Promoting inclusive leadership and culture

Anyone with experience, knowledge and insights can be a mentor and when we look at mentoring that focuses on diversity and inclusion, there are a number of ways this can manifest itself. Reverse mentoring schemes provide us with an incredible opportunity to build inclusion across the sector. Reverse mentoring turns traditional mentorship on its head as leaders become the mentees and junior staff look to educate leaders about diversity issues by exposing them to insightful conversations, potential challenges and experiences that they may otherwise never encounter.  Reverse mentoring acknowledges that the more senior person is the one who is looking for a fresh outlook and these relationships are often profoundly transforming for both parties and create a more inclusive culture.

Unconscious bias

Reverse mentoring schemes can focus on a range of issues, including understanding generational shifts, tackling the underrepresentation of females or minorities at senior levels of organisations, changing societal attitudes and breaking unconscious bias.

Many studies believe that unconscious bias happens automatically as our brain makes quick decisions based on its past experiences. How someone thinks can depend on their life experiences and sometimes they have beliefs and views about other people that might not be right or reasonable It is hard to understand the challenges people face when you don’t know them.  Unconscious bias  refers to unconscious forms of discrimination and stereotyping.

Unconscious bias can manifest in many ways and in countless situations. It’s up to us to identify it so we can combat it and give everyone the opportunity they deserve.

Reflective Practice

Using reflective practice during your mentoring conversation can help make meaning from experience and transform insights into practical strategies for personal growth and organisational impact.


Reflective practice has huge benefits in increasing self-awareness, which is a key component of emotional intelligence, and in developing a better understanding of others. Providing opportunities to reflect in a mentoring relationship means: Learning to pay attention – and listening to ourselves and others.

Questions to encourage reflection.

  • What is the main goal you would like to achieve in this mentoring relationship?
  • What would help you gain more insight in this area?
  • Tell me about your role?
  • What would you like to change?


Reframing is an essential step in that it focuses on a different approach or way of thinking to gain greater understanding. Reframing in mentoring encourages us to recognise our assumptions and notice patterns.

Questions that promote reframing.

  • What is the belief or value behind it?
  • How have you adapted to a changing environment?
  • If you haven’t adapted and what your doing doesn’t seem to be getting you closer to your goals, how could you approach this differently?
  • How is this perspective serving you?


Respond focuses on action which combines insight, with intention to apply the learning in your personal and professional life. Responding in mentoring involves changing what we see and changing the way we see.

Questions that promote responding?

  • What do you think you need to do right now?
  • What one small step will you take now?
  • How could I help you with this?

Transforming the workplace – piloting reverse mentoring.

Reverse mentoring is similar to the traditional mentoring dynamic but at its core, reverse mentoring is anchored in a parity of esteem.  This means that both individuals will have skills, knowledge, expertise and individual strengths that have value and provide a different perspective.

The interagency coaching and mentoring group are running a 6 month reverse mentoring programme that aims to promote inclusivity, break down barriers and reframe conversations.

Course dates will be on the news and events page.

Aims and Objectives

  • The opportunity to engage a diverse range of staff who want to mentor and engage with senior leaders.
  • An open and honest environment to spark discussions around increasing knowledge of employees’ different cultures, barriers and attributes which can lead to greater insight and more effective decision-making
  • Foster a joint learning experience for both parties
  • An opportunity for senior leaders to listen and understand the barriers as perceived by those in underrepresented groups

The MASTERY TIER focuses on the provision of coaching and mentoring to support and strengthen leadership at a time of crisis and change…

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