Mentoring of undergrad students is a part of all our projects at ShikshaDaan. Krishnan and I absolutely love this part of our job even more than giving away scholarships. Some of our mentees are such a delight to speak with !!! Every single mentoring conversation teaches us something new.
Do read this article by Harvard Business Review – Why Reverse Mentoring Works and How to Do It Right. This is in the corporate context where a junior employee mentors a senior. I love the concept of reverse mentoring because it brings out a fundamental truth – we are lifelong learners.
With our student mentoring, its truly reverse mentoring many a time. For instance yesterday, I had a mentoring conversation with one of my favourite mentees. The topic I chose for the discussion was “visualization”. I shared this powerful video with her –
I also shared about Arunima Sinha, the first woman amputee to climb Mt. Everest. I spoke of how when Arunima met with Bachendri Pal, and shared her dream of climbing Mt. Everest, Bachendri Pal said to her that the very fact she had thought of climbing Everest despite being an amputee, she WILL do it. Thats the power of visualization.
Pat comes the reply from my Mentee who is way smarter and far more informed than me … “Ma’am, this is what Wilma Rudolph did”. I took a few minutes to try and remember Wilma Rudolph. Well, my mentee was spot on – Wilma was told that she may never walk due to polio, let alone play sports but in the 1960 Summer Olympics she won three golds and was named the Fastest Woman in the World.
I will never forget Wilma Rudolph ever again, all thanks to my mentee. This is the power of reverse mentoring.
While corporate mentoring is very different and has a different purpose, student mentoring is largely about sharing your experience. These young kids are bright and resourceful. They just need a small nudge in the right direction and they will go on to achieve big.
ShikshaDaan supports financially underprivileged students to complete their higher education post school. So all our student mentees are from disadvantaged backgrounds and they break the myth that poor children aren’t smart or that a small town doesn’t produce success stories. Each one of our mentees is a rock star and we can’t wait to see them claim their rightful place in the world.
Do read an earlier post of mine – Who should be a mentor or coach?