Sponsoring has been positioned as a powerful intervention for the career advancement of women, with career resilience as a key benefit of sponsorship. In this paper we utilise a psychoanalytic framework namely Lacanian discourse theory, to argue that this may not be the case, and that sponsoring may actually create a diagonally opposite result by creating (ir)resilience in individuals being sponsored. Our theoretical critique is supported by empirical data from qualitative interviews with participants across Europe, as well as an examination of extracts from accounts of sponsoring in published research. Our analysis supports an alternate way of thinking about sponsoring and has implications for human resource practice. We suggest reversing the hierarchical positioning of sponsors and sponsees to counter the (ir)resilience created in a hierarchical sponsoring relationship. The resulting artificially introduced hystericisation will set the scene for radical change and build career resilience in women, both as sponsors and sponsees.