Coaches Corner

Personal & Professional Development

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Featured Coach:  Smruti Patel

Welcome to Coach’s Corner!

I’m delighted to be part of this wonderful community and as your resident coach, offer up observations, nuggets and information that will support both your professional and personal development.

At the beginning of the year, we are often assessing different aspects of our lives and considering where we might want to devote resources and bring balance or harmony. Since most women are natural relationship builders, I thought it might be helpful to write about three important relationships that we should be creating or leveraging, to support our professional development.

Here is some information about three relationships that are considered essential for professional development, especially for women who are mid career and looking to make the next leap. They are sponsorship, mentoring and coaching.

Let’s start with Sponsorship. Sponsors are individuals who fast track your career usually within the same organization. They connect you to the right people and high visibility projects. They make powerful introductions to ensure that you are noticed and brought into the limelight. They might be able to influence others in staffing you on a challenging project or in a role that will give you an opportunity to shine. Sponsors are willing to spend their political capital on your potential! They give and create opportunities and make it happen. They are in your corner and want to see you move up.

Mentors can be sponsors too and vice versa but specifically, mentors are also confidantes and can be found within or outside your organization. They are encouraging, offer a trusted space to vent frustrations and give advice. They may provide a listening ear and share perspective on an issue you may be facing. A mentor provides a safe space, encouragement, empathy and an alternative perspective. It has the potential to become a special relationship that can last a lifetime.

Unlike sponsorship and mentoring, a coaching relationship is short term. Think of a coach as jet fuel for your personal and professional development. A good coach offers total confidentiality and impartiality. They assess where you are in the present, clarify your goals and propel you forward. A high quality coach will also be able to provide insights into your blind spots and behaviors that may be holding you back. Most importantly, a high quality coach provides tools that allow you to manage your own growth in the future. They do not create a dependency and fully customize your experience. Getting a high quality coach is an investment that pays far into the future. It is a relationship of profound professional intimacy so be selective about who you choose to work with! Many consider coaching to be a transformational life experience.

As you ponder on these three very powerful relationships, consider the following:

Who in your life is already acting like a sponsor?

Identify 5 people who you would like to be your sponsors.

Do you have a mentoring relationship? If yes, what makes the relationship successful?

Can you find other mentors to bring into your life?

If you do not have a mentor, who do you trust and respect and can turn to for advice?

Is it possible to formalize that relationship into a mentorship?

Are you at a place in your career where you need to work with a coach?

Do you know what to look for in a coach?

I can send relevant resources to help you decide.

Smruti Patel



Please write to me, Smruti Patel at
To learn more about my services please visit