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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is reverse mentoring?

Reverse mentoring is when a member of staff in a senior position is mentored by someone in a more junior position than themselves. Reverse mentoring gives senior staff and leaders insight into what it is like to be working at our organisation with a protected characteristic from staff with lived experience of this. It provides an opportunity for our staff to engage in honest, open and respectful dialogue about the barriers that some groups of staff face. The relationship provides a space for staff to explore areas of good practice and generate ideas and priorities for improving the inclusive culture of our organisation.

Our programme Reverse mentoring focuses on inclusion. So we pair a senior leader with a person in a more junior role but also who has a protected characteristic or exceptionality.

The leaders are likely to be reverse mentored by a colleague who may be:

  • black, asian or from any other underrepresented ethnic group
  • have a visible or non visible disability
  • a member of the LGBTQA+ community
  • autistic or have any neurodiversity diagnosis
  • experiencing difficulties feeling accepted, supported or progressing within the organisation because of their identity


Any person who experiences challenges or barriers to thrive, bring themselves fully to work or progress can become a reverse mentor.

It gives a chance to junior staff to offer senior staff and leaders an insight into what it is like to be working at your organisation with a protected characteristic from staff with lived experience of this.

It provides an opportunity for leaders, managers, and key role holders to engage in honest, open and respectful dialogue about the barriers, issues and problems that staff from minority groups or staff with any protected characteristics sometimes encounter. The relationship provides a space for leaders to explore with more junior staff, areas of good practice and generate ideas and priorities for improving the inclusive culture of the organisation. 

Anyone can be a reverse mentor. We are looking for people at all levels of our organisation from a variety of backgrounds with a variety of personal characteristics who are willing to spend time with a senior leader and give them insight into their “real life” social and professional experiences.

We want leaders to be reverse mentored by a range of people with protected characteristics and any other personal, social or professional characteristics that can make people feel excluded. This is not an exhaustive list but for example, if you identify as being black or from another minority ethnic group, are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or if you have a disability or a long-term condition you would be an ideal reverse mentor. You could be the one to help leaders deeply reflect upon.

Being a reverse mentor offers a unique opportunity for staff to influence our managers and leaders, develop skills and raise their profile in the organisation. During this six month, one to one relationship you will be able to give leaders your perspective on how inclusive we are as an organisation and how the organisation can improve in this area.
You will give leaders insight into the issues and barriers faced by people like you. You will also have the chance to highlight to leaders how we can better benefit from your talent.

You will develop your communication, influencing and mentoring skills. Part of our organisational commitment to the reverse mentoring programme is recognising it as leadership work in the same way as traditional coaching and mentoring are recognised and valued. Reverse mentors will raise their profile in our organisation by working closely with their mentee, reverse shadowing them to meetings, observing interactions and giving views on dilemmas leaders face. In other organisations reverse mentors on the scheme have represented their organisation presenting at conferences and speaking about their reverse mentoring experiences to senior leaders.

We are looking for managers and leaders who believe they would benefit from spending time with more junior members of staff with protected characteristics who can sometimes feel excluded.
Senior leaders and managers will gain insight into the “real life” social and professional experiences of a range of staff and have the opportunity to appreciate the value of having access to the different perspectives they bring. Reverse mentors will help leaders to deeply reflect upon and challenge their attitudes to inclusion and how this influences our organisational culture and success.

Being reverse mentored offers a unique opportunity for leaders to engage in an intentional and sustained manner with staff at different levels of the organisation. 

It provides an opportunity for leaders, managers and key role holders to engage in honest, open and respectful dialogue about the barriers, issues and problems that staff from underrepresented groups encounter when working in their organisation. The relationship also provides a space for leaders to explore with more junior staff, areas of good practice and generate ideas and priorities for improving the inclusive culture in their workplace.