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Monday, April 15, 2013

On the Roles of Mentors and Sponsors in Leadership Development

In the corporate world, distinguishing between a mentor, sponsor, and leader can be difficult. As people can get carried away in describing their roles, it is necessary to clearly demarcate the three. According to Sylvia Hewlett , mentors “act as  a sounding board or a shoulder to cry on, offering advice as needed and support and guidance as requested.” A sponsor is “a powerfully positioned champion” who offers “guidance and critical feedback.” Although appropriating “champion” from sports does not fit, the distinction between critical feedback and “support and guidance” is worth exploring.
Material from this essay has been incorporated into The Essence of Leadership: A Cross-Cultural Foundation, which is available in print and as an ebook at Amazon. 

Source:

Sylvia A. Hewlett, “Mentors Are Good. Sponsors Are Better,” The New York Times, April 13, 2013.