Mentors. You don’t just want multiple men on your team who add no value to your overall brand. You want mentors.
Mentors are there to help you harness your valuable talent. They are role models who share knowledge and advice to help you grow professionally.
Mentors can provide you with tips on career growth and introduce you to other professionals. You shouldn’t have only one mentor. Think about having at least 3 mentors who can help you develop in different areas.
But no longer is mentorship enough in the workplace. Quite frankly, it was never enough.
But those who didn’t have access to the career playbook had no clue what type of relationships they should be collecting in the workplace. Here is another type of individual that you should add to your list of relationships.
Sponsors are influential leaders within an organization who boost your credibility when you are not in the room. What’s the difference between mentors and sponsors? Mentors are the career boosters and sponsors are the career accelerator. Sponsors propose you for stretch assignments, help you get the well-deserved promotion you were seeking, increase your visibility as a talented member in the organization, and give you important feedback even when it’s critical or hard-to-hear. Sponsors use their brand equity and take a hands -on approach in your career. On the other hand, mentors support from the sidelines cheering you on to your next level of success.
Are you seeking more sponsors and mentors on your team? I highly recommend that you be purposeful and intentional in order to attract the best sponsors and mentors on your journey.
So how you do you find individuals who want to play a role in your career? What’s the secret?
YOU! You are a key component of this attraction process. Here is how you can be a success magnet for attracting sponsors and mentors who can fast-track your career.
1. Expand your Networks. Don’t be quick to search only for people who look like you. It’s important to focus on people who THINK like you. You need people who have decision – making power on your team so that they can speak on your behalf when you are not in the room. You are looking for someone with clout.
2. Increase your currency. What are you currently worth? What is your unique value? Take advantage of professional development opportunities that provides you the skills you need to be a stellar contributor in the workplace.
3. Lead with Service First. Approach people with an intent on determining how you can be a valuable connection to them. When you add value, you make a difference. You also build trust. Trust is the foundation of any meaningful relationship.
4. Enlarge your Vision. If you want to attract BIG thinkers, you have to present yourself as a BIG thinker. Sponsors are looking for people with ambition, drive, and the passion to impact the organization in 5 or even 10 years. Enlarge your vision and you will fulfill your mission in the workplace.
5. Be a Student at the Next Level. Act and you will become! Study the behaviors of individuals at the level above you. How do they dress? How do they communicate? What skills are needed at their level? When you present yourself at a higher level, you will attract teachers at a higher level. As you grow, the caliber of your coaching should grow too in order to prepare you for the next step.
6. Diversify your Assets. You have to make yourself visible in different circles. Attract diverse sponsors by using your talents and skills in different organizations. Be strategic about the networks you join. Look for networks that provide you with access to a higher level of senior leaders. Join networks with influential people but don’t neglect your peer group. Peers are individuals with similar goals who can provide you with support and best practices during this process. Don’t just look for sponsors and mentors internal to your firm. Those that you meet externally can play a key role in your advancement.
7. High Performance Matters. Sponsors put their reputation on the line for you when they suggest you for a job, promotion, or opportunity. In order for a sponsor to go that far, they must believe in you and your work. Sponsors don’t just invest their clout and risk their political capital on you because they like you. Sponsors expect high performance and fierce loyalty. Leading with Yes means that the worthiest protégés dive into complex and difficult situations. Hewlett provides multiple examples of protégés taking high-stress, travel-intensive, and other difficult assignments on behalf of their sponsor.
The secret is out. Now you have an excellent toolkit of development tips needed to attract your next sponsor or mentor.
Sponsorship isn’t just for people who are working corporate jobs, it’s for entrepreneurs too! Finding someone willing to provide you with resources or connections that will help you move up may be even more crucial as an entrepreneur.
People are always willing to open doors for you if you present yourself as a valuable partner. Once you strengthen your professional profile, you will be a magnet for both mentors and sponsors!