Women tend to be relatively successful in developing mentoring and peer networks throughout their careers. Recently, the coaching field is taking note that women are less successful in developing sponsor relationships than men. The impact? Women continue to stagnate in lower levels of management and settle for lower compensation. Sponsors, unlike mentors, do more than advise and support – they take action and risks to actively promote your career and open doors for you. Here’s some advice and some references to good articles on finding a sponsor:
1. Identify influential people who can open doors for you.
2. Develop a strategy for making yourself and your abilities known to these influential people.
3. Slowly, and respectfully, implement a thoughtful strategy that adds-value as attracts sponsorship. This includes leveraging your peer networks and converting existing mentoring relationships into sponsoring relationships.
4. Know when to ask for active sponsorship, and ask for it.
5. Be grateful and find ways to make the sponsor’s risk worth it.
Here are some recent, very good articles on this topic:
Why Men Still Get More Promotions Than Women – Herminia Ibarra, Nancy M. Carter, and Christine Silva, Harvard Business Review
The Sponsor Effect: Why Qualified Women Don't Make it to The Corner Office
Mentors vs Sponsors – They are different and why you need BOTH
At Conspire Coaching and Consulting, we train women to seek out Sponsor relationships that make such a dramatic difference in one’s leadership and earnings potential. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!
We conspire with mission-driven women to lead, succeed and thrive in their careers, lives and organizations.
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