The Reverse Coaching also called Reverse Mentoring, is an initiative in which older employees of a company are paired with and mentored by younger employees on topics such as social media, technology, and current trends.
Why practice Reverse Coaching?
Usually, most experienced workers provide the most input, make decisions and provide mentorship to newer employees. But the fast-moving technology had reversed this logic in some places. Older employees may have experience and insight, but they may also lack strong skills in newer technologies.
So, reverse coaching aims to train seniors on tools they don’t know or hesitate to experiment. It facilitates their access to knowledge.
Reverse coaching is interesting for both the mentor and the mentee, as it uses the Peer Learning methodology.
Aside from the pedagogical side, Reverse Coaching provides a new perspective on the company. Experience sharing between generations can create innovative strategies. The in-house collaboration will be fostered and it will be easier for Managers and newcomers to share and move towards better solutions. This practice can lead to the establishment of a collective intelligence within the company.
Combining new tools and knowledge with market experience can maximize the potential of a strategy.
It’s the operating mode of the company that evolves. Rather than relying on cooperation around a project, we tend toward a collaborative culture where everyone helps each other and brings bits of answers to a problematic.
Do young mentors get something out of it?
The Reverse Coaching is beneficial to everyone. Even if the young mentor brings new knowledge, the exchange allows the trainee to share his experience.
It is then a good practice to promote communication in the company. It allows younger people to gain self-confidence and facilitate interaction with managers and other more experienced people. There will be less hesitation and stress during the future exchanges, and there’s a good chance that mentors will develop a strong sense of proposal.
Reverse Coaching also allows trainers to reach better levels of adaptability. Mentors often have jobs that really differ from their mentees. By interacting with people from different backgrounds who also have different activity within the organization, young mentors will naturally learn how to better adapt themselves to any kind of person.
The junior/senior exchanges can be scary at first, that’s why ChallengeMe decided to make this sharing knowledge process anonymous. The goal is to be able to experiment without being afraid of other participants’ feedback.
A practice already adopted by large groups:
There are large companies that have already started to practice reverse coaching, (Axa, Danone, SNCF, Orange …). They push the experience even further by directly training the juniors to become effective mentors.
According to Axa University’s director, Nicolas Rolland, it is necessary to allow executives to experiment with the tools used by clients in order to understand what the company can bring to them on this ground.
Three golden rules must be respected for Jean-Baptiste Gourdin, founder, and CEO of TalenCo:
- A good selection of mentors mastering digital tools
- The creation of an educational support
- A short training for the mentor to adopt an adequate posture
Axa considers that there are 3 types of guidance for reverse coaching on new technologies and social networks. First, there is beginner level training for those who want to discover a digital tool. Then there are people who wish to develop their already acquired knowledge and experiment. And finally, there are those who already use these new technological tools and social networks, but who do not exploit their full potential.
The link with ChallengeMe?
When you compose 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 enable a more diverse exchange of solutions and bring even more knowledge to everyone.
Reverse Coaching can mean stress for a young mentor. Effectively explain to a senior can seem complicated. However the challenges being anonymous, your young mentors will be able to teach others without fear of being judged by their peers, their managers or much more experienced people.
The Reverse Coaching is a very interesting experience. Setting it up is easy and allows efficient knowledge sharing. It’s a win-win practice that will enhance collaboration, cooperation, and understanding within your organization. The result will be an improvement in terms of strategy, thanks to a new look and better use of the tools available, while taking into account the experience gained by the company’s seniors.
It’s an experience that is becoming increasingly popular in large companies and continues to grow and gather positive feedback from teams. In any case, if you like experimenting with new management methods, you should take a look at Participative management.