Sponsorship: Protégé Handbook

  • Updated

Introduction

The protégé’s responsibility is to fully commit and proactively maximize the sponsorship relationship and experience. A sponsor must have belief in the protégé’s motivation and potential in order to be a true advocate - such as providing access to other leaders and growth opportunities, or to recommend them for advancement.

Downloadable PDF Handbook

Protégé Responsibilities and Actions

Active engagement and commitment

Demonstrate commitment by preparing and participating in discussions with your sponsor. Show enthusiasm, initiative, and a willingness to accept feedback and apply it. Bring your ideas for stretch activities and areas where you would like more exposure to the business, to growth opportunities or to influential business leaders.

Goal identification

Be intentional about goal-setting. Do your research and be able to articulate specific goals, objectives and aspirations. Seek guidance and feedback from your sponsor and be willing to realign your goals and action plans based on their input.

Initiative for skill development and follow-up

Take responsibility for your own skill development and actively seek opportunities to learn and improve your capabilities. Act on the suggestions and recommendations from your sponsor regarding training opportunities and skill-building initiatives. 

Networking and relationship building

Proactively build professional networks, leveraging introductions and connections provided by your sponsor. Participate in industry events, engage in networking activities, and maintain relationships with key contacts to expand your professional circle.

Regular updates and progress reports

Keep your sponsor informed about your progress, achievements, and challenges. Provide regular updates to discuss milestones reached, learnings acquired, and areas where additional support may be required.

Showing appreciation

Express gratitude to your sponsor for their guidance, support, and investment of time and resources. Recognize the efforts made by the sponsor and acknowledge the positive impact they have on your professional development.

What to do in the Sponsorship Relationship

In a sponsorship program, sponsors and protégés should engage in meaningful discussions and activities to ensure a successful and fruitful partnership. It's essential to have open and honest communication, mutual respect, and a commitment to the success of the partnership. Regular check-ins and evaluation of progress will help ensure that the sponsorship relationship remains beneficial and evolves over time.

As a protégé, the power to ensure a successful experience lies with you. Be prepared to optimize this opportunity by focusing and preparing to initiate the following activities:

Goal setting discussion

Establish clear and specific goals for your partnership within the first two meetings. Discuss the purpose of the sponsorship, what you hope to achieve, and how you hope the sponsor can support you in reaching your goals. Set expectations that both of you agree on.

Mentorship and guidance

Be prepared to ask your sponsor to share their knowledge, experience, and insights on career development, industry-specific expertise, and professional growth. When they provide advice, support, and constructive feedback be sure to put this new knowledge into action and report back to them on resulting outcomes and challenges.

Development opportunities

Identify, and ask your sponsor to help you to identify skill enhancement opportunities such as training programs, workshops, conferences, or strategic projects that will align with your career aspirations.

Networking and introductions

Be prepared to tell your sponsor the types of connections and knowledge that you are seeking who can offer guidance, support, and potential career opportunities. Ask them to facilitate introductions to valuable contacts in their network, and to help you prepare for these introductions by sharing your questions and general plan for the discussion. 

Performance management

Discuss your current performance management goals and ask your sponsors to provide ongoing feedback to help you gauge their progress and identify areas for improvement. This helps ensure that the sponsorship relationship remains focused, impactful and relevant to your development.

Career planning and advancement

Be prepared to collaborate with your sponsor on setting realistic career goals and creating a development plan. Share your initial goals and objectives and ask your sponsor to share strategies on career planning, advancement, and long-term growth. Ask for relevant suggestions such as navigating career transitions, promotions or job changes, and to help you identify opportunities for professional advancement.

Relationship building

Be sure to build a relationship that goes beyond professional development through rapport and trust. This can include engaging in informal conversations, sharing personal experiences, and creating a supportive environment.

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