By Camille Mirshokrai
Global Director of Leadership Development, Accenture

There are two main challenges in being a sponsor— time and relevance. Senior executives may be approached to act as sponsors quite often and you must have time and energy to give honest and actionable feedback as well as make the necessary connections for the sponsored person. You also need to be relevant to the person’s goals. Is your network relevant to the sponsored person and their goals in terms of level, industry, experience? A network of CEOs may not help a new college grad and a network of engineers won’t help an aspiring accountant.

There are two things a person looking for sponsorship needs to consider. First is performance. A sponsor endorses a person and their abilities so you have to make sure your performance is worth advocating for. Second is taking an inventory of your network, in other words, who knows your performance and your potential and who has relevant connections they would use for you.