Reverse Mentoring

I recently had my first session with my new IT mentor. Do you have one yet? If you’re over 30 years old, you may need one.

Historically, mentoring has been thought of as something that older people do for younger people – there’s certainly still a place for these relationships. But the world is changing so fast, it is often the young that can teach the old.
I’m excited about this new relationship for many reasons. First, it will accelerate my growth. Honestly, I could probably learn everything my new mentor will teach me on my own – over the next 100 years! I’d prefer to learn in days from someone else what I could learn on my own over decades. Next, I’m leveraging someone else’s talents and gifts. Allowing them to share their expertise and share their passion seems like a good idea to me. Finally, I’ll get to spend time with a very smart person – I really enjoy that!
So what are we actually going to talk about? I’m not totally sure, but the following is my first stab at what I think I need. Who knows, he may add things to my list I’ve never even considered.
I need someone to…

Show me what’s possible with technology. I’m trying to keep up – but I need help. I want him to teach me about new and emerging technologies.

Help me disable the feature that makes me change my password every time I turn around.

Critique what I’m already doing in social media. Are my posts too long? Are my tweets lame? My son helps with this too. How do I make my content more compelling for a younger generation?

Suggest sites I should visit.

Challenge the way my brain works. I’m a product of my generation. I’m far too linear – social media is not.

Explain the cloud.

Recommend new products – software, hardware, apps, etc.

Ask me questions that I don’t know the answers to.

Give me answers to the questions I don’t even know to ask.

Recommend resources – conferences, books, magazines and other resources that I’m not familiar with.

Help me put music on my iPhone!

Do you need to start a reverse mentoring relationship? Don’t confine your thinking to the technology arena. Maybe, a younger person could help you learn about sushi, Settlers of Katan, popular music, or even how to lead the next generation more effectively. Have fun and keep growing![GLS_Shield]

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Ryan P. Walker

11 years ago

Mark, please don't look for a way to disable the "you must change your password" feature, or let me know how you did it when you find it. I will find a way to prevent you from getting around this security measure. Seriously though, let's discuss WHY it is in place and tools to make your life easier.
I'm currently reading "Alone Together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other" by Dr. Sherry Turkle. It has a lot of explanation of how people, the younger generation especially, approach technology. This might be a very interesting read if you want "change the way your brain works."


11 years ago

I was kidding about the "change your password" part. I've just got to get a system to help me remember all my passwords! Thanks for the book recommendation. I heard Dr. Turkle speak at TED this year - very powerful. Thanks for all you do!

Bob Tiede

11 years ago

This is a great idea! I will be passing this on to all of our coaches! Another added benefit is that it will deepen your relationship with your mentee! Maybe you have heard that a better way to build a relationship with a new neighbor than doing something for them is to ask them to do something for you. If you do something for them they might feel a bit awkward...but if you for example ask if they have a saw you could borrow---most would happily loan you their saw. Now of course you have to return it promptly. 🙂

8 Ways to Make a Reverse Mentorship Work for You | Internet Business Blog - How to start your Online business, Tips and Resources

11 years ago

[...] Facebook, he clarifies in this post on his Fantastic Leaders Serve [...]

Nathan Magnuson

8 years ago

This post is one we've linked to on our executive mentoring SharePoint page - really fits.


8 years ago

Thank you. Nathan! Please let me know how I can serve you and your team. Mark


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