Looking for a Mentor? Maybe That’s Not What You Need Right Now

Photo courtesy of BELatina
Photo courtesy of BELatina

Okay, let’s get this out of the way. You are thinking “de que habla esta? She doesn’t know my life”.

Even if this is the first time you are stepping out of your comfort zone and seeking guidance for your leadership journey, it’s important to understand how a mentor can help you thrive in your career or business. There’s a misconception about mentorship, coaching, and sponsorship — and I’m going to help you decide what type of success team you need right now so you can elevate your work.

Before we go into the líder moves, I want to preface that seeking support is the only way you can lead authentically and make an impact. No one can live a purpose-driven life without help. Whether that is listening to new perspectives, getting connections, or having your team of líderes joining you in your journey, building your professional success team is key to making sh*t happen.

So, what is a mentor?

A mentor is someone who can advise and guide you in your leadership journey. They are experienced in your areas of growth and provide objective feedback when you are facing a challenge in your career or you are working towards your professional goals. Above all, a mentor can help you improve your approach to overcoming obstacles by sharing their personal experiences and knowing you on a personal level.  This is why your manager can be a mentor, but they shouldn’t be “THE MENTOR”. 

A mentor plays a key role in your professional board of success, but it’s not the only person. Actually, they might not be your mentor for years to come nor support you in all aspects of your leadership. Many líderes crave someone to help them grow in their career and connect them to opportunities. Even though your mentor can do that, this is not the type of relationship you should expect. That’s when a sponsor joins your success team.

What is a sponsor then?

A sponsor is an experienced líder who talks about you and takes action to connect you to opportunities. These are the líderes you talk to when you have clear goals and need to create an ecosystem of people, jobs, and even dinero to achieve those goals.

Sponsors talk about you when you are not in the room, and they are clear about your intentions and who are the right people for you. 

How about a coach?

Finally, a coach, like me, listens to you and creates a plan to remove the obstacles standing in the way of your success. A coach helps you clarify your goals, set a plan, and connect your wisdom and strengths to move from unsure to confident. Different from the other people in your success team, a coach provides tailored and personalized support while a mentor advises, and your sponsor connects you to opportunities.

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