How to Mentor or Sponsor Women Without Sending the Wrong Message
This article includes recommendations for mentoring and sponsoring programs to ensure they don’t send the wrong message within the organization.
- Have a formal structure.
- Get support and commitment from the CEO and senior executives to become sponsors or mentors, and to provide resources for these programs.
- Create programs for both women and men. Mentoring and sponsorship programs only for women send the wrong message that women cannot success without extra training and help.
- Ensure that the relationships are as diverse as possible. People tend to sponsor people who look like them which could limit opportunities for women, visible minorities, people with disabilities, etc. Aim for multigenerational, multicultural, and multidisciplinary programs.
- Establish two-way relationships. Both parties should gain from the relationship.
- Establish goals on which both parties agree to determine what the expected results are from the relationship.
- Include training for sponsors and protégés as part of the program to ensure both parties understand their roles.
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