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Difference Between A Coach, Mentor, and Sponsor

At any career stage, there is value in having a coach, mentor, and/or sponsor. However, there are differences in each and how they can assist in guiding, supporting, or sponsoring success. Let’s discuss the definitions and differences between the three:


A coach prepares you specifically with a set goal in mind. They are instructional and help you identify actions and a roadmap to achieve short and long-term goals. Just like in the athletic realm, coaches are very important because they help in unlocking potential and maximizing performance.

You’ll need a coach if you’re seeking to achieve goals or improve in certain areas. For instance, business owners can get a financial coach who can professionally help them navigate financial complexities and help them reach success. **


A mentor… mentors. In mentorship, you cultivate a relationship with somebody for development and growth through advisements. A mentor typically has more experience, knowledge, and connections to pass along to a mentee. Mentors are typically the bridge to success for a lot of individuals.

Seek mentorship from someone who has significantly achieved success in your related industry or niche. Another way to find a mentor is by applying to mentoring programs that give access to top-class individuals who are passionate about sharing their wealth of knowledge.


A sponsor is a highly influential leader who operates in spaces that exceed your own network. Typically at a senior level or with a strong decision-making influence within an organization, sponsors are willing to help you gain visibility. They are your advocates who will vouch for you and speak to your credibility. Sponsors can help you make faster career and business decisions as well as help you spot and access opportunities for your growth.


  • Coaching: goal-oriented, suggest actions, provides feedback

  • Mentoring: advice oriented, provide counsel

  • Sponsors: network-oriented, bridge builder, gives recommendations

In a nutshell: a coach listens to you, a mentor advises you, and a sponsor talks about and acts for you.


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