Comparing mentorship and sponsorship in clinical neuropsychology

Robin C. Hilsabeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: Mentoring is a well-known concept that is widely regarded as beneficial for personal and professional development. The concept of sponsoring is less recognized although it is considered critical by some for career advancement. The purpose of this study was to provide an initial exploration of differences between mentoring and sponsoring within neuropsychology and to learn what sponsors look for in protégés. Method: Twenty neuropsychologists with experience in mentorship and sponsorship were interviewed. Topics covered included the number of protégés they had mentored/sponsored, training received in mentoring/sponsoring, characteristics they look for in protégés, expectations of protégés, reasons they mentor/sponsor, and benefits of mentoring/sponsoring. Results: On average, neuropsychologists interviewed had mentored 58 protégés and sponsored 40. None had ever received formal training in mentoring or sponsoring. Key characteristics needed for neuropsychologists to feel comfortable mentoring/sponsoring protégés were similar while those characteristics valued differed slightly with sponsored protégés valued for competence and getting things done and mentored protégés valued for interpersonal qualities. Reasons for and benefits of mentorship/sponsorship were similar, with rewarding feelings, satisfaction, and pride in the protégé’s successes at the top of the list. Conclusions: Neuropsychologists who provide training are in the position to mentor and sponsor individuals; mentoring relationships often entail sponsorship and vice versa such that the two constructs may be considered part of a continuum. Improving knowledge and skills in mentorship and sponsorship will not only advance personal and professional development of protégés but will also positively impact mentors/sponsors and help shape the field of neuropsychology in deliberate ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-299
Number of pages16
JournalClinical Neuropsychologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • career advancement
  • Mentoring
  • protégé
  • sponsoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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