By Wendy McCarthy AO from The Long View www.wendymccarthy.com.au
In my own career people I often describe as mentors were really sponsors in that they paraphrased the culture, identified opportunities and encouraged me to take risks across the professional silos. I remain eternally grateful to them HBR regularly publishes articles about the relative merits of sponsorship and mentoring. In a recent one 11/ 2011 sponsors were described as turbocharged mentors who offer guidance but also advocate for you by suggesting you for a promotion, calling in favours, or connecting you with other leaders. It requires performance and loyalty from the mentee/protégé. Sponsorship is the preferred relationship in the USA and when creating the mentoring practice 15 years ago I was fascinated to observe how culturally based mentoring and sponsorship were. The British and European models were more focussed on external mentors and coaches so true to the Australian I went with the hybrid approach and encouraged networking as part of the relationship.