Reverse Coaching, also known as Reverse Mentoring, generally consists of training the older people in a company by the younger employees, most often on digital tools.
Why practice Reverse Coaching?
It aims to train senior citizens on tools that they are not familiar with or that they are reluctant to experiment with. More than training them, it is about facilitating theiraccess to knowledge.
By favouring reverse coaching to an external facilitator, it is more interesting for the mentor and the manager to share knowledge of the company and the market, a bit like Peer Learning.
Apart from the pedagogical side, Reverse Coaching brings a new perspective to the company, sharing experience between generations allows for the creation of innovative strategies. Internal collaboration will be favoured and it will be easier for managers and newcomers to exchange ideas in order to move towards better solutions. This practice can lead to the establishment of a collective intelligence within the company.
Combining new tools and knowledge with experience in the market can maximise the potential of a strategy to be far more effective than it would otherwise have been.
It is the way the company operates that is changing, rather than being based on cooperation around a project, we are moving towards a collaborative company culture where everyone helps each other and provides answers to a problem.
Do the young mentors get anything out of it?
Reverse Coaching is beneficial for everyone, even if the young mentor brings new knowledge, the exchange allows the trainee to share his/her experience.
It is also a good practice to foster communication in the company, it allows younger people to gain confidence and facilitate interaction with their managers. It creates links between Mentors and Managers, there will be less hesitation and stress during the different exchanges in the company, and there is a good chance that it will develop the mentors' strength of proposal. The first junior/senior exchanges can be scary at first, so with the ChallengeMe platform, we decided to make this knowledge sharing process anonymous. The aim is to be able to experiment without fear of feedback from other participants.
It also allows them to discover more, because even if they share the same objective with their learner, their jobs differ and their needs differ, they learn to adapt to the person they are working with and gain in skills.
A practice already adopted by large groups:
Some large companies have already started to practice Reverse Coaching(Axa, Danone, SNCF, Orange, etc.). They are pushing the experiment to the limit by training juniors directly to become effective mentors, who will know how to work on the most appropriate learning framework.
According to the director of Axa University, Nicolas Rolland, it is necessary to allow managers to experiment with the tools used by customers, in order to understand what the company can offer them in this area.
Jean-Baptiste Gourdin, founder and CEO of TalenCo, believes there are three golden rules to follow:
- A good selection of mentors with digital skills
- The creation of a pedagogical support
- A short training for the mentor to adopt an adequate posture
Axa considers that there are 3 types of orientations for reverse coaching on new technologies and social networks. Firstly, there is beginner level training for those who want to discover a digital tool. Secondly, there are those who want to develop their already acquired knowledge and experiment. And finally, there are those who are already using these new technological tools and social networks, but are not fully exploiting their potential.
The link with ChallengeMe?
When you put together a team to participate in a challenge, you are free to choose its members and thus create a homogeneous group. Peer Learning combined with Reverse Coaching will allow for a more diversified exchange of solutions and will bring even more knowledge to everyone.
Reverse Coaching can be stressful for a young mentor, having to explain effectively to a senior may seem complicated. However, as the challenges are anonymous, your young mentors will be able to teach others without fear of being judged by their superiors, and it will even be beneficial for them to receive positive feedback on their method through the experience of superiors.
Reverse Coaching is a worthwhile experience, easy to implement, and allows for effective knowledge sharing. It is a practice that is equally beneficial to both parties, and will enhance collaboration, cooperation and understanding within your company. It will result in improved strategy through fresh eyes and better use of available tools, while taking into account the experience gained by the senior staff of the company.
It is an experience that is becoming more and more popular in large companies and continues to develop and accumulate positive feedback from teams. In any case, if you like to experiment with new management methods, you should take a look at Participative Management.