Do you have a mentor or a sponsor?

February 6, 2023

Everyone has benefitted from a mentor at some point in their lives. Most people have had the privilege of having a sponsor that helped move them toward a life goal or achievement. That challenge that many have is knowing the difference between the two and knowing which situation requires one or the other. Erik Ericson posited there are “crises that arise at each stage of development across a person’s lifespan. The crises cause a conflict between the needs of the individual (psycho) and the needs of society (social). Successful resolution of these conflicts contributes to healthy personality development and improved ability to confront future conflicts ( https://www.childrensresourcegroup.com/mentoring-and-eriksons-stages-of-development/). A true mentor will invest his/her personal time and effort to help you navigate through any life crisis that arise, whether they be from your work, school, or private life. A sponsor on the other hand usually avoids the crises and seeks only to promote your candidacy towards something good that normally benefits them at some point. If you are having a bad day because of something in your personal life, your sponsor will likely not want to get involved. My mother used to call this a “fair weather friend” – they are with you as long as things are going well and the weather is fair. Your mentor cares about every aspect of your life and will want to help you get through every crises in any kind of weather. Here’s a tip: if someone is mentoring you, make sure that you know what you are getting –  a true mentor or a sponsor.


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