Do you have a career sponsor? You need one

Ask any successful person just how they’ve got to where they are, they’ll likely say ‘hard work, passion and determination’. But there’s generally another important factor that has helped them along the way — having someone in their corner.

Not quite a coach, or a mentor — a career sponsor is someone internal, generally an executive, who believes in you, your vision and wants to see you succeed. This is the person who is vouching for you or putting your name forward when you are not in the room or in conversations much higher than you can access.

This career champion is often instrumental in wether you get that promotion or pay rise and they help you to gain access to opportunities that you may not get on your own.

So, how do get access to this career genie? Finding a sponsor is not a one-time event; it requires ongoing relationship-building and a commitment to mutual growth, and it most certainly has to be authentic and genuine connection. This sort of relationship takes time, but here are some steps you need to consider.

  1. Identify potential sponsors — Particularly when you start a new role, scope out which executives and leaders are key to your roles success
  2. Build genuine connections — Go out of your way to be present, attend events, help out, be visible
  3. Excel in your role — This goes without saying, do good work and be a high performer
  4. Communicate your goals — When building a relationship with this person, be vulnerable, share what your career aspirations are and where you see yourself in the business in the future
  5. Seek guidance — Actively seek out the help of this individual, show a keen interest to learn and grow from them
  6. Show appreciation — You foster genuine relationships by being a kind individual, so when this person goes out of their way to help you, be appreciative and grateful