Mentors and Champions and Sponsors, Oh My!

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MentorsSponsors

When I think of mentoring, I get an image of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, trembling in fear of ‘lions and tigers and bears’, but then bravely linking arms with her friends the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Lion, following the Yellow Brick Road, and finding a better version of themselves.

A Champion is someone with Heart, like the Tinman. He or she is someone who would speak highly of you, and well of you, regardless of whether you ever find out. They are the cheerleaders who support you and believe in you, and ultimately help you get to where you want to go. We all need champions. And we should all champion others. (Beware of those who want you to champion them, yet don’t champion anyone else in return.)

A Mentor is someone with Backbone, like the Scarecrow, someone who’s wise and experienced AND wants to support you in building skills and finding more fulfillment and success, both professionally and personally. They leverage their in-depth direct professional and personal experience in guiding their mentees.

An Advocate is someone with Courage, like the Lion, someone who backs you despite pressure, despite conflict, despite resistance. They believe that you are the right person for the role/position/project and are willing to put resources and support behind you so that you succeed.

A Sponsor is an Executive with the Power to open doors, influence others, recommend advancement and create positions within an organization for someone he/she takes under their wing. The Sponsor in this analogy is the Wizard of Oz – the person who could potentially help Dorothy return to Kansas.

In the end, Dorothy finds that she herself has what it takes to get to where she wants, and that the champions and mentors and advocates are right there in her back yard.

So when the obstacles and doubts and challenges present themselves to you, listen to the Good Witch Glinda when she spoke to the Wicked Witch of the West, ‘Oh Rubbish. You have no power here. Be gone, before somebody drops the house on YOU.’

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