Difference Between Mentoring, Coaching & Sponsorship

 

The Difference Between Mentoring, Coaching & SponsorshipOne of the frequent questions we receive at our benchmarking debriefs is:

“What is the difference between mentoring, coaching and sponsorship?”

We’ve prepared a primer for you with the help of Sodexo, No. 5 on DiversityInc’s Top 50 list and a company we frequently use to illustrate an effective, results-oriented mentoring program.

Definitions

Mentor: “Talking with you”

Relationship between two people for the purpose of developing themselves or their careers in navigating the workplace or a particular field. More often than that, the relationships are mutually beneficial, with both partners learning in a purposeful way and benefiting from their relationship in sharing knowledge and experience. A mentor can be within or outside of an organization, and mentoring is more driven by the mentees identifying needs of their own.

Coach: “Talking to you”

Instructional, often with a particular goal or focus, such as developing technical or soft skills or can be used as a way to train someone on a discrete task or series of tasks. A coach, via assessments, tools and methodologies, identifies what the person needs and an action plan.

Sponsor: “Talking about you”

A sponsor, usually someone at a more senior level and/or an individual with strong influence within an organization, assists a protégé in gaining visibility for particular assignments, promotions or positions. The role is often recognized as having a career, job or opportunity-related purpose with some inherent degree or accountability on the sponsor’s part. A sponsor has to be within an organization.

(Related articles: Mentors vs. Sponsors: How Each Can Help and Women Need Lots of Sponsors, Mentors.)

 

Latest Best Practices

Marc Womack

Marc Womack, CEO of TD Auto Finance in a One-on-One Interview with DiversityInc CEO Carolynn Johnson

TD Auto Finance CEO Marc Womack and DiversityInc CEO Carolynn Johnson sat down together recently in an interview over Zoom to discuss how Womack’s company (part of TD Bank, No. 18 on the DiversityInc Top…