Every entrepreneur can benefit from having a mentor. A mentor is someone you can count on and will encourage you and support your ambitions. Your mentor can help you gain perspective and realize intention as you strive to positively influence the people around you and achieve success. However, if your mentorship sessions have been repetitive or stagnant, consider brainstorming to develop new questions and discussion topics. Below are some tips on how to revive your conversations so you can get the most out of your meetings.
To break the ice, consider exchanging professional stories and goals with your mentor. Telling stories of your experiences not only guide the conversation, but it also gives you and your mentor the opportunity to build a more personal connection in which you can share experiences. Here are some sample questions to help get you started:
· How did you get to where you are today?
· Can you tell me about a recent setback you experienced and how you recovered?
· How did you develop your leadership skills?
· What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned and why?
· Can you tell me about a time you failed, and how you bounced back? What did you learn from that experience?
· Have you discovered the purpose for your life? What part does your career/job play in the purpose for your life?
· Can you list 5 things you have always wanted to do and 5 things you’re proud of in your career and life?
· What are some of the ways in which your actions and attitude have inspired others to do more, dream more, and learn more?
Discuss Specific Situations
Once the conversation starts flowing, you can ask your mentor more specific questions about your career and leadership skills, as well as how to navigate your current professional role.
· I struggle with delegation. Do you have any advice on how to delegate and manage a team?
· How can I be a better leader?
· Who are the people I need to connect within this organization to be more successful?
· How can I stay connected to key influencers who do not work in the same office or geographical area?
· When trying to gain buy-in to implement a new program, what tactics have worked for you?
· What type of preparation do you most appreciate seeing from your employees when approaching a performance review?
· What are the pros and cons of taking an international assignment?
Self-awareness is highly important, in life and in business. Having self-awareness is when you’re able to perceive yourself as others perceive you. It’s important to strengthen your perception to make a more positive impact that supports your career, your professional relationships, and your leadership goals. Your mentor can help you evaluate your leadership and communication style, your engagement with your peers, and how you can continue to improve your skills. You can ask questions such as:
· How am I perceived by our organization, peers, and clients?
· Where do you see my strengths? In what areas can I improve?
· Does my communication style support the messages I intend to deliver?
· How can I communicate more clearly and efficiently?
· How can I better articulate my goals and strategies?
Build Upon Your Skills
If there’s a skill you’re working on strengthening, such as project management, strategic planning, or public speaking, ask your mentor for advice and resources to help you further develop that skill.
· Do you have any advice for re-energizing a tired or uninspired team?
· Do you have any recommendations on how to handle difficult conversations or how to better engage and communicate with my team?
· What practices can you recommend for facilitating team-building initiatives, project management, and long-term visioning and strategic planning?
· What other skills would you suggest I work on as I move forward?
These topics and sample questions can help you and your mentor have a more engaging and productive session. Brainstorming and developing new topics and questions for each session will help revive and maintain your mentorship, which will be ultimately beneficial for both you and your mentor.