Friday, 14 August 2015

We Can Always Learn From Younger People

This week the world celebrated #YouthDay2015. I wrote a guest blog for Youth Career Council, an organisation devoted to providing employment opportunity to disadvantaged youth. The guest blog really got me thinking about giving back to young people via mentoring, but also about the importance of learning and keeping open minded about who we learn from. Too often we underestimate what young people have to offer, especially in the workplace, and believe that older members of the community have all the knowledge required. This is so wrong! 

For example in my work as mentor I continue to enjoy the benefits of win win relationships, in which younger adults share their own skills and knowledge with me. This is often known as 'reverse mentoring' but actually it should be seen as a natural component of a mentoring relationship. Lately I have been mentored by a young lady who has opened up the world of blogging and social media with me. She knows far more then I do and I must say, without her precious support and advice I probably would have kept on delaying my blog which is now successfully in its 8th month. 

Reverse mentoring is being used by companies as large and prestigious as IBM to foster relationship across every age and ensure that senior executives remain 'in tune' and engaged with younger recruits. The point is that we all have something to share with others and we can all learn from each other if we remain open minded and willing to overcome age barriers.

Likewise as a young professional starting out in business I enjoyed the mentoring of some great people, first and foremost my very first boss at the World Travel and Tourism Council. I did not know it was mentoring at the time, but he believed in me and challenged me to take on bigger projects, greater chances. As I result In my twenties I had the chance experienced things I never thought I would ever be able to accomplish and went on to enjoy even greater professional and personal opportunities.

Twenty years later, I am now in the position to mentor younger people and particularly women so that they can also learn from my experiences and move on to create even better opportunities for themselves.

So whether you are a younger or more experienced member of the community and/or your workplace environment my advice is not only to find yourself a mentor but to actually always think about your strengths and seize the opportunity to 'put them to the service' of other people, peers or otherwise!, because we can always learn from each other.

Alessandra is an experienced mentor, business coach, consultant and strategist. She supports individuals - especially women - and organisations in achieveing their potential through customised, outcome driven interventions . You can find out more about Alessandra here and contact her by email here. 

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