Reverse Mentoring Programme

Retention / Leadership / Employee Experience

Relationship: September 2017 – Now

Sector: Professional services

In their words...

"Conversation Space have provided invaluable support in designing and implementing our reverse mentoring programme. Their insight and guidance has helped ensure a successful pilot in our Birmingham office – the outputs from which have included immediate practical positive steps for the business. We are now rolling out the programme to a number of other locations. I have found Conversation Space a pleasure to work with and look forward to their continued involvement moving forward."

Mark Taylor
Regional Managing Partner / RSM


Reverse mentoring is super-hot right now and Emily Cosgrove shares why in this video.  By breaking down the traditional barriers of top down hierarchy through a reverse mentoring programme, junior staff can offer a fresh pair of eyes and a different perspective.

In 2017, Mark Taylor, Regional Managing Partner, RSM had a vision of enhancing the way people within the business worked together.  He was keen to hold on to the strengths and foundations that already existed, but also deeply aware of the untapped potential from having conversations in a new way; in a more collaborative way, with ‘heart’ as well as head, in a more inclusive way.

RSM chose to work with Conversation Space to embed Reverse Mentoring Conversations with the purpose of:

“Creating new relationships that together challenge perspectives on culture, resulting in creating an environment of improved engagement and inspiration.”

Ultimately, Mark wanted to use the programme to build a stronger, more cohesive and noticeably more effective organisation.  When leaders at the top of any organisation choose to actively demonstrate their commitment to change and seek to understand from someone who is different to themselves, real change can happen.  Watch what he has to say here.

Reverse Mentoring Programme


We worked with Mark and his wider team to deliver a Reverse Mentoring Conversations programme tailored around cross generational conversations and engagement.

The programme comprised:

  • Thought Generation Session to align vision, key people, learning journey, road map
  • Matching and Programme Design
  • Skills Workshop and Launch Event
  • Support Touch Points including Mid-Point Review
  • Programme Celebration and Wind-Up
  • Evaluation and Roll Out

Grounded in the philosophy and practice of Conversational Wisdom®, it encouraged participants to think differently and break down the barriers of traditional business conversations in an objective way.

Reverse Mentoring Programme

The careful process of matching enabled people who may not otherwise normally come into contact with each other, to connect on a one-to-one basis. This created a strategic capability which exposed key populations to specific learning opportunities, built multi-level engagement and harnessed talent.


The 2018 Reverse Mentoring Programme in the Birmingham Region has been a resounding success.  Tangible business outcomes have included the setting up of a Shadow Board “Talk to the Top” sponsored by CEO David Gwilliam, and reverse mentoring being rolled out for Year 2 in Birmingham as well as to other RSM regions including Leeds, Bristol and potentially Milton Keynes.

But don’t just take our word for it.  Have a look at what participants have had to say here.

One of the core themes emerging from having conversations across difference using a reverse mentoring approach, has been the value to the business of gaining new insights and building new relationships.

At the beginning of the programme Mark was clear that he didn’t want to pay lip service to ‘just another initiative’.  He wanted to create a deeper and lasting change, a change that was driven through the way people have conversations.

Check out this clip where he shares more about the impacts, and watch here to see his top tips to anyone interested in setting up a reverse mentoring programme.

“As a Partner I’m seen in a more personable light to those that were unfamiliar to me.  I’m more conscious of making that extra effort to “strangers” in the firm even if small talk in the kitchen.” (Mentee)

Forward thinking leaders understand that there has never been a more important time to reconsider how they connect with people through their conversations.

This is what Reverse Mentoring does.

The RSM/Conversation Space Mentoring Programme has been shortlisted for the Training Journal 2019 Best Coaching/Mentoring Programme Award to be announced in December.