Ask Your Mentor These 40 Questions
Not everyone has a mentor or wants one. But if you have someone in your life who helps guide your professional and / or personal life, you probably want to use your time with them wisely. It takes a lot of energy and effort to mentor someone, so if you are involved in a relationship like this, it’s important not to take their advice for granted and make a difference every minute with them. In the Ladders section, Robert Carnevale has provided a list of 40 questions to ask your mentor to get the most out of your relationship, broken down by category. Here’s what to ask your mentor to help you learn important life lessons.
To find out about failure
When you have a mentor, you don’t want him to just tell you about the times when they were doing well. You can get even more value by hearing about the mistakes they made and what they learned. To learn more about this aspect of their life or career, answer the following questions:
1. What big mistake did you make to keep others from repeating it?
2. What is your strategy for coping with failure?
3. What was the main lesson you learned from failure?
4. When should I give up the chase?
5. Do you believe in the sunk cost error?
6. How do you rate which review is legal?
7. How do you integrate feedback into your work and lifestyle?
8. How big is the risk too big?
9. How do you determine what weaknesses can be overcome?
10. Can you tell a story about how you recovered from a serious mistake?
To learn about success
Of course, you’ll also want to know what your mentor did right – how and when he succeeded – so you can take note and apply similar strategies in your life. Here’s what you need to ask to find out more about winning:
11. What decision has brought you the most success in your career?
12. Is there a particularly effective strategy for achieving success in this area?
13. What kind of people do I need to stay with to increase my chances of success in this area?
14. Where can I be online?
15. Have you ever made a single change that was a huge success?
16. How can I be more strategic about my career goals?
17. What qualities do I need to show in order to be ahead of everyone in this industry?
18. How fast can a clip reasonably be expected to climb the corporate ladder in this area?
19. What should be the success at this stage of my career?
20. What should I focus on right now to move smoothly to the next stage of my career?
To learn about introspection
Unless you are used to introspection, asking your mentor these questions can help you start thinking in the following terms:
21. If you were me, what is the most important question you would ask you?
22. If you were in my place, what would you like to change immediately?
23. How can I say that I am not choosing a cherry, what kind of feedback do I accept about myself?
24. Is there a strategy to wean myself from the behavior that is holding me back in this area?
25. Am I showing any warning signs to indicate that this field is not suitable for me in the long term?
26. When is it time for me to consider a career change?
27. How do I make sure I’m prioritizing the right things?
28. Where do you think I am losing?
29. How do others perceive me?
30. What can I do right now to improve myself and my career prospects?
To find out more about your mentor in general
Maybe you and your mentor have a long history, or maybe you just met. If you want to know more about their past and how they got to where they are today, ask them about it. Just make sure they feel comfortable discussing these things first:
31. What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome?
32. What obstacle did you fail to overcome?
33. What was the most unexpected obstacle you had to face?
34. What should you be afraid of?
35. What was the most exciting moment of your career?
36. Do you find any benefit in holding back regrets?
37. Where do you think you could be more successful if you knew what you know now?
38. What values have brought you to where you are today?
39. When did you know you “did it” and was where you wanted to be?
40. Has your definition of success changed over the years?
Yes, that’s a lot. You probably don’t want to corner your mentor and ask questions one by one. But if you’re looking for ways to make good use of your mentor’s time and truly benefit from their experience, this list is a good place to start.