Get Mentored Like a Man

It’s a growing trend – mentoring women to improve leadership skills, raise their profile and (we hope!) increase their pay. But wait: studies show women don’t benefit nearly as much from mentors as men do, perpetuating the gap between men’s and women’s advancement.

While women get feedback from mentors, men get actual sponsorship, says Camille Mirshokrai, director of leadership development at Accenture. “Women use their mentors as sounding boards, while men know how to convert that into sponsorship.” Mirshokrai attributes every promotion she’s gotten to the influence of mentors-turned-sponsors. “I could not be where I am today without [them].”

Researchers find that too often, “high potential women are over-mentored, under-sponsored, and not advancing in their job.” To combat this, “sponsors must open doors and be willing to fight for you,” says Mirshokrai.

She, along with other experts, recommends more than one mentor but fewer than 10, ideally a diverse group in different verticals, and not just within your division or company. Building these relationships should create a mutual benefit.

After you’ve identified where to take your career, you need to “convert the relationship to enable the what’s next to materialize.” If your mentor can’t sponsor you, Mirshokrai says, ask him or her to connect you with someone who can.

Bonus PINK Link: Now that you know how to get mentored like a man, here’s how to get fired like a man (originally printed in PINK Magazine’s first issue).

By Cynthia Good

“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one
day with a great teacher.” Japanese Proverb

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