So, who’s your reverse mentor? What? You don’t have one? Why not? Don’t worry, there are plenty to choose from, and I’m sure your soon to be reverse mentor is going to be thrilled to help you out.
I’m a firm believer in the concept that everyone needs a coach. I have at least half a dozen of them, some are formal ones, and the rest are ones who I rely upon in situational circumstances. Kind of like on-demand coaches.
Just about everyone has something to offer other people, and Gen X and Millennials are well positioned to play the part of being a reverse mentor. The biggest reason is that they are far more comfortable with most technology than the Baby Boomer generation which did not grow up with some type of electronic device in their hands.
Gen X and Millennials comfort level with learning about technology is second nature to them. I’m not saying that all Baby Boomers are technology challenged, but most will acknowledge their technology mastering learning curve is likely steeper than the other generations.
Some Baby Boomers may have in fact limited their technology savviness to learning only the basics. That’s OK, but since there is so much to learn about various types of technology, it can’t hurt to learn more. Especially when you can have someone show you how to do something. From my perspective, experiential and hands-on learning is one of the best ways to learn.
Social media is certainly one of the technology areas that can be both a blessing and a curse. When I was recently asked if I thought social media was a good thing, I said there are more cons than pros from the perspective of how it doesn’t always represent reality. However, the upside is that it can link people together who might not otherwise have an opportunity to interact outside of their immediate social circle.
Businesses have benefitted enormously from social media, especially smaller ones, as it has in many ways leveled the competitive playing field for them. Competing with larger companies can still be a challenge, but the small to mid-size companies have a stronger chance of competing due to the affordability aspect of social media.
Now, let’s get back to the concept of why you should be either searching for a reverse mentor, or looking to be one for someone who could utilize your help. If you are searching for a reverse mentor, here are some tips on how to find one.
- The reverse mentor is comfortable having a conversation beyond the digital world they are often communicating in.
- Many marketing and sales people are very savvy social media practitioners, and often they have to be as part of their job responsibilities. So, Gen X and Millennials in these roles would be a good place to start your search.
- Considering having reverse mentors from multiple generations also makes sense, as they are going to have different perspectives and knowledge relating to both technology, and viewpoints on other numerous topics (e.g., what motivates people in their generation, culture).
- If you have a Human Resource department, ask your contact who they would recommend as a reverse mentor. Perhaps you might be a trendsetter in your office with this request!
- Talk to your friends about whether they know a Gen X or Millennial they would recommend.
- If you have a Gen X or Millennial in your family, ask them who they would consider as a pairing for you, or perhaps its them who could mentor you.
Of course, Gen X and Millennials have lots more to offer than their technology prowess, so start leveraging their skills and strengths. I guarantee you will have a new perspective on their generation after engaging with them in a reverse mentoring scenario. Most importantly, have fun with this experience, and be open to learning more than you could imagine.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.
Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.
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