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7 questions to ask your mentor

What are the most valuable questions to ask a mentor? Mentors are a valuable asset that not many have access to, you’ll need to make the most of your limited time together and squeeze every drop of value out of your mentoring relationship for the best results.

When you find a mentor, you can’t just sit back and expect them to hold your hand and lead you gently through the process, you have to ask engaging questions.

Every question you ask should create value on both sides. Understand that the most valuable questions should be personal. Ask questions that you couldn’t find the answer to through a simple online search. Not only will your mentor appreciate your interest in their own individual brand of advice-giving, but you’ll get information and knowledge that you won't find anywhere else.

Need help getting started? Here are 7 examples to help you understand what a ‘good’ question might look like:

1. “How should I follow up?”

Mentors like to know their mentees are invested in the mentoring process. It's also beneficial to inform them of any results their mentoring may have had on your work or personal life. Even if you choose not to take their advice, it's always nice to know that their time spent has made a small difference.

2. “What would you do if you were me?”

This is arguably the best question you can ask a mentor. Explain your current position, your understanding of your business and some of the issues on your mind. If you’re genuine and clearly express your interest in soliciting their advice, they’ll be more likely to invest in your success.

3. “What factors should I consider when planning for the future?”

This question will help you understand your mentors’ core principals, what they see as a ‘problem,’ how they construct solutions and how they approach difficulty. This discussion may also help give you insight into issues you may have never considered. This question serves as a great catalyst for your mentor/mentee relationship and will really help you develop a plan for your personal development.

4. “What mistakes did you make?”

Asking your mentor to talk about their past mistakes is a great way to avoid repeating them. A mentor who is open and willing to discuss their own shortcomings is a good sign that they’re looking out for your best interests.

5. “How should I spend my time?”

Time is a precious commodity. Understanding how to make the most effective use of time is crucial. Those who are successful people generally have this bit figured this out, and it’s worth asking them where they spend their own time and to think how you might emulate their habits.

6. “What do you mean?”

Simply put, mentors want to help and they’re more experienced than the average mentee. Don’t assume you’ll understand everything they’re talking about and don’t be afraid to ask. It’s the only way you’ll learn.

7. “What can I do better?”

Mentees tend to rely on their mentors when encountering specific situations or particular issues. Mentors aren’t just to be used as a crutch, they are there to help guide you as a person and help you improve. Always ask the hard questions such as, ‘How can I improve?’ rather than simply ‘What do I do now?’