Inclusive sponsorship training is an integral component of an organization’s diversity initiatives. With sponsorship training, you arm your senior leaders and protégés with the skills necessary to confidently build meaningful relationships.
At bci, we focus on teaching leaders and protégés about how to attract, build and maintain sponsorship relationships across cultural differences, where authenticity and inclusion are essential.
Research conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) reveals that sponsorship is a powerful relationship that occurs when a “sponsor” (senior leader) does a minimum of three things for their “protégé” (junior team member): goes out on a limb for them, advocates for their next promotion and provides air cover when they make a mistake.
Research also tells us that sponsorship is critical for catapulting the careers of women and diverse professionals, but only if it is done in an inclusive way.
At bci, we’re passionate about inclusive sponsorship training. In 2017, along with CTI, Ritu co-authored the ground-breaking research report, Sponsor Effect: Canada, which examines the sponsorship experiences of people of color, Indigenous peoples and women, including intersectionality.
The research tells us that there is a sharp divide in the kinds of support white people, people of color and Indigenous peoples receive from senior colleagues. A few key findings from this report include:
Very few Canadian people of color, Indigenous peoples or women have sponsors, despite being highly ambitious and willing to “go the extra mile” at work
The majority of leaders in senior positions – white men – who self-identify as sponsors tend to sponsor people that are like themselves
For people of color and Indigenous peoples, leaders are more likely to give advice on how they can “fix” they way they are perceived. For white people, leaders are more likely to provide impactful advocacy
Many think leadership attributes are defined by white male standards, and people of color and Indigenous peoples are more likely than white people to hold this perception
Our sponsorship training focuses on how to propel women and diverse professionals up the organizational ladder into leadership roles. In our inclusive sponsorship training, we focus on teaching:
The difference between mentorship and sponsorship and why this matters
The key responsibilities and behaviors for sponsors and protégés
Practical strategies for providing inclusive advocacy and support across cultural differences
It’s a win for sponsors because they build a team of “go-to” people they can rely on who are loyal, who are reliable and who make the leader look good. And it’s a win for protégés because sponsors unlock career advancement in offering their advocacy and support.
By opening up doors, advocating for promotions and providing air cover when mistakes happen, leaders help protégés to build their profiles, access opportunities and so much more. Sponsorship relationships are everything.
Sponsor Effect: Canada is a cutting-edge research report on how race/ethnoculture, gender and the intersection of cultural identities impact sponsor relationships in Canadian workplaces.
This pioneering research — the first of its kind in Canada — delves into issues around inclusive sponsorship and the challenges faced by people of color, Indigenous peoples and women (and the intersection of identities) in attracting advocacy.
To read the findings from Sponsor Effect: Canada, please click here to access the Executive Summary.
Find out more about our inclusive sponsorship e-learning module, which teaches emerging leaders about the key skills that are necessary to attract and maintain strong sponsor relationships.
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During these stressful and uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to be inclusive and to consciously practice anti-racism. bci has created a free tip sheet with key strategies and tools that you can use to interrupt COVID-19-related racial bias.