Mentoring programs abound. Coordinators, companies, and participants boast of success. The success is real. The programs are powerful.
Yet, mentoring programs are only part of the solution.
What’s the problem? Opening doors.
In a recent HBR Ideacast, “Women Are Over-Mentored (But Under-Sponsored)” featured guest Herminia Ibarra, professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD and coauthor of the HBR article, Why Men Still Get More Promotions Than Women, talks about the distinction between mentoring and sponsoring and the impact on women in the workplace today. Click the HBR icon to link to the podcast.
Herminia asserts that not all mentoring relationships are created equal. Mentor relationships offer feedback, support, and advice but are not designed to “propel” mentees upward. Mentor relationships are not designed to “open doors” and this is where mentor programs fall short – for women.
Although I’ve heard the term “sponsor” and have even said, “sponsor a woman today,” I didn’t see sponsorship as a distinction of it’s own. But now I do.
Listen to the podcast (it’s about 11 minutes).
What do you think?
Photo credit iStockphoto