December 8, 2023

In the intricate dance of professional advancement, the spotlight is often on individual capabilities—skills, qualifications, and experience. However, an equally significant but sometimes overlooked aspect is the influence of mentors, advocates, and champions. Big mistake. In a world where collaboration and networking are paramount, having the right support can fast track your career and propel you toward success. The adage of your network being your network is more important now, than ever before. This newsletter delves into the importance of champions and advocates in one’s career, outlines criteria for selecting the right mentors, and offers guidance on approaching potential advocates. Get your pen and paper ready because undeniable gems and nuggets are coming…..
The Significance of Champions and Advocates
The Invisible Forces Behind Success
In the corporate arena, having a mentor, advocate, or champion is akin to having a guiding star. These individuals play distinct yet interconnected roles in an individual’s professional journey. A mentor provides guidance, sharing wisdom from their own experiences. An advocate actively supports and vouches for you, particularly when it comes to promotions and opportunities. A champion takes it a step further, actively working to create opportunities for you and ensuring your accomplishments are recognized. In essence, they are the invisible forces that can significantly impact your career trajectory. Trust me, no one advances alone and career promotions do not occur by happenstance.
Research Insights: The Power of Advocacy
Numerous studies underscore the influence of advocates and mentors in career advancement. According to a Harvard Business Review study, employees with advocates are 52% less likely to quit. Who doesn’t want to know that they have someone looking out for their interest and wellbeing? Another study by Catalyst found that having a mentor is directly linked to career advancement—individuals with mentors are more likely to be promoted than those without. These statistics emphasize that it’s not merely about individual capabilities but the relationships and support structures that contribute to success. In other words, don’t under estimate the power of having the right person in your corner.
Choosing Your Champions and Advocates: Criteria and Recommendations
It’s one thing to know that you need champions and advocates to help in your career progression and overall advancement. It is another thing to choose the right person. Let’s face it, one size does not fit all. The process can be daunting and extremely overwhelming, to the point where you feel frozen. But don’t worry. American Management and Leadership by Design is here to help. Below are criteria and recommendations that you can use in ascertaining how to choose the right person for you.

  1. Alignment of Values and Vision
    The first criterion in selecting a mentor or advocate is aligning values and vision. Your mentor or advocate should share a similar professional ethos, guiding principles, and long-term vision. This alignment ensures a more meaningful and productive partnership.
  2. Track Record of Advocacy
    Look for individuals with a track record of advocating for others. This could be demonstrated through mentorship programs they’ve led, initiatives they’ve championed, or instances where they’ve actively supported their colleagues’ growth. A demonstrated commitment to the success of others is a strong indicator. And it doesn’t hurt to obtain a referral.
  3. Willingness to Invest Time
    Effective mentorship and advocacy require time and commitment. Your chosen mentor or advocate should be willing to invest time in understanding your goals, providing guidance, and actively supporting your career development.
  4. Diversity and Inclusivity
    Consider seeking mentors and advocates from diverse backgrounds. This diversity brings varied perspectives and insights, enriching your professional growth. Additionally, having advocates from different backgrounds can contribute to a more inclusive workplace.
  5. Reciprocity and Mutual Respect
    The mentor-mentee or advocate-protégé relationship should be based on mutual respect and reciprocity. It’s not a one-way street; both parties should derive value from the relationship. Look for mentors and advocates who are open to learning and growing through the partnership.
    Approaching Your Potential Champions
    The hard reality is that not everyone wants to be your mentor, champion, and/or advocate. To help minimize your frustration and disappointment, check out our recommendations regarding potential avenues to use in approaching the champion that is right for you. Your experience in this endeavor matters.
  6. Research and Observation
    Before approaching someone, conduct thorough research. Understand their professional background, achievements, and their stance on mentorship or advocacy. Observing how they interact with colleagues can also provide insights into their leadership style.
  7. Articulate Your Goals
    Clearly articulate your professional goals. When you approach someone, they should have a clear understanding of what you aim to achieve. This clarity helps them provide more targeted and effective support.
  8. Express Your Appreciation
    If there’s a specific reason you’re approaching someone, such as admiring their leadership style or a project they led, express your appreciation. Authenticity goes a long way in building a meaningful professional relationship. Be the real you. The real you will eventually show up so it’s better to start on solid ground.
  9. Seek Guidance, Not a Guarantee
    When asking for mentorship or advocacy, frame it as seeking guidance rather than expecting guaranteed outcomes. This approach is more likely to resonate with potential mentors and advocates.
  10. Be Open to Their Insights
    While you approach someone with specific goals, be open to their insights and suggestions. The best mentorship and advocacy relationships are a two-way street, where both parties contribute to the learning and growth process.
    Understanding the pivotal role of champions and advocates is the first step toward career acceleration. If you’re ready to take the next step, American Management and Leadership by Design offer executive coaching services that focus on elevating your executive presence and fast-tracking your career. Schedule your executive coaching interest session today at
    Remember, your journey to success is not a solo endeavor. It’s about forging meaningful connections, seeking guidance, and having advocates who believe in your potential. Take charge of your career, and let the right champions illuminate your path.
    American Management and Leadership by Design – Nurturing Leaders, Elevating Careers.
    American Management and Leadership by Design – We Fix Businesses and Strengthen Leadership. 💼 💪🏽
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