Mentorship and sponsorship are two important components of professional development. While both are needed to support career advancement, sponsorship has the potential to ignite a person’s career path. In this article, the writer summarizes the differences between the two and gives insight on how to leverage them for career success.

First, the article examines the distinction between mentorship and sponsorship. Mentorship is a relationship between a mentor (usually a more experienced professional) and a mentee (usually a less experienced). The mentor provides experience, advice, guidance, and assistance to the mentee. In contrast, sponsorship is more of a marriage between a mentor and a mentee. It is on an “equal footing” between two people. The mentor acts as a guide, but also as a cheerleader, providing support, offering opportunities, and leveraging his or her connections to open doors for the sponsor.

The article then provides actionable advice on how to leverage these relationships. A mentor can provide invaluable career advice and coaching. With the right mentee, a mentor can also provide access to resources, networks, and new opportunities. Similarly, a sponsor can offer invaluable guidance and support. With the right sponsor, the individual can gain access to decision makers and even have an advocate or coach in the room.

The article concludes that having a mentor or sponsor is important for career advancement. Mentorship provides guidance and advice on the path forward, while sponsorship involves advocacy and opportunities. By engaging both, individuals can benefit from the strengths of both types of relationships. With the right mentor and sponsor, a person can reach success, but it is important to find people who are willing to invest the time and effort to help their mentees and sponsors reach their goals.

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