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Mentors are great. But a sponsor could really help your career

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Although there has been a lot of talk about it mentoring, sponsors can advance your career in a way that mentors can’t do. And while the two are often confused, there are different differences.

In a tutoring, a more experienced person guides a younger person. According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett, economist and author of Sylvia Ann Hewlett, in a sponsorship, an older person proactively invests social capital and influences a younger person. The sponsoring effect.

Sponsors can make you feel both inside and outside your business, create opportunities that help you progress faster, and give you confidence and courage to take risks. For example, a sponsor may directly recommend a promotion, place you on a major work project, and in some cases even help you secure your first seat on the board.

So how can you attract and get a potential sponsor in the workplace? These tips can help:

Prove your worth

Start with you.

To attract a sponsor it is required to be performed at the highest level. Be reliable and consistent, meet deadlines and strive to exceed expectations and deliver great results.

With good job performance, you demonstrate your worth and potential, both qualities that will help attract a sponsor. You are proving it too a potential sponsor who can feel comfortable putting their own reputation at stake and defending it.

“It’s about continuing to deliver performance, reliability and providing added value that will earn you support over the long term,” Hewlett said.

Make an inventory of your assets

Keep in mind what you have achieved and what you hope to achieve in the future.

A sponsor can’t help you if you don’t clearly identify your strengths and abilities, but most importantly, your goals. Knowing what your goals are helps your sponsor match you to get the best opportunities.

Hewlett suggests scheduling a 15-minute chat with a mentor or potential sponsor to present your assets and goals.

“This can generate value together to drive. The hallmark of a successful sponsorship relationship,” he said.

Ask them to be your mentor first and then by providing trust and added value, you will be able to turn that person into a proactive sponsor, he added.

Raise your hand to look for opportunities

Visibility at work is extremely important. It’s not enough to keep your head down and get the job done. You want me to notice you. This can be a challenge while working remotely, but there are ways to do it.

“Create space for connection rather than the more improvised nature of being face-to-face or in the office,” said Christie Lindor, founder and CEO of Tessi Consulting. “Geographic boundaries are no longer a barrier and social media has created the ability to directly access more people than ever before. Take advantage of this unique moment and take advantage of this moment to think big and get there.”

Some ways to do this include attending virtual events, participating in discussions during team meetings, contributing to a larger project, or taking on a “stretched task”.

Stretching tasks are usually a project, role, or task that is beyond your skill or experience level. The purpose of these tasks is to help “stretch” your development and unlock your potential. Examples may include managing an intern, organizing an event, or launching a new product.

“Think about who knows you and your job, or who may have heard of you. Authenticity is key when it comes to fostering relationships with sponsors,” he said. “Ask a mentor or support ally for stretching opportunities in your target sponsor’s line of sight.”

Identify potential sponsors

Know what type of sponsor you are looking for and why it is important to find out in advance.

Lindor recommends creating a short list of one to three leaders in your organization or industry that you want to attract as a sponsor.

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From there, develop a strategy to have a view or visibility of your list of potential sponsors. To do this, identify opportunities to speak or work directly with a potential sponsor, such as participating in events they will attend or working on a team they can address. Then research and learn about common interests and values ​​you can share with them.

Remember to be intentional.

“Being able to answer the question,‘ Why do I want this person to sponsor me? While considering someone for their star or celebrity status may be appealing, look for genuine connection points, ”he said.

Build relationships

Make sure you create relationships within your organization or industry so that a sponsorship opportunity develops.

For example, your sponsor may be your manager or your manager, perhaps even someone superior or in a different department.

“Many of us work remotely and have difficulty connecting with people other than those we are in direct work contact with on a daily basis,” said Toni Patterson, career mentor and strategist. “It’s a great excuse to contact someone to say,‘ if we’d been in the office, I’d have loved to introduce my head and introduce myself, but since that’s not possible right now, we can find online for 20 years? coffee minute? Once you have them on the phone, you need to let them know what you’re doing, what you aspire to do, and that you’re willing to stretch and challenge yourself to do that. ”

But don’t be discouraged. If you contact someone and they don’t seem interested in supporting you, you know “no” can mean “no right now,” Patterson said.

“Focus on building and building relationships. Over time, you will find the right person to be your sponsor.”

Keep track and be in the lead

Your success is the legacy of your sponsor. So don’t forget to touch your own horn.

“Manage the relationship according to your sponsor’s work styles or organizational culture, learn how they prefer to communicate and adjust to maximize interactions,” Lindor said.

It is also your responsibility to make your sponsor look good and foster the relationship by doing the best job possible.

And don’t forget to keep track.

“Once you’ve been assigned that promotion, promotion, or anything else that your sponsorship relationship has helped you achieve, make sure you keep the sponsor informed of how it’s going,” Patterson said.

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