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The Win-Win of Reverse Mentoring

July 16, 2013

Female Business PartnersThe people who are the most in tune with today’s technology are young people.  My daughter, nephew and their friends can do way more with my iPhone and iPad than I can even imagine. Frankly, they can do more than I’d ever want to do, but that’s not really my point.

When they show me what they know, they laugh because I know so little, but in these moments, they are my teacher, my mentor and coach.  Our roles are reversed.  They love it, and so do I.

With so many generations sharing the workplace and the home space, there are a lot of benefits to changing our perspective from sharing wisdom gained through the years to exchanging knowledge between age groups.  Now that the pace of change is driven by the MTV Generation,” it’s becoming increasingly clear that “the elders” are no longer the only source for valuable resources and information.

Are there places in your life where those you mentor and coach could mentor and coach you?  Reverse mentoring in the workplace is just the beginning.  This goes beyond computers and other technology.  A younger person can help you communicate better with co-workers and others you interact with from another generation — maybe your own children.  They might also have valid fashion advice to update your current look, or insight into their strikingly different views on current events or how much to reveal on social media.

Put aside the pride of being the older, more seasoned person and take full advantage of these opportunities. Your young mentor and coach will feel good about their ability to teach an old dog some new tricks and the process is sure to be a confidence booster. It will also strengthen your relationship and your understanding of the shifting world around you.

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