Mentors inspire us, encourage us, and advise us, which means that we should never leave them to do all of this work on their own. A mentorship is a two way street, just like the relationships between teachers and students, in that one must exist in order for the other to do so as well. Ultimately, your mentor is there to mentor you, just as you are there to learn. Do your part so that they may do theirs – ask questions!
The 8 Best Questions to Ask a Business Mentor
1. “What are the values that you are committed to?”
Knowing what matters to your mentor in terms of their ethics and beliefs, can tell you a lot about their individual business as well as the industry they are in as a whole. On a small scale, it’s a step toward identifying the values that you yourself are committed to in comparison to those of others and of the industry. Moreover, it’s a glimpse into what other people deem important, which makes it important.
2. “Why do you do what you do?”
There’s a reason behind everything we do and, if you’re thinking about doing something similar to someone else, it’s can be helpful to compare. Your mentor has had a reason for every one of their decisions; they have been where you may hope to go. Knowing why could perhaps help to tell you how.
3. “Have you always known that this is what you wanted?”
Unsure of what exactly you want to do? Doubting your trajectory? Well, it’s quite possible that your mentor has been through that. A lot of life is made up of doing things we might not want to do but, by asking others who have found the thing that they love, perhaps they can help us find our niches too.
4. “What has inspired you?”
Knowing what has inspired the person that you look to for inspiration is, mathematically, twice as inspirational. Seek that out!
5. “How do you approach the unknown?”
Interesting in relation to both life and business, your mentor can simply make of this question what they will. Ultimately it’s a way of seeing how they problem-solve or how they have worked through things in the past. Really, it’s just a more profound way of asking, “What would you do if you were me?”
6. “How do you spend your time?”
That or ask what an average day looks like for them. Logistics are important! Work is life! We live our days at home and in the office and around the dining room table and, if your days might eventually look the same, why wouldn’t you want to know? If anything, this question can help you visualize and plan for your future.
7. “How have you grown here?”
This is a curious question. You’re not simply asking for facts, but for self-reflection. This is key though, because the teaching you receive from your business mentor does not have to be shallow. Ask how their work changed them or challenged them. Ask them what they have loved and what they would do differently.
8. “How can I help you? Can I follow up with you?”
A good way to finish meetings with anyone really, but especially mentors, is to see how you too can help them. Ask if they have any questions of you; see if you can be a resource in any simple way. In addition, ask the same of them. See if you can return with further questions or concerns and, of course, be grateful.