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30 Career Advice Questions to Ask a Mentor

30 Career Advice Questions to Ask a Mentor
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Are you about to start your journey as a mentee? Getting guidance and career advice from someone who has transitioned your path and dealt with its ups and downs is the best way to propel and unlock your professional progress. And since you’re meeting for the first time, it’s important to have a clear idea of how to properly prepare your mentoring session and the best questions to ask a mentor. 

Tips for preparing your mentoring session

Before diving into some career advice questions to ask a mentor, make sure you have everything ready for the meeting. It goes beyond knowing what things to ask a mentor. It’s about setting the ground and doing all the prep to get the most out of your mentor-mentee relationship. Get a head start for your interview by following these tips.

Establish your mentoring session goals

Setting goals is key when it comes to finding the best question to ask your mentor and getting the most out of your meeting with them. Start by establishing the goals for each mentoring session, then set the objective for your whole development process; that way, you’ll tailor your career path questions and share your growth plan with your mentor more easily. 

Define your development objectives by prioritizing SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). This will allow you to focus your efforts on each of these career advice sessions and ease your mentor’s job in tracking and assessing your progress.

Identify your concerns

Getting the most out of your mentoring session implies evaluating and defining in advance the topics you’d like to discuss for each session. Your mentorship questions should focus on your overall career development and its stages, as well as the objectives, results, or skills you’ll address each session. 

If you’re following up on any progress, assignments, or lessons from previous mentoring sessions, then make sure to cover any doubts or next steps in your list of questions to ask your mentor. Other career advice topics and questions you could tackle during your mentorships are self-improvement and building skills, situational, business, and leadership advice, or just storytelling about your and your mentor’s experiences. 

Hold yourself accountable

Mentoring sessions are about productivity and growth. The questions you must ask your mentor won’t be the only thing to discuss. You should also be prepared for the topics they have in mind to check on your progress; in fact, they’ll have questions to discover your objectives and challenges, as well as find out what’s the best way to use their skills  and experience to help you. 

Among the topics your mentor will likely address, there will certainly be room for questions to circle back to on your progress and evaluate how you follow their advice. This means you must make yourself accountable before, during, and after your mentoring sessions. Have a clear overview of any advice you’d like to know to improve your method or overcome a challenge.

Be clear and specific

Your first career advice sessions will be less fluent because you and your mentor will have just met each other. Nevertheless, you should always keep the conversations straightforward and clear. Of course, small talk every now and then works to improve the rapport, but don’t force conversations. 

Remember your mentor is taking time out of their day to meet with you, so be respectful and thorough with their time. Make sure to prepare your mentorship questions for each session in advance and have all your assignments ready. 

Set the pillars and questions for your meeting

As mentioned above, listing your concerns is vital when crafting your questions to ask a mentor. Once you’ve established your topics of interest, you should write your questions and organize them by pillars. Aside from clearing your doubts, classifying your mentorship questions will boost the conversion, making it more fluent. 

If you’re still figuring out how to categorize your mentor interview questions, here are a few mentoring session topics you can use to get a head start:

  • Professional experience
  • Career development
  • Leadership
  • Company life
  • Work-life balance

30 questions to ask your mentor

If you’re still tailoring your list of questions to ask a mentor, check out this boilerplate selection. Remember to adapt them to your needs, keep them specific and straightforward, as well as contextualize them to allow your mentor to understand your case and provide more meaningful answers. 

Here are gpac’s 30 best questions to ask your mentor, classified by categories for getting the most out of your mentee experience. 

Questions to ask a mentor about their professional experience

  • Where should I lean into my strengths?  
  • How am I certain I’m in the right career
  • What are the main challenges you’ve faced in your position?
  • What skills do you recommend me to acquire/develop?
  • Which professional accomplishment are you most proud of? 
  • Which chapter of your career is the one you’ve enjoyed the most? 
  • How do you combine your passions with your work? 

Questions to ask a mentor about career development

  • Should I consider a career change?
  • How did you stay competitive over the years? 
  • How should I discuss a potential promotion with my manager? 
  • Where do you turn to when you seek continuous learning? 
  • What habits have made you more productive? 
  • What’s the best advice you have to help plan a career? 
  • How far ahead should I plan my career goals? 

Questions to ask a mentor about leadership

  • How would you define your leadership style?
  • How do you keep effective communication
  • What skills are a must for a lead? 
  • What do you do with the negative feedback you receive from your team?  
  • How can I lead without being a manager? 
  • What would you say are the main responsibilities of a leader
  • How do you keep your feelings separate from your decision-making?
  • How can a leader be transparent without oversharing? 
  • How can I set myself to become a leader early in my career? 

Questions to ask a mentor about company life

  • Who are the people I need to align with in my company to achieve success?
  • What is the best way to persuade colleagues? 
  • What should I know about a company’s structure or culture to advance in my career?
  • What company resources should I take advantage of? 
  • What’s the best way to show support to my team and company? 
  • How can I match my personality to my company culture
  • How can I deal with a stressful work environment

Now that you have a clearer overview of which topics you should approach in your mentoring session and some questions to ask your mentor, make sure to get the best out of every meeting and apply every career advice you’ll get.

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Contributed by Luis Arellano

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