Leaderly Quote: Mentors talk with you, sponsors talk about you.

“What’s the difference between mentors and sponsors?” is a question I’ll often hear. Here are three ways to distinguish between the two:

• Speaking with Fortune, Heather Foust-Cummings, Catalyst’s senior director of research said “A mentor will talk with you, but a sponsor will talk about you.”

• Cate Huston, director of mobile engineering with Ride said “Mentors give you perspective. Sponsors give you opportunities.

• To which I’ll add that mentors help you skill up, while sponsors help you move up.

How can you know whether you need a mentor or a sponsor?

Consider your most important career goal, and the steps you’ll need to take next to achieve that goal. What will you need help with? Do you need someone who’ll talk with you, give you advice and a fresh perspective, and help you enhance your skills? If so, a mentor can be extremely helpful. If you’re in need of someone to talk you up and connect you with bigger career opportunities, you may benefit more from having a sponsor.

At Be Leaderly, we’ve shared lots of resources for helping you enlist mentors and sponsors, work effectively with them, and make the most of those important relationships.

Here’s a roundup of our ten best articles about mentors and sponsors.

Advice, Mentors, and Questionably Helpful Emails
Ask Jo: How can I thank my mentor?
Ask Jo: What’s the best way to approach a mentor?
Desperately seeking a mentor? Read this.
Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor
Leaderly quote: Sponsorship can come to you in different ways.
The Importance of Mentoring: How Strong is Your Network?
The Useful Trick for Finding a Mentor Outside Your Network
What’s Missing With Mentors: 6 Steps for Attracting the Attention of an Influential Sponsor
You don’t have to have just one mentor. Here are 5 different types.

 

Do you have a mentor? Do you have a sponsor? How have they helped you develop your career?

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Jo Miller

A leading authority on women’s leadership, Jo Miller is a sought-after, dynamic, and engaging speaker, delivering more than 70 speaking presentations annually to audiences of up to 1,200 women. Her expertise lies in helping women lead, climb, and thrive in their corporate careers. Jo has traveled widely in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East to deliver keynotes and teach workshops for women’s leadership conferences, women’s professional associations, and Fortune 1000 corporate women’s initiatives. Jo is founding editor of BeLeaderly.com. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.net and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

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