A mentor is a trusted adviser who uses their expertise and experience to guide and advise a less experienced protégé/ protégée. A mentor is often thought to be older and therefore more experienced than the person they advise. For example, in the IT sector a good example would be Bill Gates. In business, Warren Buffett or Richard Branson would immediately spring to mind. In the recruitment world, Greg Savage advises many recruitment companies.
An experienced mentor can be life changing and extremely valuable to your personal development and your business. Whether your relationship is just for one year or ongoing, mentorship can empower you and drastically increase the chance of you or your business succeeding.
But what about the concept of a REVERSE MENTOR? Alan Webber, the co-founder of Fast Company, explains reverse mentoring below:
“Its a situation where the old fogies in an organization realize that by the time you’re in your forties and fifties, you’re not in touch with the future the same way as the young twenty-something’s. They come with fresh eyes, open minds, and instant links to the technology of our future”.
I believe that it is very beneficial to seek advice from not just the highly experienced but also the new players in the industry to gain a fresh perspective. After all, these “young” people will be the leaders of the future.
From a personal perspective, I have worked with some fantastic Millennials over the last few years. Millennials are often criticised for being entitled, overindulged and lazy. In the main, I have not found this to be the case. Instead, I consider them to be hardworking, focussed and people I would seek advice from. I would describe them as my unofficial reverse mentors.
To a lesser extent, I also look to my children as reverse mentors. My eldest daughter (Year 7) is at the tail end of the Post-Millennials or Gen-Z. She has never known a world without social media, smartphones, iPads etc etc. She seeks advice from me, her Gen-X mother, whilst I ask questions to discover what her and her friend’s perspectives are on the world today. She has many interesting things to say and I must admit she has taught me new things or made me think about things in a different way.
In my opinion, we should seek advice from a wide variety of sources whether they be young or old as well as different cultures, nationalities, etc etc. NEVER STOP LEARNING!!