"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." – Helen Keller.
A statement that couldn’t be truer. Most successful individuals will tell you that their success wasn’t gained by just them. They had advocacy, support, mentorship and/or sponsorship. Having a mentor and/or sponsor in your professional career can make a world of difference. I can personally attest to how having a mentor and sponsor has tremendously helped me with my personal and professional goals.
Before I go any further though, there is a difference between a mentor and a sponsor so I wan tto take a moment to clarify the difference:
Mentor – a mentor advises, supports, and provides guidance, to help the mentee with career and/or personal development. A mentor can also serve as a role model to the mentee. Mentor relationships tend to be long-term and over a period of time.
Sponsor – a sponsor is a person who advocates, vouches and/or responsible for a person. The sponsor tends to be very high in the organization and has a lot of influential power. This can also be considered the next stage of mentoring.
Both provide amazing value in your career, and if you can have both that is amazing. Even if you decide to have one that is fine too. Now there are many benefits of having a mentor or a sponsor such as:
Increased confidence in yourself and the value you bring to the work you do
Increased self-awareness of your strengths and potential areas of opportunities
Increased personal and professional knowledge in the domain and industry of interest
Exposure to different perspectives on how to approach goals, work, career paths and more
Increase in networking opportunities that can blossom into opportunities in the future, or at least additional connections, you can tap in to
Lessons learned so you don't have to make some of the same mistakes as others
Exposure to different individuals you may not have exposure to otherwise
Though these relationships take time to identify and foster, it is worth the investment.
Now there are some things to consider when choosing a mentor:
You need to be clear on what exactly you are looking for in a mentor?
You need to understand how will this particular individual help you achieve your goals?
You need to determine if the fit is right between you and the mentor? You may determine this if you decide to pursue the mentoring relationship and start working with you mentor as well.
You need to observe if this person is happy in their career?
You need to determine if this person can help you with your career?
Now when it comes to sponsorship, sponsors typically reach out to individuals they want to advocate for. This comes with you being visible. Being seen for the great work you do. If you tend to be more of a shy person obtaining a mentor first may be a great first step before sponsorship. Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t find your own sponsor and reach out. That has been done successfully in the past, but if you go this route make sure to have an understanding of why you want this individual to be a sponsor and why you feel this particular person should advocate for you. Make sure your expectations are clear to yourself, and the individual you are reaching out to.
Now if you find when you form the mentor/sponsorship relationship and it is not working, you do have options, as it doesn’t make sense to stay in a relationship that isn’t working.
Here are some tips on what to do if you find the relationship isn't working:
Have an honest conversation with your mentor/sponsor about what is not working and determine next steps. You may find there is a way to keep the relationship going.
Reset expectations if the issue is you are not getting out of the relationship what you expected, but you do feel the mentor/sponsor is a great fit.
If the relationship is not a great fit at all then be honest with your mentor and/or sponsor that the relationship is not working and explain why. It doesn’t make sense to waste time trying to make a relationship work that will not work. This is a crucial conversation to have though may feel uncomfortable.
In conclusion, I hope you see the value in investing in a mentor and looking forward to, or obtaining sponsorship. Both can really help your personal and professional goals. Just make sure to be clear on your expectations and that the relationship is adding value.
Remember it’s all about being the “BEST YOU IN ’22!” YOU GOT THIS!!!! Now go forth and conquer!!!!
WE GOT WORK TO DO IN ’22!!!
Until next time,
The BA Martial Artist is signing off 🥋
P.S. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO HIGHLIGHT:
Book: The Waza of Perspective
Goal Setting Template Bundle - HOW ARE THOSE GOALS COMING??? A great bundle set to identify, write, organize, categorize, prioritize and measure your goals. It's never too late to set goals! To find out more about this bundle click here.
Accountability Membership Program (AMP) - SPACE IS LIMITED!!! if you have defined your goals, or need help defining your goals and need someone to hold you accountable. I have got the program for you. I created the AMP to help individuals reach their goals. Most successful people are successful because they had help on that path to success. To find out more about this program click here.
Coaching Membership Program (CMP) - SPACE IS LIMITED!!! Are you on a project where you need additional support and guidance to deliver on that project? Are you a business analyst, project manager, or leader who would love some 1:1 coaching, but also have an online community where you can glean wisdom from others? Or maybe you may want more guidance in life and determine your life purpose. Then this program is for you. I created this program to provide 1:1 coaching for individuals who needed that 1:1 time to sharpen their skills, ask questions, and have a listening ear while doing work, or navigating through life. To find out more about this program click here.
The Waza of Career Preparation and Development™ Program - LOOKING FOR A CHANGE? if you are looking to make a career shift, or you just want to be prepared for when that next opportunity crosses your path, then sign up here to be informed the next time this program is offered. This program is only offered 1 time a year currently.