Today I want to share a mentoring secret that many women don’t know. And it can make a HUGE difference in growing your career.
The mentoring secret is – you need BOTH a sponsor and a mentor to succeed!
What is the difference between a sponsor and a mentor? They are both so very valuable but women don’t often realize they need to have both in their networks to have successful careers.
Here’s what the difference is and why you need both:
The most successful women have a network of mentors, both inside and outside their company. Your mentor provides guidance and you can go to them with a challenging situation. A mentor is someone other than your boss to bounce ideas off of. They can help you identify new opportunities and grow in your field or in your business.
A sponsor advocates for you and promotes your visibility within the company.
Women are often less likely than men to have high sponsors. Why? Because we work our butts off in our offices and forget to promote ourselves and our accomplishments. We are humble and sometimes is is hard to advocate for ourselves. Many times we feel we should be promoted just for our hard work alone, not on who we know. This is unfortunately not true, though.
We have to learn to overcome the reluctance to advocate for ourselves and find sponsors to advocate for us as well. The more sponsors you have the better. You need male AND female sponsors. You can’t get to the top alone.
Don’t be reluctant to ask for advice. No one can read your mind. If you don’t ask, no one can help you!
Other things you can do to have a successful mentoring or sponsorship relationship:
- Be really clear about your goals when you ask a sponsor or mentor to help you.
- Make sure they know about your accomplishments.
- Help your mentor by looking for ways you can give back and take something off his or her plate.
- Be selective with who you choose to be your mentor.
- The most effective way to identify a mentor is to determine who can help you reach your career goals and then approach them yourself. It doesn’t have to be a formal mentoring relationship where you sign a contract.
I want to hear from you. Do you have a mentor? Have they helped you reached your career goals?