Most women know that just being good at your job is never enough to win a coveted promotion or the chance to work on a high-profile project. Yet being too self-promoting often doesn’t work either. What it takes to propel women to the heights they deserve is having a good sponsor.
That’s according to Sponsoring Women to Success, a report from Catalyst, an organisation committed to expanding opportunities for women and business. The report says that mentoring can only take you so far; it’s effective sponsorship that accelerates your career. Good sponsors can get you noticed at the highest levels; ensure you’re introduced to the right networks; and can coach you into thinking more strategically so you can make an even more meaningful contribution to the company.
Ilene H. Lang, president and CEO of Catalyst, said: “Good sponsors can supercharge a woman’s career by providing her with access to essential networks, bringing her achievements to the attention of senior-level executives, and recommending her for key assignments. Effective sponsors also provide career coaching and guidance that enable protégés to make broader and more strategic contributions to their organisations.”
However, that sponsorship has to be earned, says the report, by “building reputations as flexible, collegial professionals who are consistently committed to their own career development”.
As well as a flourishing career for the protege, sponsorship can also develop their reputation as a senior leader committed to developing talent; and organisations can help improve employee engagement, attract and retain staff, and strengthen their talent pipeline.