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How Reverse Mentoring can Help those not Born into the Digital Age

In our last blog, we mentioned Generation Y, the younger generation of today – and its preference for interactions, social media and a life that has grown up with the internet and all things digital. For those people in the slightly older generation – say 30s and 40s, they have learnt this, but did not grow up with it. And for a generation beyond that – those maybe in their 50s or 60s, some of whom are running some of the world’s biggest businesses, it is only a fraction of life that has been in the digital era. And it is another world, the digital world.

This is where Reverse Mentoring comes in. Whereas we often think of mentoring to come down from the wisdom of those with more experience of life, passed on to those with less, this looks at it from a different perspective and encourages the older generations to learn more about the younger – it’s two way. And in Australia, in some businesses such as Mastercard, the younger people are mentoring the executives, to help bring them into the digital age – what a great thing. And how good if this can be two way, so through this process, the younger people learn from the executives at the same time. We like to think of it more as two-way mentoring, rather than reverse. And as per our previous blog, it is two-way that attracts the younger generation, rather than one way.

Although the article we refer to is about businesses and professional mentoring, this could also apply in student mentoring and youth mentoring scenarios, where the older generation can learn from the younger – with teachers, academics and students interacting two way.