Mentorship vs Sponsorship vs Coaching - Blog Top Image

Mentorship vs Sponsorship vs Coaching

They are all different!


Mentorship, Sponsorship and Coaching are all different! And they all have a different place in our lives. Before we get into why these relationships are important, let’s define them first.



Here are my definitions of each role/relationship: 


A human who wants to help you grow and develop, and nurtures the relationship with you. They tell us how we’ve done, and help guide  us on how to move forward.


A human who helps promote you and shares why you are an asset to the organization. They advocate for you, usually when you are not present.


A human who partners with you on action toward your goals, dreams and topics of focus. You may be seeking career, life, or professional coaching. Coaches range in backgrounds and verticals from life, career, executive, leadership, relationship, etc.


Here is how Merriam-Webster defines each term: 


 “a trusted counselor, guide, tutor or coach” 


 to be or stand sponsor for”


“a private tutor” or “one who instructs or trains”


Why We Need Coaches, Sponsors, and Mentors:

We all need coaches, sponsors, and mentors at various times throughout our careers. They help us grow, they challenge our decisions, and they want to see us succeed, take on more challenges, and work towards self-discovery, self-development and career advancement.


We could go years with all three and years with none. The beauty of each role is that they are dependent on your needs and wants for your work and life. We as individuals get to choose how we engage with mentoring, coaching and sponsors. These should not be expected relationships. These relationships form out of your desire to grow, develop and strengthen yourself, and when they form, the outcomes for you are extraordinary.


 How to engage a mentor, sponsor or coach:

  • Speak with your leader about mentors, sponsors, and coaches. They may be able to connect you with a person or resource to help you find the right person for you.
  • Mind Map your current goals surrounding career development. By taking some time to intentionally examine your goals, you’re likely to find out if you’re where you want to be, and if not, engaging a coach can help you focus your next steps.  Take a few self-assessments on coaching, career development, and growth (ie: DiSC, Myers-Briggs, etc.). Understanding how your mind works is one of the first steps in coaching and development. 
  • Develop a list of your ideal mentor/coach/sponsor’s traits, personality, work histories, etc. Then contact Your Clear Next Step today for help connecting you with the right coach or mentor for you. 


What about you? How do you engage with a mentor, sponsor or coach in your life? Let us know on social media!

Topics: Business Skills & Business Acumen

Melissa Worrel-Johnson

About the Author

Melissa Worrel-Johnson

Over her 18-year career, Melissa Worrel-Johnson has focused her efforts in leadership, talent development, and business strategy. Her diverse background includes entrepreneurial business start-ups as well as significant leadership roles in large corporations. Melissa started her career in franchising with two Curves for Women locations in Seattle, WA. While operating her franchise locations Melissa ventured into insurance. Being asked to move into a corporate role, she helped develop and mentor new agency owners in low market share states within the operating territory. This experience to recruit, train and develop new business owners where the brand was not widely known was incredible learning to share with business owners buying into new franchises and/or building their brand in any marketplace. After six years of working with new agents; Melissa transitioned to established agencies to assist them in growing their current market share, revamping their marketing systems, increasing profits, lowering expenses and improving client retention. Her final corporate role was VP Agencies for a mid-sized Midwest insurance company. Melissa believes we grow our businesses and profit through teamwork and people. People, purpose and passion will deliver profits. One of our biggest assets is how we lead our teams, develop our people and roll up our sleeves with people leadership. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!


Receive a weekly dose of inspiration in your inbox by signing up for our weekly newsletter