While listening to a speaker a few weeks ago, she stated, “Women are over mentored and under-supported.” This statement resonated with me. Our careers include so many different players… Mentors, Coaches, and Supporters. The players all perform a different role. My environment promotes Mentors and Coaches with my interpretation of these roles being:
Mentoring – The mentor’s advice given to the mentee based on the mentor’s experience and biases. I would venture to guess that many mentors don’t get to know their mentees well enough to know if the advice is applicable or even if the advice is accepted by the mentee.
Coaching – The coachee is “questioned” to come to his/her own realizations or “Ah Ha” moments. This approach takes more skill and patience from the coach. The outcomes have a higher probability of “sticking” because the mentee comes to their own conclusion.
What about a Supporter?
When I Googled the word “support,” definitions were the first items found.
bear all or part of the weight of; hold up.
The next most popular entries in Google mostly relate to the technical support of different pieces of software. It is quite a few pages into the search before there is mention of supporting people and their needs or problems. When we think about our lives, we know we need others to live a fruitful life. Even Sheryl Sandberg stated, “I feel grateful to people who encouraged me and helped me develop. Nobody can succeed on their own.” After some further thinking, I wanted to define my version of a Supporter and how this role differs from others.
A supporter’s purpose is to encourage, endorse, and open doors.
Encourage – A supporter encourages you to achieve your goals, your purpose, and even your dreams. If the supporter is also your coach, then they can even help you find your purpose and actions to get to your target. But no matter what, the supporter will encourage your strong and courageous self.
Endorse – A supporter endorses your abilities and strengths to the leaders that make decisions. Endorsements create a reputation for you in a circle with which you may not have access.
Open Doors – A support opens doors and even identifies doors. There are times this may mean the supporter will need to remove a block to open the door.
For the Supporters to encourage, endorse, and open doors, they must be able to deliver on these items in addition to creating a trusting relationship with their Supportee. The job can consume time and take effort but the reward is worth the climb.
Consider these thoughts. If you are inclined, please send your thoughts. An interactive audience enables learning for us all.