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Choose a younger person as a work mentor

These tips will get your reverse mentoring process off to a great start, writes Rosie Ifould

by Psychologies

1. Be specific – being young isn’t a good enough prerequisite for a mentor. Look around for someone who has an interesting set of skills, or someone you think has already made an impressive start to their career.

2. Expect to feel vulnerable. It’s hard to admit when you don’t know something and you need advice.

3. Have a specific area to work on. For a lot of people, it’s about understanding social media or new technology but, as Penny Power, founder of the Digital Youth Academy and ambassador for the Department for Business’s Get Mentoring campaign observes, it can also be about gaining new insight into how your customers think, for example, or adopting a new approach to networking.

4. Think about the insights or experiences that you can offer your mentor, as well as what you can learn from them.

5. For mentees: Freeformers’ 27-year-old lead trainer Lewie Allen says, ‘People aren’t always comfortable admitting there are things they don’t know, so I try to make it all about them.I’ll tailor a training session to someone’s interests, to make it more relevant to them. The quicker I can get them out of the mindset of “who is this young guy?” and prove to them that I know something useful, the better it is.’

Photograph: iStock

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