What is a mentor and how does it differ from sponsorship?

A mentor is someone who serves as a guide for a defined period of time in your career journey. Mentors can be internal or external to your organisation, they assist by enabling you to see issues more clearly by asking thought provoking questions to work through workplace issues. A mentor can help you determine your strengths and what sets you apart. A mentee-mentor relationship is a two way street and both parties benefit from the process.

A sponsor is usually internal to your organisation and use their network and influence to get you stretch assignments, project roles or exposure that lead to promotions. A sponsor highlights your achievements. To read more on sponsorship see our blog from last month.

Why is mentoring good for career growth?

Mentoring provides clarity on your strength and career goals. It allows an external, more senior person to guide you through current workplace issues and help see the bigger view of your career. The mentor acts as a sounding board with constructive feedback and encouragement. A recent survey indicated 56% of respondents have had a mentor and the majority (57%) of people experience mentors at a junior level.

Alongside the mentee, the mentor also indirectly benefits from the process of being a guide or coach. It allows them to reflect on their career success’s and articulate their next career step. The mentor gains satisfaction from giving back to those with emerging careers.

Formal or Informal mentoring?

If your company offers a mentoring program, that is great and get onboard, as research has shown women with formal mentors are 1.4 time mores likely to be promoted in the next 5 years than those without. For organisations mentoring allows knowledge transfer from senior leaders to those more junior. It also allows the pipeline of future female talent to be developed.

However, if your organisation does not have formal mentoring, do not be alarmed, as research has advised 61% of mentoring relationship developed naturally and lasted on average 3.3 years.

What is expected of me as a mentee?

Be fully attentive and courteous when you have time with your mentor. Setup appointments with the mentor.

Listen, respect and act on your mentor’s advice, adapt it to your particular situation

Work with your mentor to identify your strengths, your competencies you need to work on and what is next for your career growth.

Work with the framework your mentor provides. An Australian framework is GROWTH by Growth Coaching:

Goals – What do you want to achieve?

Reality – What’s happening now?

Options – What can you do?

Will – What will you do?

Tactics – How and when will you do it?

Habits – How will you sustain your success?

How do I get a mentor?

We cover this in our webinar on 22nd April, “Mentoring for Career Success”.  Register today!


The Growth Approach (growthcoaching.com.au)

https://online.olivet.edu/research-statistics-on-professional-mentors   accessed 12th March 2021


Register for our Webinar on Mentoring

22nd April 2021


Webinar 22nd April