Sponsorship and Mentoring: Ask Catalyst ExpressAug 15, 2022
“A role model talks by example, a coach talks to you, a mentor talks with you, and a sponsor talks about you.”
Sponsors, mentors, coaches, and role models can all make a difference in how individuals advance through organizations but there are key differences between each. Role models exemplify successful behaviors and, while the way they perform may be very visible to you, you may have never met or spoken to them. Coaches provide guidance on development and often help with soft skills, such as active listening. Mentors help their mentees navigate their career choices through formal or informal mentoring relationships. Sponsors use their influence or leadership status to advocate for the advancement of an individual. Sponsors are often senior leaders or other people in power appropriately placed within an organization who help sponsees obtain high-visibility projects or jobs. Understanding these differences can help when embarking on these work relationships. Find resources for the most critical elements of sponsorship programs and mentoring partnerships and how to make the most of your role on either side of the equation or as a DEI practitioner.
Catalyst Sponsorship and Mentoring Resources
- Parexel: Leveraging Gender Partnership to Advance Women in Leadership Supporter Exclusive
Because the biggest hurdle that had been preventing women from attaining senior leadership positions was a lack of sponsorship, Parexel set out to create leadership programs for women that didn’t just offer “leadership skills” or “leadership training.” What the company needed was programming that gave women a real opportunity to impress senior leaders and gain their sponsorship. 1) Wisdom Circle (WC) is a nine-month leadership program for women at the manager-to-associate director levels. 2) Women in Leadership (WIL) is a global one-year leadership program for women at the director-through-vice president levels.
- Medtronic—Igniting Women to Lead Through the Medtronic Women’s Network Supporter Exclusive
Another effective development program, created by the African Descent Network, is LIFT (Leadership Inclusion from Mentorship Towards Sponsorship), a nine-month program for high potential employees of African and Hispanic/Latinx descent that strategically pairs them with sponsors based on business and career goals.
- Unilever—Changing the Game, Unlocking the Future Supporter Exclusive
The Supply Chain Female Mentoring program enabled over 45 senior leaders at the vice-president level and above to mentor and coach more than 90 women directors in a hot spot where women historically have found it difficult to succeed.
- Nationwide—Our Associates’ Success Drives Business Success Supporter Exclusive
Nationwide’s Touch Point program, launched in 2010, exposes the OCEO to executive talent across the organization, which includes women and women of color. Participants are introduced to the Board of Directors, both to present their work and as guests at Board luncheons and other forums.
- Sponsoring Women to Success contains data, practices, and participant insights that provide actionable advice on how to foster sponsorship within organizations.
- Making Mentoring Work offers insights to help organizations maximize their mentoring efforts, including information on building robust formal mentoring programs from the ground up as well as on ways to leverage existing formal mentoring programs.
- Mentoring: Necessary but Insufficient for Advancement highlights the distinction between mentoring (career advice and guidance) and sponsorship (advocacy by someone highly placed in the organization) and examines the impact of mentoring on the career advancement of high potentials. It also includes insights from senior leaders on sponsorship activities being undertaken in their organizations.
- Leading With a Sponsorship Mindset (Microlearning) Supporter Exclusive
- Catalyst Sponsorship Guide Supporter Exclusive
- Fostering Sponsorship Success Among High Performers and Leaders Supporter Exclusive
- Optimizing Mentoring Programs for Women of Color Supporter Exclusive
- Managing With a Sponsorship Mindset: Why Mentorship Isn’t Enough Supporter Exclusive
- Advancing Gender Parity Through Sponsorship Supporter Exclusive
- Supporting Refugee Women Through Mentorship Supporter Exclusive
- The Balance of Sponsorship Supporter Exclusive
- Strategies for Career Advancement: The Importance of Sponsorship Supporter Exclusive
- Fostering Sponsorship at Your Organization Supporter Exclusive
Other Sponsorship and Mentoring Resources
- Understanding the Impact of Mentorship Versus Sponsorship Forbes
- Why You Need a Role Model, Mentor, Coach and Sponsor Forbes
- Don’t Just Mentor Women and People of Color. Sponsor Them. Harvard Business Review
- Men, Commit to Mentor Women Lean In
- Men Are Afraid to Mentor Women. Here’s What We Can Do About It LinkedIn
- Sponsorship Toolkit National Center for Women & Information Technology
- Where There’s a Will, There’s a Wave: Why Sponsoring Women is a Game Changer for the Gender Gap World Economic Forum
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