By Cassie Phillipps (Executive Producer, Failcon)
I believe it’s not that women need more mentors; it’s that we need to change our relationship with mentors. Erin Wolf made the distinction, and I think it is very valid, that “Women get Mentored. Men Get Sponsored.” If you want to get ahead in business, you need to find mentors who are far more advanced than you, who can (and will) actively influence things in your favor.

This also reflects the problem with the statistic above: that only 25% of people had active mentors. If someone has not agreed that they are your mentor, they will not go to bat for you or seek ways to boost you ahead. It’s great to have a good friend to talk to, but that is not the type of mentor relationship you need to succeed in business.

So founders, take a moment to assess your relationship with your “mentors” and make sure it is not purely admiration or friendship. Ask if these people could and would introduce you to influential community leaders, hire you at their own firms, or get you invited to exclusive high-level events. More importantly, if you are mentoring someone and NOT doing those things, realize that you are not truly a mentor and help them find someone who can be. This mentor relationship is one of the number one factors of whether an individual succeeds or not in life, and is not something to be taken lightly, by mentor or mentee.

Editor’s note: FailCon is a one-day conference on October 24, 2011 in San Francisco for technology entrepreneurs, investors, developers and designers to study their failures and prepare for success. Women 2.0 members save 15% on FailCon tickets with coupon code “women2” here.

As an entrepreneur, you will inevitably encounter failure. Overcoming failure is the biggest challenge. Join founders from Color, Cuil, Airbnb, PBworks, and more as they share advice on how to overcome failures and reach success.

» Read the full article at Girls in Tech.