Reach greater career heights with coaches, champions and cardinals

Successful people often talk about a mentor who guided their career. While mentors are invaluable, there are three other types of people who also can have a profound impact on your success. If you are open to the opportunities, you can benefit from a wide range of people who inspire and guide you.

1. Coaches

In today’s business world, coaches go by many names, such as consultants or trainers. Whatever name they go by, they enable people to function at elite levels. The key thing that makes a coach different from a mentor is they are paid to make you think, give you advice, refine your expertise and teach you advanced skills. A coach’s experienced eye sees the changes and adjustments that will make the difference in your ability to attain success. They teach you how to leverage your skills for even greater rewards. They transform leaders through their ability to teach profound business and life lessons.

A great coach clarifies your vision and hones your ability to manage the inherent professional challenges. They often view big dreams as critical, but they know that putting forward the day-to-day effort is essential to making any big dream a viable reality. A coach can help you develop the self-confidence you need so you can hone your skills and deliver them with style, grace and technical perfection. Coaches are also a support system to help you get back up quickly when you stumble, as we all inevitably do. The learnings and discipline you discover with a great coach will remain with you throughout your career.

2. Champions

There are some people in your professional life who will reach out to assist you in a very different way than a coach or a mentor. Champions are the people who can open doors for you simply because they recognize your talent and potential. These types of distinguished businesspeople are so widely regarded that their recommendation is virtually an endorsement that moves you to the front of the line. They know they are opening a door for you, but they don’t expect anything back except that you follow through on the opportunity at an exceptional level of performance.

You will gain the attention of a champion via recommendations of their staff or from projects you work on that bring your professional skill set to their attention. These types of leaders are always on the lookout for talent. A high level of satisfaction with your efforts can bring amazing opportunities. It can include business referrals, invitations to next-level boards and other opportunities to showcase your skills. Referrals from a champion can make an enormous difference in your career and in raising the sophistication level of your future opportunities. Champions give you a chance to prove yourself. They can bring you to a whole new professional level and open up the world for you.

3. Cardinals

Then there are those people who fly into your life and show you possibilities that will change the course of your future. These cardinals also can quickly fly away. Nevertheless, the brilliance of what they have added to your view of the world totally changes how you see your future.

When cardinals talk to you, their words inspire a new song in your heart. The possibilities of the world they show you moves your spirit in a new direction. Cardinals inspire you to soar to a level you never could have imagined before you saw them fly. Cardinals leave behind a memory that stimulates and engages you because they have exposed you to previously unimagined possibilities.

You will connect with a cardinal through chance encounters, as a result of a random opportunity that comes your way or perhaps at an MDRT meeting. These events have the potential to change the course of your entire life. The insights these cardinals share with you will resonate with you at a profound level, and you will leave the encounter knowing with absolute certainty that your future possibilities have changed for the better. 

By traveling on your professional journey with others, you can travel further and faster. Allowing others to inspire and champion your talent will open you up to a world in which you can learn from virtually everyone you meet. By doing so, you will exponentially enhance your potential for success.

Jill J. Johnson, MBA, president and founder of Johnson Consulting Services, is a highly accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant and author of the bestseller “Compounding Your Confidence.” For more information about her, visit

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