Mentoring and being mentored – both are two of the most challenging things to do. No one quite understands how it is supposed to be done, because no set formula exists on how to mentor someone or even how to be mentored. Fortunately, mentorship can and will be what you make of it. The biggest and most important part of mentorship is asking critical questions! With the world moving at such a fast pace, time is becoming one of the most valuable resources an individual has. The key is maximizing the time you have to speak with one another. Some of the questions to ask as a mentor and mentee are below:
As a mentor you should ask:
- What are your ultimate goals and what is your current action plan to get there?. As a mentor it is important to understand your mentees long term vision, but also the in between milestones that they are looking to achieve to get to these goals. This will allow you to understand where they are and also make sure they are on the right track to reach these goals and make suggestion if they are not.
- What are the biggest challenges you face today, and what are you doing to overcome these challenges? We never want to look at some of the opportunities we have, but the fact is that we all are faced with something that may be stalling our paths to success. Understanding these needs allow you to understand what areas to focus on, which may lead to different opportunities for personal development or possibly introductions to people within your network that can help get past this hurdle.
- What are you looking to get out of this mentorship relationship? What do you expect from me? Setting and understanding each other’s expectations is definitely good in establishing a solid foundation between you and the mentee. Every person has different expectations for a mentor and the better you can understand this, the more effective you will be in adding value to the mentee and you will understand in what areas to channel your energy.
It’s also important to understand that mentorship is not one-sided; it really does take both of you to make this work! Just as important as it is for the mentor to understand you, you have to be willing to understand them as well.
As a mentee you should ask:
- What are some things you believe are valuable in becoming successful? Every leader or person in general has a “secret sauce” that has enabled them to reach their full potential. The good thing is that “secret sauce” is typically valuable in a lot of aspects of life. Make sure you understand some of the key tools that allowed them to be successful and see if you are mirroring these in your day-to-day life. Is it time management, reading more often, or paying attention to detail, make sure you are in line with these tools!
- How do you approach some of the things you have been challenged with?Similar to a mentor, understanding how they approach challenges can be effective in helping you understand how you should approach yours. Although you may not have similar challenges, 9 times out of 10 you find out the approach to every obstacle is very similar and effective in helping you overcome whatever hurdle this may be.
- How can I be an effective mentee? Similar to your time, the mentor’s time is valuable and it is important to make sure you are both on the same page on what they believe it takes to be an effective mentee. Do you need to come prepared with notes? Do they want to set timelines for different goals? Understanding some of this allows you to focus in different areas and allow you both to communicate effectively and gain a lot of value from different interactions.
So, my challenge to you is to get out there! Ask someone for 5 minutes of their time or give 5 minutes of your time. Ask these questions and quickly learn how you can help each other. Mentorship is fun, it’s exciting and most of all it is the most valuable resource we can leverage to continue to push the people in our nation forward.