Saturday, April 9, 2011
In her article,”Working Smart: Create a Mentor Network,” legal search consultant Valerie Fontaine distinguishes between a mentor and a sponsor:
Mentors spend one-on-one time to help you polish skills. They offer "psychosocial" support for personal and professional development, including advice and coaching. Sponsors notice those skills and advocate for your progress, either by recommending you for plum opportunities or for promotion. They take it further by openly campaigning for protégés' career advancement, often putting their own reputations on the line. Having a sponsor actively lobby for you can be instrumental, for example, during partnership consideration.
While you can seek out mentors, sponsors usually discover you. However, you can position yourself so that they can easily discover you:
Find opportunities to introduce yourself, get to know the powers-that-be informally, and share strategic information about your accomplishments and goals. To gain visibility, consider volunteering on projects with potential sponsors. If you do a good job, you'll get on their radar screen. Let the rapport grow naturally.
Here’s the link to the article at law.com.