Leaders demonstrate their value as leaders by strategically developing talent. Sponsorship is one way that executives can refine their leadership skills, learn from those they are sponsoring, and build organizational awareness—all while helping to grow talent and improve the organization’s performance.

At its core, sponsorship means you are using your influence to advance the career of a protégé you feel has potential to benefit the movement.

  • Be prepared to defend the unique strengths and value-add of the protégé to others, and communicate your expectations to your protégé. Sponsorship implies that the future performance and actions of your protégé may reflect on you.
  • Cultivate an understanding of your protégé’s strengths and weaknesses as well as future goals and ambitions to advocate in an effective, targeted way.
  • Provide visibility and offer connections by introducing your protégé to members of your network who might serve as valuable resources or levers for future opportunities.
  • Reference your protégé (strengths, unique skills, experiences, etc.) in conversations with influential others.
  • Advocate for your protégé when critical opportunities arise that will both leverage and expand their existing skill set, including stretch assignments and high-visibility opportunities.
  • Champion your protégé for promotion opportunities, when appropriate.
  • Continue to support your protégé, if possible, both during and after critical assignments and/or promotions; an extra level of support can help ensure success.
  • Be prepared to help turn a failure around. If a protégé is struggling with a new role or opportunity, provide targeted and specific advice and coaching to help course-correct or find a placement more aligned with the individual’s talents and goals.


  • Amplifiers not only provide opportunities for protégés to move into new roles and enhance or develop skills, but they themselves gain information that helps them learn and grow in their respective careers. Having a protégé allows amplifiers to stay in touch with what’s going on in the field at different levels and better understand the professional landscape based on the information received.
  • Amplifiers feel accomplishment in knowing they have affected others’ careers positively.
  • Successful sponsorship creates and builds reputational capital for the protégé and the amplifier. By selecting a protégé who goes on to make a greater impact in an organization, the amplifier enhances their own reputational capital as a discerning leader invested in talent sustainability.