In a D&I context, different forms of mentoring can also provide a powerful opportunity for leaders to gain understanding and insights which help them drive D&I change and accelerate progress.
Brook Graham offers a range of mentoring solutions, including:
Reverse or Reciprocal Mentoring
As the name suggests, unlike in traditional mentoring where, typically, a senior person will mentor a junior colleague, in reverse mentoring it works the other way round. That is to say, a senior leader will be given the opportunity to be mentored by a more junior colleague who, from a D&I perspective, is different from him/her in some key ways, and who has a different experience of the organisation as a result.
In a reciprocal mentoring programme the mentoring activity is shared between the two mentoring partners. That is to say, a senior leader will be given the opportunity to be mentored by a more junior colleague who, from a D&I perspective, is different from him/her in some way, and who has a different experience of the organisation as a result. And the junior colleague is given the opportunity to be mentored, in turn, by the senior person and thereby gain insights into the experience and perspectives gained from operating at a senior level.
At the heart of both forms of mentoring relationship are mutual trust, mutual respect and a genuine desire to learn and to facilitate the other person’s learning.
All reverse or reciprocal mentoring programmes are designed with the specific circumstances and needs of the client in mind, so there is no 'set programme'.
Some of the successful programmes we have designed and managed have included the following features:
- The mentoring relationships typically aim to run for between six months and a year, with between six and eight face-to-face meetings between the 'mentoring pairs' during this time.
- Both parties are briefed and prepared for their roles in advance of the scheme starting (and for the more junior mentors this usually involves attending a one or two day workshop)
- There is regular contact and support provided as the scheme goes ahead, and periodic check-ins to see that the process is running smoothly.
- At the end of the scheme there is a formal 'wrap–up' to consolidate learning and resulting action plans.
We have extensive experience of what it takes to position, set up and run these programmes successfully in very different organisations, and across widely different geographies. Having seen how effective both reverse and reciprocal mentoring programmes are, we are strong advocates!
Brook Graham has a great deal of experience in setting up and running cross company mentoring programmes, having co-founded the highly acclaimed FTSE 100 Cross Company Mentoring Programme in 2004, which supports the progression of executive women to main board directorships. The model is one whereby the Chair or CEO of a top UK listed company, mentors a woman with director level potential in another. The underlying aim and the success of the programme, has been to increase the visible pool of talented women candidates for Board level positions. This effective model for developing top female talent has been adopted in many other countries and the UK programme is now run by The Mentoring Foundation.