Last week at our lunch and learn Beth Aderholt, a friend and regular at our training programs shared a trend with me called reverse mentoring.
The idea is basically this:
While traditional mentoring involves a older and more experienced person teaching a younger and less experienced person, reverse mentoring is when older people partner up with younger people to learn more about technology. Age aside, the idea of reverse mentoring is basically that younger people are now becoming the teachers on topics like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Ipads and new technologies.
An article in the WSJ shared:
Reverse mentoring was championed by Jack Welch when he was chief executive of General Electric Co. He ordered 500 top-level executives to reach out to people below them to learn how to use the Internet. Mr. Welch himself was matched with an employee in her 20s who taught him how to surf the Web. The younger mentors “got visibility,” he says.
Reverse mentoring has benefits for everybody. The younger people have the opportunity to showcase their knowledge, and build relationships with senior people in their organization while the less tech savvy get informal training.
With the pace of technology changing quickly, many managers at all levels struggle to keep up with the latest and greatest. We see a lot of this at our social media training programs.
Reverse mentoring is a powerful idea because it allows for informal and continuous learning.