Why Women Need Career Sponsors More Than Mentors

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There are plenty of mentoring programs out there these days for professional women, but they aren’t doing enough. Many are held up as examples of a company’s commitment to diversifying its leadership pipeline, but despite the resources and good intentions behind such programs, they rarely bring about real change. Few of the employees who participate tend to advance as far as they could, and the corporation’s glass ceiling stays intact. And it’s much the same in less formal mentoring contexts, too. So what more can be done?

MENTORS ARE NECESSARY BUT NOT SUFFICIENT

To be sure, the problem with mentorship programs and relationships isn’t the intentions behind them. There’s always something well-meaning and generous about a more experienced individual advising an ambitious younger one. After all, many of us can attest to the value of having someone to talk frankly with, whether it’s to discuss business strategies or office politics. That person can be a former supervisor, a coworker, a professional ally, or even just a friend. To be a successful mentor, you simply need to be ready to listen actively and possess the type of experience the person you’re mentoring is interested in acquiring. In a way, a mentor is an informal career counselor.

Sponsors better position women to advance in the workplace...

To  read the full article by Sava Berhane, visit Fast Company.

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