How to be a Reverse Mentor to Senior Colleagues
To find a mentor, be a mentor. Mentors are everywhere, but you be strategic to find and choose a mentor that can work as a two-way street.
Mentorship works for young employees, and for good reason. Those who have been in the workforce for decades learn wisdom to impact the next generation.
But as the workplace transforms rapidly, mentorship now goes both ways. Younger workers mentoring their more senior colleagues on digital tools and emerging practices.
For today’s youth, becoming a reverse mentor has several benefits, including networking, learning through teaching and the ability to form deeper relationships at work. To help build youth skills for the next generation, here’s how to create these connections.
Look for a matching program
Where do you start? A reverse mentorship experience often begins with a traditional mentorship arrangement. For many, a university alma mater, your current workplace or a professional organization will help match a young person with a mentor that aligns with their interests, needs and personality. A beneficial mentor isn’t simply someone who is more experienced – it’s someone with the right experience. Get help from groups to find the right match before diving in blindly.
Create “office hours”
When you’re in college, you can stop by your professor’s office hour or book an appointment with your academic advisor. The same principles of mentorship are just as important in the workplace. But after you graduate, you be more proactive about it. Create times when you can stop by to ask questions, answer and exchange information with your partner in mentorship.
Create measurable outcomes
Once a match is made, each side should decide on outcomes. Not every interaction needs to to a metric. But it helps all parties to have a measurable goal in mind for the mentorship, such as helping secure a new job, learn a specific skill or make a certain number of introductions. At the end of the time period, the measurement standards can be assessed to show what helped, and what adjustments can be made to future goals.
Many professionals understand the value to their career in having a mentor. Each of us needs someone to cheer us on, give us a different perspective on an issue, or simply share career knowledge and experiences. And for young people, those relationships can go both ways.