\u201cI\u2019ll mentor many people, but I\u2019ll only \u2018sponsor\u2019 a few.\u201d These words came from a high-level executive at one of Canada\u2019s largest financial institutions. He was a guest speaker at one of our group coaching programs. When he made the proclamation, we were exploring strategic networking and the role that mentors play in career advancement. In that moment, the penny dropped for me as to why so many mentorship programs fail to solve tough talent issues. For years, mentorship has been positioned as the antidote to the problem of young leaders, female leaders and minority leaders lacking the informal networks that so often help people get ahead. But if mentorship was the solution, then diversity in key leadership roles would have been achieved by now. I believe that the answer to why mentorship hasn\u2019t fully worked lies in the difference between mentorship and sponsorship.