Having a mentee is a critical responsibility. A mentor assumes the role of shaping a mentee’s career by providing useful tools, experiences and knowledge. In other words, a mentor is a brain to pick.
Below are 21 top career mentoring questions to ask a mentee. These career questions will assist a mentor in understanding the current position of the mentee and their future goals.
These will also allow the mentor to understand his/ her role better and where to focus.
Let’s take a look at each of these.
Career Planning Questions To Ask a Mentee
What are your career plans for the next 90 days?
A focused individual should be able to tell his/her mentor what actions or objectives that he or she is trying to complete during the next 90 days.
If the answer shows clarity around this, then the mentor knows that he/she does not need to create a 90 day career plan.
Support required will be more along the line of reviewing the actions. The mentor will ensure that actions are suitable and ideal for the goals of the mentee.
What are your career plans for the next 5 years?
Having a clear long term career plan for the future is an important first step to career development. According to Dave Ramsey, a goal without a plan is just a dream. Your mentee should have a clear idea of where he or she is going in the future.
If this is absent, then one of the first actions is to create a five year career plan. I have written an article on 10 top questions to creating a successful 5 year career plan which you may find useful.
If the 5 year plan exists, then a review is required to ensure that the mentorship aligns with the plan. Do you have a list of actionable steps to ensure you meet your objectives?
This can provide a starting point to begin the mentorship programme. This is a checklist of all the actionable steps that are necessary to ensure that the career plan is completed. If the mentee has this, then fantastic. If not, then one needs to be created to provide clear focus areas.
How are your hobbies aligned with your overall career goals and objectives?
Getting a feel for what your mentee likes to do in his/her free time can be helpful. Suggestions of new hobbies in line with career development path can aid in networking.
On the other hand, assessing current hobbies may reveal synergies. There may also be career diversification possibilities. Exploring hobbies/passions can reveal unexplored career paths.
Do you see your future role at your current organisation?
This question will force the mentee to really consider whether there are any future long term prospective at the company in which he/ she is employed. If this answer is no, then an exit strategy needs to be developed alongside the mentee.
Career Growth Questions to Ask a Mentee
What is a critical skill that you need to acquire to achieve career growth?
This question requires the mentee to complete some introspection on that one skill if he/ she acquires it will make a fundamental difference. This skill could result in a promotion on the job.
What are your strengths and how are you enhancing these?
Strengths are assets. Therefore, having the knowledge of the strength of a mentee can assist a mentor in directing career growth. By knowing the strengths that the mentee has identified, the mentor can begin to look for unrecognized abilities.
At times, you and I have strengths that we do not see in ourselves. The mentor could assist in discovering untapped strengths.
What are your weaknesses and how are you improving these?
Awareness of one’s weaknesses is the first step to overcoming them. A mentor should identify the mentee’s weaknesses so as to ensure that proper processes are put in place to conquer them.
What are your current career challenges?
This forces the mentee to consider the areas that require development and improvement. Is there internal work that needs to be done such as limiting belief that the mentee needs to overcome? Is finance an issue to accessing a premium course that can elevate the mentee’s career?
How do you interact and connect with peers and thought leaders in your industry?
This question focuses on networking and activities that the mentee takes part in. Is the mentee apart of a body or club that fosters interaction which can allow him/ her to meet with others in the same field?
How are you different from other persons within your company and field?
To stand in any field, one must have traits, expertise and experiences that are different to others in your field. Identifying and developing this area could have a huge benefits if you will like a job promotion or during job searching.
How does your social media plan align your career objectives?
Social media is a powerful tool that all professionals can leverage in their career. As an example if you are a safety engineer and you are interested in consulting whether part time or in the future, blogging can be a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in the field.
In addition, if you are considering a career change, social media is a vital tool to use as part of your career exploration.
Do you mentor anyone at your workplace?
Mentoring others within an organisation is a great way to sharpen an individual’s skill. Teaching what you know to someone will help you to understand what you don’t know. This is also a great way to get recognized by the company as someone who is interested in the development of colleagues.
Career Advice Questions to Ask a Mentee
What areas do you require my support?
This question will help in providing a clear indication of where the mentee believes that your skill will be best suited to their development.
From there you can have a deeper conversation of the role that will be required and the extent of the mentoring.
How has my mentor-mentee relationship benefitted you?
Mentor mentee relationships are usually symbiotic. The mentor benefits just as much from the mentorship as the mentee.
It will be valuable as a mentor to find out how you have provided useful insight. This question also gives you information on areas of strength.
Is there any area about working with me that you will like me to handle differently?
It will also be useful to find out areas where your mentee believes that you could improve. This information will help you grow and develop as you continue to mentor more individuals.
Career Development Questions to Ask a Mentee
What tools/measures do you put in place to ensure productivity?
Time is a limited resource which must be effectively managed. Getting a feel for how your mentee uses time will be useful.
Does your mentee need deadlines to ensure that goals are attained? Is your mentee self- disciplined? Is your mentee currently productive? Does your mentee use tools to measure productivity?
Answers to these will assist the relationship. If the use of time is ineffective, then it will be impossible to achieve certain goals.
Per chance you will like to be more scientific in measuring productivity, then the Pozen Productivity Rating could be useful. This tool was created by Robert C Pozen.
Productivity is assessment from 21 questions which examines habits, daily routines and planning.
What habits do you maintain on a daily basis?
According to Colin Powell, if you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in the little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.
Finding out the habits of your mentee can tell you the areas that they view as important. Therefore this is an excellent question to ask to ensure that career plans and habits align. Great habits can be life-changing.
What are your fears?
We all have fears. Defeating them can open up a whole set of opportunities in our career. A great example of someone who overcame a major fear in his career was Muhammad Ali. Champion boxer, Muhammad Ali had a fear of flying. He overcame this fear and was able to fight all around the world.
Having an understanding on the mentee’s unique fears can be accessed using a helpful tool developed by Ruth Soukup.
After surveying more than 4,000 persons, Soukup found that fear was pronounced across 7 distinct patterns. Her test is called the Do It Scared Fear Assessment.
This is called the Fear Archetypes. These seven types of fear archetypes are the procrastinator, the rule follower, the people pleaser, the outcast, the self-doubter, the excuse maker and the pessimist.
The free version of this test reveals your top Fear Archetype. A detailed report is available at a cost.
Who is your career role model?
We all have someone who we look up to, someone we admire. Legendary American business executive, Phil Knight, the creator of Nike admired Sony. Steve Jobs considered Edwin Land, the co-founder of Polaroid as one of his many heroes.
Identifying the person/persons who your mentee admires can provide insight into where they will like to go and who they will like to become. I have also written an article on the 19 top questions to ask someone who you admire. Feel free to have a look at it.
What books are you reading at the moment?
Understanding the work and authors that a mentee takes interest in could provide useful insight into their plans for the future.
Is there a common theme in the books that is read? Is the mentee focused on the appropriate books that can support his/ her career development?
A mentor could help answer these questions and make recommendations so as to bridge any knowledge gap.
How do you manage your time?
There are only so many hours in the day and how the mentee uses time is a crucial aspect for success.
The privilege to mentor is a great opportunity as we all can learn something from each other. Hope this article provided useful career mentoring questions to ask your mentee.
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