Mentor, Coach or Sponsor?
What is the difference between having a mentor, a coach or a sponsor? Is there a difference? Sure there is! If you’ve ever experienced two of them then you will certainly know that each serves a different role in your life and in your career.
A mentor can serve in a formal or informal capacity to help you navigate your career. They also provide guidance regarding your career choices and decisions by actively listening to your thoughts, experiences and goals.
A coach is responsible for providing guidance on your personal or professional development. Also, they often focus on developing your soft skills such as effective listening skills, the art of negotiation and teaming skills more than the development of technical skills. A coach also works with you on the development of these skills outside of the formal performance evaluation process.
A sponsor is typically a senior leader or executive, who uses their strong influence to help you obtain a more visible presence within the organization. Assigning you to special initiatives or projects, pilot programs, testing experimental processes or a simple promotion can help you gain greater visibility within the organization. Often, high visibility leads to better career opportunities and sponsors assist you with fast-tracking this process.
Take a moment to look at your career goals and decide, if you need to seek out people to fulfill these roles in your career. PM