Building mutually beneficial partnerships [BLOGPOST] – by Mindtools
- How reverse mentorship can benefit your business [BLOGPOST] – by Sales Initiative
- How Millennials in the work place are turning peer mentoring on its head [ARTICLE] – by Fortune
- Modern mentoring is key to retaining Millennials [ARTICLE] – by Forbes