Sponsoring is a form of marketing. Companies seeking to acquire clients sponsor events and athletes to draw attention to their brand. Sponsors are esteemed, experienced individuals (usually top managers) who hold high status, influence and power, and who have a network they can easily access to influence decisions. When employees work towards a goal with the encouragement of a sponsor, they become more engaged and motivated to fulfil tasks and projects which also benefits the company. In such a situation, it is important to have a trusting relationship. Someone who presents herself or himself as a sponsor is, in a sense, an advocate in so far as she or he can speak for the future successes of the sponsored individual and about the individual behind closed doors. A sponsored individual has better chances of obtaining a specific roll, being promoted, or being entrusted with a sought-after project than someone who is on their own. A person can do everything right, yet, if no one notices or acknowledges her or his efforts, it will be very difficult to advance within the organisation. Having someone who stands up for a person is a decisive factor in that person’s success.
Coaching is a task and performance-oriented relationship between an experienced or specialised coach and an employee (or group of employees). This relationship is important for both the success of the employee and that of the company as it involves more than just one-time feedback from a superior or a unique training element. As in the world of sports, a good business coach can help employees to excel by observing how particular tasks are carried out and offering constructive criticism in order to aim for better results. This is done by providing the person with the assessments, tools and methods she or he needs. Active listening in order to identify potential areas of improvement and growth are extremely important. Through constructive interaction, coaches help employees to gain a better awareness of developmental needs regarding their competencies, and to assume responsibility for improvement. An important feature of coaching is that it is specifically tailored to the needs of every individual. This personalisation produces motivation to reach one’s goals from which both employees and companies benefit long-term.
Mentoring is rather abstract. A mentor does not see every move and offers advice based on anecdotes such as keeping one’s eye on the ball in sports. Mentoring is relationship-oriented and increases the potential for future career goals and success. Mentors can be within or outside of an organisation. Mentoring is prompted by mentees recognising their own individual needs. Specialists in all areas can benefit from mentoring relationships which are usually long-term. The relationship can be structured formally based on an organisation or education programme, or informally established between mentors and mentees. Mentoring focuses primarily on gaining business knowledge and self-confidence. A company can consider pursuing mentoring in order to pass on internal knowledge and experience. It might seem that the advantages of mentoring are a one-way street, but this is not the case. Such a relationship is a mutually beneficial partnership in which both partners experience goal-oriented learning and benefit from the relationship.
All three above-described processes are extremely important in talent development, both for individual employees and the company.
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