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Sponsorship vs. Mentorship

Elan Schwartz
Elan Schwartz
  • Updated

What’s the difference between a Sponsor and a Mentor?

While a mentor will support the career advancement of their mentee through guidance and advice, a sponsor goes a step beyond by using their organizational influence to actively advocate for their sponsee and seek out opportunities for career advancement. 

A Sponsor has the goal of providing the Sponsee with career opportunities.

They do this by: 

  • Advocating for the Sponsee behind closed-doors
  • Unlocking doors by leveraging their network
  • Increasing their visibility among leadership

A Mentor has the goal of supporting their Mentees professional development.

They do this by: 

  • Guiding the Mentee through career choices 
  • Advising the Mentee based on their own experiences
  • Encouraging the Mentee and instilling confidence  

How does Sponsorship compare to Mentorship?

Mentorship and Sponsorship are recognized and proven approaches to creating a strong organizational culture and cultivating employees’ potential. At 10KC, we like to think of Sponsorship as phase two of Mentorship. Why? Mentorship organically develops the trust and assurance that encourages Sponsorship to occur.

After a mentor and mentee have worked together for some time, the mentor may grow to have a vested interest in the mentee and feel accountable for their career progression. If they choose to go a step beyond providing guidance, and use their organizational influence to advocate for the mentees growth potential, the Mentor is now a Sponsor and the Mentee is a Sponsee.

Sponsorship [spon·sor·ship]             

Sponsorship is an impactful relationship between a Sponsor and Sponsee. The Sponsor actively advocates and opens up opportunities for the Sponsee to advance and guide them in the right direction.

Mentorship [men·tor·ship]               

Mentorship is a powerful relationship between two individuals where a Mentor provides guidance, advice and encouragement to their Mentee to support their professional and personal development.



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