Mentoring and sponsoring are popular concepts in the world of talent development. While each serve different purposes, their end goal is the same: to support you in achieving your goals.
First of all, what’s the difference? Simple.
Mentors advise & often share an affinity with, for example, can be in the same industry but working for a different company.
Sponsors advocate for you & offer seniority, power & influence within the same organisation.
Both mentors and sponsors are important in maximising career growth, and will grow to be some of your most valuable relationships.
If your organisation doesn’t have a formal program in place, never fear! We recommend taking the following steps in order to begin your very own (and very exciting!) journey:
Do your homework on yourself
Get clear about what you need—or at least understanding that you have no idea what you need—will help you frame your request for help.
Do your homework on your potential mentors
Visit their LinkedIn profile get to know the person whose help you want before approaching them. It’s a good idea to seek someone who differs to you in some ways & will open up your way of thinking.
Value their time
Keep your initial communication succinct. Let them know why you’ve identified them as your mentor of choice & that you understand that their time is precious.
Lastly – and most importantly – back yourself!
You will feel nervous in the earlier days & this is fine! But remember, your potential is limitless & by making a plan to take action, you will soon too believe that there absolutely nothing you can not achieve.
You know we’d love to hear about your own mentor or sponsor relationships you’ve formed. Let us know what’s worked for you & if you reached out to them directly, if you had to overcome nerves to do so?