Mentorship programs are extremely important for women’s careers. Both mentor and mentee get measurable positives out of the relationship, and mentorship programs also help form a leadership pipeline and retain top talent. Plus, a survey found that 84 percent of CEOs credit their mentors with helping them avoid costly mistakes and becoming better at their jobs, faster.
If you’re new to a mentorship relationship, you might be struggling to decide which questions to ask your mentor. Whatever topic you choose to dive into, asking your mentor helpful, thought-provoking questions is a skill that you can improve over time. Keep in mind that mentorships are most effective when mentees ask specific questions, so it’s important to view these open-ended questions as ones that you can tailor to be more aligned with your individual interests.
- What’s the best advice you can give to help plan a career rather than simply work to keep a job?
- How do you encourage innovative ideas?
- How would you describe your personal style?
- Do you have a mentor? …
- What do you do to constantly challenge your underlying beliefs and assumptions?
Mentor interview questions
There’s no easy answer to this question as it mostly depends on what your career goals and objective are. But what you most certainly will need to do is to continually ask engaging questions to get the most out of what can be an extremely rewarding personal and professional experience.
A few years ago, around the time when I was launching this blog, I wrote an article called 4 Types of Questions to Ask A Mentor. To this day, it is the most-read article on Be Leaderly, and its popularity keeps growing.
In the article, I share a simple model for making the most out of every conversation with your mentor. To begin, come prepared with four questions. It’s a way to show appreciation for your mentor and their time and commitment to you. Ultimately, both of you should leave every conversation feeling like it was time well spent. All it takes is a few minutes of thoughtful preparation.
Here’s how it works: Before every meeting with your mentor, prepare one question from each of these categories: stories, situations, self-awareness, and skill building.
In my workshops and group coaching programs, I like to share those categories, and then ask the participants to compile their own questions to ask a mentor. Here are some good ones they’ve come up with recently:
4 tips on how to ask the right questions to a mentor
In your mentoring questions, good questions to ask your mentor are those that are clear and relevant to the mentor’s expertise. Normally when people look for a mentor, they’re looking for guidance to solve a specific issue in their career.
Figure this, you’ve decided to get a mentor, so that you can earn how to become a better leader. You get into the topic of public speaking because it’s been a lingering issue of yours.
Here are two examples that roughly ask the same question, but one is more specific and the other a bit vaguer:
A: “How do I become better at public speaking?”
B: “What do you do to avoid nervousness when speaking in public?”
A is an example of a bad question to ask if you want meaningful advice precisely because it’s too vague. Why is it not appropriate for a short mentoring session? Because it’s a public speaking question that requires a deep answer to be effective.
On the other end, B asks a more specific question on nervousness when speaking in public. The mentor can give more actionable advice on this because it’s more specific.
Questions to ask a mentor about career growth
6. How can I reframe my experience to get back into the workforce after an employment gap?
7. How can I stay competitive in my industry?
8. Do you have any recommendations for professional development courses?
9. How do I know if I’m in a dead-end job?
10. How do you think this industry will change over the next 5–10 years?
How do you mentor interview question?
- Tell me about a time when you trained a new hire.
- Tell me about a time when you retrained someone who was struggling in their job.
- Tell me about a time when you mentored a coworker successfully.
- Tell me when you trained a superior.
How do I prepare for a mentoring conversation?
What should I ask my mentor coach?
- Send your mentor your resume and two or three brief paragraphs describing your work and personal history. …
- Give your mentor an idea of what you’d like to focus on. …
- Ask for your mentor’s contact information and, if applicable, his or her assistant’s contact information.