Want to “Get Ahead?” You Need These Four People

Mentor. A mentor is someone who is willing to support you in a personal and purposeful relationship, to provide guidance, wisdom, and feedback based on their experience, and to facilitate your growth and development.

Sponsor. A sponsor is someone who is willing to spend their political and organizational capital on you. A sponsor advocates for you in rooms to which you are not invited. A sponsor creates opportunities for you and pushes you forward to higher-ups.

Wise Counselor. A wise counselor is someone who may not rise to the level of a mentor, but who can provide great advice, support, and feedback when it’s needed. You might think of a wise counselor as “mentoring-lite,” someone whose door is open to you when you need it, but may not be in an ongoing, deep relationship with you like a mentor would be.

Connector. The connector is probably the easiest role to fill and the one you will find most frequently. Connectors don’t necessarily rise to the level of a sponsor, but they can make introductions, pass along your resume when needed, and recommend opportunities and resources.