Why You Need A Role Model, Mentor, Coach And Sponsor

By Ruth Gotian | Sep 1, 2020
Career| Achievers Network

You’ve likely been told that you would benefit from having a role model, mentor, coach, or sponsor. Which do you need and what’s the difference? There are real distinctions as each plays a crucial, yet varied role. Understanding them and knowing which pivotal person is missing in your career will provide insight. Filling this gap on your mentoring team will help propel your career.

Role Model

A role model is someone who has traits you admire and wish to emulate. You may never meet this person but admire certain skills they may have. I wish to connect with others the way Oprah Winfrey relates to people and their circumstances. I’ve never met Oprah (I’m still holding out hope), but that doesn’t stop me from respecting and admiring her unique ability to be so authentic to herself and her audience.

You may have role models in your network who you do know. My aunt Merle, who is almost a foot shorter than me and a generation older, is someone I have always looked up to. Her entire career she was often the only woman in the room but made sure people listened to her wise words and perspective. Several years ago, I realized I didn’t have photos with her. As I reflected, I realized that I always sat across from Merle, trying to memorize her gestures and study the way she commanded a room (we now make a point to take photos every time we’re together).


A mentor is someone who talks with you about your career, goals, plans, and aspirations. They help you refine your plan, suggest people you should talk to, opportunities you should partake in, and obstacles you should be