If you want to take your career to the next level, you’ll likely need a little help. Read on to find out how you can succeed in your professional life with the guide of a mentor, coach and a sponsor.
Ready for big results in 2015? Then you’ll need a mentor, a coach and a sponsor in your corner.
But who are these people? How can they help? And why do we need them in our corner?
Coaching, mentoring and sponsorship are terms we hear a lot, sometimes even interchangeably. First, let’s delineate their roles:
A mentor focuses on your growth as an individual. Mentors act as role models and are most often in your same profession, and the relationship is mutually beneficial to both the mentor and the mentee. Tara Campbell of Powerhouse Growers explains, “The relationship gives the mentor and mentee permission to challenge and provoke action. They inspire us, drive us to dig deeper, and train us on the importance of education, research, and most of all being intentional.”
The mentee often drives the conversation. The mentor focuses primarily on listening rather than offering specific feedback. Mentoring can be informal or formal and be an ongoing relationship or be for a set amount of time. Mentors take a more holistic approach than a coach and are more concerned with your development as a person than specific results.
A coach’s primary concern is your performance. They want to help you achieve greater results and achieve your potential. The coach often leads the conversation and offers specific and concrete feedback. Compared to a mentor, a coach will often work with you until you achieve a specific result or complete a specific project. There are often regular, frequent meetings. Coaches provide accountability.
An accountability group and a structure for success are often the critical component between a good idea and implementing long-lasting change. (Click here to tweet this quote.) A coach is the person who can help you move out of overwhelm or through fear to take action today on the dreams you’ve been putting off until “someday.” Their niche can range from a personal trainer to an executive or accountability coach.
A sponsor is your advocate. They work in your industry or profession and typically have more experience, and they are willing to mention your name, highlight your work, and introduce you to others. Their promotional work often occurs when you aren’t present. This is the person who will walk your resume into the HR department and tell them to hire you. They could also be a person in your company who says, “I don’t have time to take on that project, but contact Krista, she does great work.
You may or may not know who is acting as your sponsor. The sponsor often promotes you to others based on your results rather than your personal relationship. This may seem stereotypical, but a sponsor is like the older man who is promoting the younger colleague on the golf course.
Thankfully, sponsor-type relationships aren’t just for the good old boys network anymore. The downside is you will need to be proactive about finding a sponsor, but unlike a mentor or a coach, it is unusual to ask someone to sponsor you. Sponsorship is earned.
The roles of a mentor, a coach and a sponsor will often overlap, but the high performance sweet-spot is having all three on your side.
Why You Need a Mentor, Coach and Sponsor in Your Corner
It feels like the start to a bad joke: a mentor, a coach and a sponsor all walk into a bar… But this isn’t a joke. These people can be the difference between plodding along in your career and lightening-quick advancement.
Here’s why you need them in your corner:
1. The world of work is changing
On average, people stay 4.4 years at a job. As Forbes reports, job hopping is the new normal. The mentoring, coaching or sponsoring relationships that would have occurred naturally over time aren’t developing as much. Not only are you changing jobs, so are your coworkers, bosses and the people who may have become your mentors or sponsors. You need to take deliberate action to find these people.
2. The skill sets we need are rapidly changing
A coach can help you develop the skills needed for your new job. A mentor can help you think about how changing jobs can foster your growth as an individual or how asking for different responsibilities at your current job can make you happier. A sponsor will promote you to their connections throughout your profession even as you both change jobs and companies.
3. You’ll excel (and so will your company)
Studies show that most successful people have had a mentor. Think pay raises. Sponsorship is a key factor in the rate of promotions. And a recent Forbes article showed that greater revenue is generated by organizations with strong coaching cultures.
Having a mentor, a coach and a sponsor will propel you to personal and professional success. Are you ready to find them?
Lorena Knapp is an accountability coach by day and an EMS helicopter pilot by night. Her signature program, BLAST, will have move you out of fear and overwhelm so you can take action on your “somedays” and start crafting your ideal life today.