The role and value of Coaches, Consultants, Mentors and Sponsors.

Last week’s show addressed how to Shed the Stuck Bitch provided several tips and strategies for identifying what is causing you to be stuck and how to move through and forward from it. One of those final tips was to hire a coach, which then prompted folks to ask me about what role a coach plays and how would one benefit from having a coach.

Today’s Shed the Bitch episode focused on just that. LISTEN HERE.  Below is also an expanded list of the roles, responsibilities, value and benefits of Coaches, Mentors, Consultants and Sponsors. Clearing up the confusion and misunderstandings of each:

What is a SPONSOR?

  • Sponsorship is a one on one relationship.
  • The sponsor is someone of influence, status and power within a company.
  • She/he is someone who advocates for an individual’s assignments, opportunities and advancement.
  • A sponsor talks you up with other influential company leaders and is willing to do so when you are not in the room.
  • Sponsors put their own reputation on the line for referring and advocating for you.
  • She or he will recommend new or growth-oriented skills (soft and hard) the individual needs to have or enrich in order to advance or obtain raises and new assignments.
  • Makes introductions to others within and outside the organization who can support your current and future career goals.

The value and benefit of having a sponsor is for the individual, sponsor AND company; from access, to retainment of the individual within the company, the uplevel of skill and results from the sponsoree, to an enriched leadership team.  LISTEN TO SHOW FOR MORE…


  • Consultants are task execution-oriented roles.
  • Typically hired for a specific function, task, skill or project – short or long term.
  • They focus on executing actions and deliverables which are measured, tracked and reported on.
  • The tasks can be technical, strategical or tactical, in a specific function or skill, i.e. marketing, sales, operations, etc.
  • They may provide advice, tips and strategies on one’s performance, though they are not accountable to one’s personal or professional growth.
  • Consultants can be coaches but the roles need to be specifically and clearly defined – see below (Coach) for more details.


What is the role and value of a MENTOR?


  • Can be a one-on-one relationship or a group of individuals on the same team, within an industry, skillset, etc.
  • The mentor has advanced expertise, experience and influence in a company, industry or outside the company the mentoree is seeking.
  • She/he transfers their knowledge to the individual and group as a means of advancing the individual(s) and company.
  • The mentorship is centered on the individual’s (mentoree) career goals and objectives, defined by the mentoree.
  • Though they are not close enough to a mentoree’s day to day, they provide specific observation and feedback that is anecdotal or scenario based.
  • The mentor’s responsibility is to support the mentoree in achieving their goal, provide guidance.
  • Typically, long-term relationships.
  • The mentoree is 100% responsible for defining, communicating and achieving their goal, and managing/facilitating the partnership with the mentor.
  • The mentor holds the mentoree accountable to their goals defined…and ensures they are working on what is needed to achieve their goal.
  • Mentor provides blunt, direct, honest, and motivational support. There is value for both the mentoree and mentor –


What is a COACH?

  • Coaching is performance driven – in one’s personal AND/OR professional life.
  • They can be focused on one’s mental/emotional, health, financial, spiritual, fitness, corporate career or entrepreneurial business.
    • A coach may focus on one or more of those areas HOWEVER,
    • I have found business coaches who can support life issues…. After all, one’s business success is totally based on their life success,
    • BUT… I have come across life/health or spiritual coaches who are not expert or experience in business and therefore are not business coaches.
  • A coach observes one’s tasks, behavior and soft skills in order to provide constructive feedback, observation, tips and strategies for change and growth.
    • As opposed to a consultant, a coach does not execute a task or skill the coachee is responsible for.
  • Coaches focus on an individual’s soft skill growth and needs – teaming, socializing, communicating, managing, leading, etc.
    • For example, I have been hired to support individuals:
      • who are defined as bullies in the workplace.
      • have core communication needs or gaps (public speaking, technical vs. strategic) impacting their day to day and/or advancement.
      • need support socializing with peer, employees, seniors, etc. on a more personal basis vs. purely a ‘let’s get down to business’ role.
      • need accountability to define, execute and deliver on their vision, goals and/or responsibilities.
      • unsure of how to define their vision, goals and action plans.
      • are high potential professionals who need to uplevel or polish their ability to influence, negotiate, communicate or lead.
    • The partnership defines the coachee’s goals and action plan, then they track, assess and refine actions taken and results achieved.
    • Coaching can be with an individual or group.
    • Coachee’s range from stay-at-home individuals to administrative assistants, solopreneurs or business owners, to high-potential, middle managers and C-level executives.
    • In-person or virtual.
    • They can be short term or long term.
    • But overall, accountability lies with the coachee for all aspects of the partnership.


All of these roles require honesty, transparency, accountability, confidentially and TRUST!!!! 

So, be sure you are prepared to be fully open to giving and receiving and you are ready to do the work needed to achieve your goal. If not, then you are not ready to engage any of the above roles so don’t waste their time or yours.

How do you find one or more of the above?

  • Identify, qualify and engage a Consultant or Coach, BUT sponsorship requires a well-established relationship. Start slow and build it first before approaching them about being a sponsor or you could hurt yourself and the sponsor as she/he is entrusting their reputation with your willingness and ability to do the work.
  • Mentors also require a relationship prior to engaging, so once you have defined what it is you need, identify individuals who have been there/done that, establish a relationship, and outline what your goal(s) is, what expectations you have of yourself and them, how you will facilitate the relationship, and what you are willing to do for both of you to be successful. Then approach them to discuss the plan and determine the potential mentor’s ability to engage.
  • Coaches and Consultants can be identified, qualified and engaged with minimal knowledge and relationship, based on what you need. But, always look into their background, expertise and experience, seek referrals or recommendations, and ensure they are a GREAT fit with you, your team and/or a company, if applicable.

LISTEN TO SHOW FOR MORE… and if you need a coach or consultant, do not hesitate to contact me for a FREE 30-min strategy session to discuss your goals and opportunities.

Tune in next week for our monthly ASK BERNADETTE episode. POST your questions, stories or challenges on Shed the Bitch FACEBOOK or TWITTER.

Talk to you then.

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