Reverse Mentoring

I wonder if this could apply in other parts of our world: What do you think?


Workplace mentors used to be older and higher up the ranks than their mentees. Not anymore.

In an effort to school senior executives in technology, social media and the latest workplace trends, many businesses are pairing upper management with younger employees in a practice known as reverse mentoring. The trend is taking off at a range of companies, from tech to advertising.

The idea is that managers can learn a thing or two about life outside the corner office. But companies say another outcome is reduced turnover among younger employees, who not only gain a sense of purpose but also a rare glimpse into the world of management and access to top-level brass.

Reverse mentoring was championed by Jack Welch when he was chief executive of General Electric Co. He ordered 500 top-level executives to reach out to people below them to learn how to use the Internet. Mr. Welch himself was matched with an employee in her 20s who taught him how to surf the Web. The younger mentors “got visibility,” he says.

Fast forward a decade and mentors are teaching their mentees about Facebook and Twitter.

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  • Chris Colvin

    My good friend Earl Creps has written a great book on Reverse Mentoring in the church.

  • Joe Canner

    I ran across this idea in my graduate coursework in Educational Technology. Students are frequently more experienced with technology than their teachers and formal efforts to involve students in mentoring their teachers can both increase teacher productivity and effectiveness, as well as give students valuable experience and a sense of purpose. I don’t have first-hand experience with it, however, so I can’t say whether the theory bears out in practice.

  • dave wainscott

    Creps is great on that topic. Besides the book Chris linked, it is also dicussed in his book

    “Off Road: Spiritual Adventures for Missional Leaders”

  • Angie Ward

    I noticed this and wrote for Leadership Journal severl years ago about implications for ministry leaders: