Interchangable Titles

I’m confused.

No, seriously, I am confused.

For a long time, I felt I needed a “mentor” to help develop and guide me through my professional profile and create opportunities with respects to a career.

Not too long ago, someone mentioned that a “coach” is better than a mentor because that person will coach you to be the best in your chosen or new career.

Then, I was told “you don’t need a mentor. What you need is an ‘influencer’, who can influence your career.”

A few days ago, someone tossed all of that aside and suggested that I need to find a “sponsor” to advocate for me in the workplace.

I raise a practical question: where am I going to find a “mentor”, “coach”, “influencer”, and a “sponsor” all at once?  Are they the same person? Different individuals?

Which one is a better fit for me? Or will I benefit from all four? 

As a self-admitted late bloomer professional, being stuck in neutral, career-wise, with no true compass to follow is “no way to go through life” as Dean Wormer famously said.

Am I mentorable, coachable, or worthy of sponsorship in the workplace? It doesn’t feel like it, since I have no established record of success or anything that would “wow” others thorough influence or power.

Charitable things notwithstanding, what have I really accomplished in the business world?

There is some pressure to do something “big” and important.  As a Gen Xer, if you haven’t achieved or “made it”, then all signs point to failure and missed opportunities.

Are the terms “mentoring”, “coaching”, “influencing”, and “sponsoring” interchangeable or separate terms?

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