The Power of Reverse-Mentoring and the Companionship it Brings

Farheen shares the details of her fascinating experience with reverse-mentoring, and how she drew inspiration from the companionship that formed between herself and her mentee, Helen Ball. 

The Importance of Inspiration

Inspiration is a necessity. It encourages you to implement change within your own life, making yourself become a better person each day. Whilst we can take inspiration from a host of different things, I have personally found that there is always something so distinct about inspirational women. It is this reason why I would like to introduce and discuss Helen Ball, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, and the path we both took in forming a companionship. Every challenge that Helen faces motivates me to become a better person, and it is her resilience that brings me the inspiration to keep going every day.

The Girl’s Network Initiative – How I Met Helen

I was introduced to Helen through The Girl’s Network, an organisation that encourages and empowers 14-19 year old girls from disadvantaged communities across the UK by pairing them with professional women mentors. The programme enables young girls to realise their capabilities, find their voice and acknowledge their own self-worth and power. In 2018, I was matched with a professional mentor who guided me through my teen years, helping me to gain the confidence I needed, and supported me whilst I discovered my passions and recognised my strengths. After a year of mentoring, I graduated as an ambassador of The Girl’s Network community in 2019, leading me to participate in many opportunities such as delivering a speech for a celebration event, being invited to workshops, panels and events and taking part in a pilot programme of reverse mentoring with the Metropolitan Police. I was delighted to start a new journey with mentoring, and particularly interested in experiencing the power of mentoring on the foot. At first, I believed that my knowledge and skills weren’t sufficient enough to mentor a senior police officer. However, when our mentoring sessions started, and I began to think more positively, Helen made me realise that despite age, experience and background, working collaboratively and sharing ideas is what encourages companionship altogether.

The Mentoring Begins

I mentored Helen during February to November of this year, and our main focus was based on raising awareness to help people in finding their own voice and inspiration.  Throughout our sessions on Microsoft Teams, we decided that creating a change for the male victims of domestic violence was a constructive place to begin. We wanted to work towards eliminating the stigmatisation associated with the subject and empower men to step forward and seek help and support. Our sessions were always full of inspiration and positivity, and we motivated each other with by bringing along a quote each time we met. I’ll always remember a quote I brought along one session: ‘There is no small act of kindness, every compassionate act makes large the world.’ Helen’s kindness has always inspired me to be kind to myself and to everyone around me.

EmpowerMENt – Exploring Domestic Abuse Against Men

We faced many challenges in our journey together, but what inspired me the most was Helen’s reassurance that change is inevitable if you are willing to work for it. Our sessions produced exactly this, and we soon created EmpowerMENt, a podcast created by myself and Helen alongside special guests such as Nexgen Wellbeing, Metropolitan Police and Respect and Mankind. Helen and I worked extremely hard with creating the podcast as we knew that encouraging men and giving them the recognition they deserved was a much-needed way to help raise awareness. A quote that Helen brought along one session was ‘Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.’ Helen said that this made her think of me as I reminded her to keep moving forward regardless of any hurdles that happened. I believe that these quotations really brought us together, uniquely helping our companionship to flourish the more we spoke. 

From Mentorship to Companionship

The development from mentorship to companionship has given me an exceptional perspective when it comes to accomplishing certain dreams. One of my inspirational quotes was from Adam Braun, who said ‘Creating something new is easy but creating a change that lasts is the challenge.’ The same principle applies for my work with Helen. Creating a podcast was simple, but creating a change for victims that will last within society is the challenge. Regardless of how challenging our goal is, Helen’s confidence and determination truly inspired me. She supported me in every possible way, and her affectionate nature and kindness allowed me to look at things from a different perspective completely. I will always be thankful for the companionship we formed and will continue to take inspiration from it into the future.

Written by  Farheen Khan, Student