It was a Monday morning, three months after an nine month leadership program I’d run had concluded. I was checking in on the wonderful group of leaders who had recently graduated from the program.

How were they? What progress had they made? Did they have any challenges they needed advice on? etc

Mentoring: one of my favourite parts of my role. The notion of a positive, supportive relationship, encouraging others to develop to their fullest potential. Often the more experienced person sharing their experience and wisdom with other person.

To my delight, many responded, updating me where they were at and sharing their achievements. 

To my surprise, one of the participants, ended his email with:
“How’s things with you? Not sure if you are into resolutions? Resolutions or not, what are your top 2 for this year (2 for professionally, 2 for personally)?”

This was brilliant!

We’d spoken about the importance of goal setting and accountability (both personally and professionally) and here he was keeping me to account. This is the same leader, who on our mentoring calls the previous year, spent more time asking me deep questions (that really challenged my thinking) and then providing his wisdom and thoughts.

It got me thinking about the power of Reverse Mentoring!

This is not a new phenomenon, Jack Welch (ex CEO GE) coined the term back in the late 1990’s, but it’s not a commonly used initiative. Alan Webber, the co-founder of Fast Company explains reverse mentoring:  “It’s a situation where the old fogies in an organisation realise that by the time you're in your forties and fifties, you're not in touch with the future the same way the young twenty-something's. They come with fresh eyes, open minds, and instant links to the technology of our future".

Now I certainly don’t like to label myself as an “old fogie”, yet these fresh-eyed, positive, engaged, future leaders have so much to offer us and so much we can learn from. 

  • I love that they are full of enthusiasm.

  • I love that they bursting with ideas.

  • I love that they don’t see the boundaries. 

We (the more experienced leaders or employees) simply need to open to this idea. Open to listen and to learn from others who may seem ‘less experienced’ than ourselves. It’s about transparency and trust. It’s about letting go of ego and leveraging talent and ideas. 

Rather than mentoring or reverse mentoring, it’s really about RECIPROCAL MENTORING.

As the name suggests, reciprocal mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship where each participant takes turns being the mentor and the mentee. Now, this doesn’t have to be ‘formal’, in fact the ‘informal’ mentoring relationships are often the most effective. Essentially, it’s about respecting the value that each person brings to the relationship and being open to learn from each other. 

Remember, the workplace of the future is one where Relationships will trump Rank! 

Reciprocal Mentoring, a great way to build and nurture your relationships, bring generations together, promote knowledge-sharing and improve sense of self-worth!

Doesn’t that sound like a win-win-win!

  • When was the last time you offered value to someone in your world (personal or professional)?

  • Who could you share your experience with to help develop their potential or help them with a challenge?

  • Who could you learn from?

Drop someone a line today!


BLYTHE ROWE & Her Life on Heels.

The founder and director of Human Incite, is widely recognised for her passion, energy and her ability to shake things up. Blythe is brilliant at revving-up productivity and performance in organisations. She is on a mission to rid our workplaces of toxic behaviours, build meaningful relationships, personally and professionally and create workplaces worth belonging. Her enthusiasm simply is infectious!