We always long for something which we never had, once you get it our heart wants more of it. Mentoring has been a favorite topic very close to my heart , this could be because I never had a mentor who could guide me during my initial career days.
A mentor is defined as “a person who gives a younger or less experienced person help and advice over a period of time, especially at work or school.”
Choosing HR as a career stream came as a natural choice to me for many reasons. Two decades ago, one could purse MBA in Marketing, Finance or HR stream. HR then seemed as the most simplest option. I was fortunate enough to be entrusted of setting up HR function in my first assignment. Hence my reporting has always been to the core founders or Business Heads. This never gave me an opportunity to mentored under from a senior HR professional. Thus for my work related queries, I had my young team mates to do the brainstorming and problem solving.
Reverse Mentoring is an initiative in which older executives are paired with and mentored by younger employees on topics such as technology, social media and current trends. It was first popularized by former GE Chairman Jack Welsh and it’s been around for about a decade or so, but seems to be picking up with the increasingly fast pace of technology in business.
Reverse Mentoring happened to me over a period of time. That I was being reversely mentored dawned to me when realized that I would often back to my team mates on getting stuck or when I needed to brain storm. The ironic part here in my case of reverse mentoring my mentors never realized they were mentoring me.
One of my team mates moved on to take up OD as the functional expertise. If I have to take views on assessment centers or setting up a new process, I know whom to look upon. Another colleague of mine is an expert with statutory and IR and I know whom to look up during such crisis.
Reverse Mentoring helps one to stay abreast in his /her chosen field of interest. Some points to be considered during Reverse Mentoring are:
Updating new / latest skills
Learning the new trends and skills from the mentor. We gotta admit the younger lot are agile and have undying passion for latest trends and fads. Having a knowledge sharing and QA sessions helps sharpen our blunt areas.
Develop a relation with your mentor who will call a spade a spade. One who thinks he knows it all, is the biggest fool. Acceptance that every individual has something to teach us, will help one in treading the way ahead. A mentee should have the humility to take critical inputs and improve upon.
The fresh insights and their respective experience helps to give us a career direction. During our routine days, we fail to sometimes remain abreast of the various options, the younger lot who are on their toes, always share a fresh perspective.
Any relation cannot flourish without trust and openness. The mentee should have complete faith in his mentor and his views and accept the views without an ounce of doubt. It is imperative that the mentor should have the best interest of his mentee too.
Working or Non working relation
It can happen in an existing working or non working relation. It need not always be a defined mentor – mentee relationship when the expectations are being set to update a new skill or learn on new technologies. It could dawn over a period of time (as it happened to me)
Reverse Mentoring has happened to me over a period of time when I leaned on to my team mates , mostly while guiding them,when self learning happened.
So here is my long pending first blog dedicated to all my young mentors who mentored me in my personal and professional journey! Needless to say one of my mentor is an enthusiastic blogger too! Thanks for the inspiration buddy!
Look around you will find a new budding young talent ready to coach you something special!
What did I come here to learn ? what did I come here to teach? – Louise Hay