We are familiar with mentors and how they can help us. Advocates do more; they proactively promote you and increase your career prospects. They can be outside your organisation but preferably inside. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what an advocate can do for you.
Puts you on the radar: It takes more than talent, hard work and skills to rise in an organisation. An advocate brings you to the attention of decision makers because they believe in you and your potential. They speak on your behalf and even promote you to senior people in an organisation who are unlikely to see your work for themselves. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll need to open up to your advocate about your aspirations and professional goals so that s/he can help you achieve them.
Negotiates opportunities for you : An advocate can create opportunities that would normally not exist. These give you the chance to prove yourself and back up any claims that your advocate has made about your potential for higher level roles. Since such opportunities are aimed at proving something to the bosses, they are likely to be top level assignments with access to the top brass
Shares the inside scoop: When you know whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important to the movers and shakers in your organisation or sector, you align your efforts and achievements accordingly. Your advocate normally has insider knowledge, good connections and will alert you to what you need to know without breaking any confidences. They may even steer you away from certain things back onto the path that has potential to take you places.
Lends you their wisdom: Advocates can guide your scenario planning in terms of what options might be available. If a post he or she was lobbying for you is disappearing, they will work with you to review your strategy for repositioning yourself.
Shows you the fast track: The view from the top is often different from the bottom up. From below, you look at climbing rank by rank. From above, the boss knows you can do the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœlong jumpÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ if you show that you can do the bigger job.Ã‚Â Your advocate will give you suggestions on your need to Ã¢â‚¬Ëœleap frogÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ and support you to develop the highly competitive skills sets required. You must assure them that you are prepared to pay your dues.
Wants to do it right: A credible advocate will not want to be seen to be skipping the rules or playing favourites. So donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be blinded by your ambition to cut corners. Make sure your advocate is well respected and trusted. Never create the impression that your advocate is doing something underhand by helping you. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get boastful or misrepresent any of their actions.
Now take action: Identify 3 people who will make good advocates.