Emily Callahan posted this article to her blog, lovingonme.com, in which she shares her experience at Executive Women’s Day, part of the PGA’s FedEx St. Jude Classic golf tournament.
Read the excerpt below which highlights Carla’s keynote address at Executive Women’s Day, and head over to lovingonme.com for the full article.
“Carla totally transformed my thinking on the specific roles of those people. She believes you should intentionally cultivate three types of people: the advisor, the mentor and the sponsor.
Advisor: The advisor is the person you go to in order to ask the dumb question you think you should already know the answer to, but don’t. The one who can give you context in an organization and help you connect the dots. This is your buddy. The one who will shoot you straight and not judge or use your dumb question against you. I have been blessed to have one of these folks at every job, including one who has just come back to work with me after serving as my first boss! Get one of these. Better yet, BE this person for someone else as well.
Mentor: The mentor is one you tell the good, the bad and the ugly to. Your hopes and dreams. The next job you want and helps you get there. Carla teaches that it should be someone who knows YOU and who has context for your situation. It doesn’t have to be someone in your organization, but someone who does understand the business you are in. I am beyond blessed to serve in this role for a number of people, and am always honored when someone asks me to mentor them. True mentoring is a highly personal engagement and it’s not lost on me that people are trusting me with their hopes, goals, dreams, warts and bright spots. If you are lucky enough to find a great mentor, treasure this person. Personally, I recommend you also live your life so that someone seeks you out to serve in this role. You’ll get far more than you give.
Sponsor: The sponsor role was my biggest “aha.” Carla reminded us that much of our career or place in an organization, for those who do not work in a corporation, is decided when we are not in the room. The next promotion, the salary we receive, the committee we sit on…are all typically decided when we are not present. So the sponsor is the person you tell the good to. Just the good. They are your advocate. They sing your praises. They have a seat at the table and they spend their own personal capital on recommending you.
Too often we think of our mentors as this role, but this is a VERY different and VERY important role. Your mentor can likely suggest sponsors for you. Be intentional about cultivating this person. I have seen first-hand how important these roles are in the boardroom. We have been intentional about cultivating “sponsors” for one my mentees. I was just too dumb to know what to call it! When it came time for him to be promoted and be recommended for a major assignment, nearly every executive around the table stood up to sponsor him. Powerful.”