The Difference Between Mentors and Sponsors

Mentors and sponsors, although different, are closely aligned. A mentor is someone who advises you on job performance and career goals. A sponsor connects you to actual job opportunities. One person can be both mentor and sponsor.

Here are 3 important questions to ask yourself if you’re looking to be sponsored.

  • To whom are you connected that has the power to promote you, or has direct knowledge of opportunities within your company, or could recommend you to others who are influential?
  • Do you have a solid track record?
  • Does your performance prove that you’re worthy of someone putting his or her own reputation on the line?

If the answers are yes, flip your mentor relationship into a sponsor relationship by communicating that you’re interesting in taking on a bigger role and would like their help. Or start identifying and connecting with key people who have the relationships and clout to help you make your next move.