People who make you grow 🌱
What's the difference between coaches, mentors and sponsors, and how you can nurture such relationships in your company and your life.
People naturally help each other during their career. Sometimes we help others, other times we are the ones who get helped.
The best of such relationships propel us forward at high speed. We can all think of someone special who changed our lives through their advice and support.
These people also benefit from doing so.
Helping others is rewarding in and of itself and makes for a strong growth experience. It might also be a core part of your professional role: as a manager, you are there to support your reports and you need to understand what’s the best way to do it.
This article explores the nature of such relationships and how you can create successful ones in you life.
We will discuss how to have the most impact based on what the learning objective is, how you can nurture them inside your company, and how to look for them outside of it.
The goal of this article is to make ourselves more intentional and effective about getting help from more experienced people, and giving it to those who may benefit the most.
I will cover:
3️⃣ The three types of relationships: Sponsors, Mentors, and Coaches
💬 How to figure out what is the right approach for your situation
🏢 How to develop such relationships inside your company
🏡 How to develop such relationships outside your company
Let’s dive in 👇
3️⃣ The three types of growth relationships
People can help you in your journey in many ways. This help might be more direct, like your boss giving you a promotion, or more indirect, like a good friend who listens to your problems over a beer, or anything in between.
Based on the kind of help that you get, there are three main behaviors you can identify in professional relationships: coaching, mentoring, and sponsoring.
Coaches are people who help you figure out what the problem really is.
They ask you questions and force introspection. They do not provide specific solutions, but rather challenge and encourage you to find your own.
Coaching helps you with the “what” at a fundamental level, when you still have no clue.
Mentors are people who have gone through similar experiences as yours, and can give you advice.
Mentors might say:
When I was in your situation, I…
Have you tried…
Mentors help you with the how, when you have already figured out the what.
Mentoring can be the relationship between two colleagues in which the more experienced uses their knowledge to support the development of the less experienced.
While coaching helps the individual find their own solution, mentoring is directive and provides specific advice.
Sponsors are people who do practical things to help you.
They might advocate for your promotion, approve a budget for your project, or introduce you to useful people.
While mentoring is about giving advice, sponsoring is about empowering and giving opportunities.