Mentors and coaches can help your career, but sponsors play a different role. Executive coach and business consultant R. Scott Simon explains that role and how to get the right sponsor to help fast track your career.
1. UNDERSTAND A SPONSOR’S ROLE
Sponsors are senior people who use their influence to advocate for a protégé when promotions or other opportunities arise. Sponsorships are mutually beneficial, because helping the right person get ahead can advance a sponsor’s own organization and interests. The ideal sponsor offers clout, contacts and an ability to unlock doors for you.
2. PROVE YOURSELF WORTHY
Like investors, sponsors want their precious chips to support a winner. Are you known for outstanding performance, initiative and loyalty? Do others view you as an emerging leader? In Hawaii, a well-connected sponsor can find out within minutes whether a prospective protégé is deserving, without the protégé ever knowing, so exceed expectations.
3. NURTURE NETWORKS
Identify influential leaders inside and outside your company who recognize your ability and character. Internal sponsors can position you for promotions; external sponsors can uncover leads and opportunities you never imagined. If you volunteer on a nonprofit board, you will gain working relationships with potential sponsors and valuable experience leading an agency that provides important services.
4. ENVISION AND ASK
With potential sponsors in mind, envision what you’d want from sponsorship and how you’d reciprocate. Communicate your interest in career advancement and respectfully ask for help.
5. GIVE BACK TO THE SPONSORSHIP
When a sponsor recommends you, you must “walk the talk” through continuous loyalty and your highest performance – make your sponsor look brilliant! Be mindful of your sponsor’s interests and alliances to avoid acting inappropriately. Keep your sponsor informed about developments in your career and sponsor deserving protégés of your own.