ATD Blog

Mentoring Partnerships: Strengthen Intergenerational Relationships

Friday, February 28, 2014

As a mentor, have you ever thought about being the mentee? Or as the mentee, wondered if someone would think you had something valuable to share?

If your answer is “yes” to either or both questions, then you will be interested in our exciting new mentoring model, the Mentoring Partnership approach, whereby a collaborative relationship is established. In our early intergenerational conversations presentations, we discovered frequent curiosity about who the “other” generations are, and much energy was stimulated by the dialogue. We began to think about how to harness this vitality to benefit individuals and organizations. This led us to consider ideas around collaborative relationships, built on mutual exchange and learning acceptance.

The results of our thinking focused on a mentoring model that contained true partnership elements. This relationship involves a “give-and-take style” whereby people feel comfortable to express ideas and suggestions, ask for help, and disagree. It is a connection in which two people see themselves as colleagues bringing compatible learning styles and desired skills, experience, and knowledge to the relationship.

As stated in our book, Creating A Mentoring Program: Mentoring Partnerships Across the Generations (ASTD Press, April 2014), this model is distinctive because it is intentionally designed to build relationships providing two-way inclusive interactions exchanging insights and expertise. This results in mutual learning benefits for both participants, regardless of generational or workplace status. A mentoring partnership program benefits both the participants and sponsoring organization (a “win-win” relationship).


Individual benefits:

  • Exchange customized desired learning in a one-on-one situation that is convenient in time, place, and method.
  • Create new and stronger bonding among colleagues.
  • Expand knowledge, insights, and expertise in organizational, personal, and professional arenas.
  • Increase professional networks with access to diverse contacts made possible by a mentoring partner.

Organization benefits:

  • Engage new talent in establishing trust and identifying with the organization and its culture by building stronger ties and working relationships.
  • Retain involvement of senior-level members while passing on their legacies.
  • Sustain engagement and maintain a robust talent pool for leadership and succession planning.
  • Improve communication, understanding, and acceptance among the generations.

What do you think of mentoring as a partnership approach? If it were available to you, what would you like to learn, and what would you like to teach or share? Contact us at [email protected].

About the Author

Annabelle Reitman has more than 40 years of experience in career coaching and counseling, specializing in résumé development that targets clients’ individualized professional stories. She also does short-term coaching for people in work transitions, enabling them to successfully continue their career journey. Reitman is an established writer and author in the career and talent management arenas. She is a co-author of ATD's Career Moves (2013) and contributed the Take charge of Your Career: Breaking Into & Advancing in the T&D Profession Chapter to the  ASTD Handbook, 2nd edition (2014). Reitman holds doctorate and master’s degrees in higher education administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.

About the Author

Sylvia Ramirez Benatti brings more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector as a trainer and consultant and university professor in nonprofit management.

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