Mentoring is a powerful activity that can transform a budding leader or entrepreneur into a successful one.
However, not everyone can have frequent interactions with their mentors.
It is helpful to be prepared for mentoring sessions by planning the questions you want to ask.
And if you ever come across a thought leader or some other figurehead you admire, then you need to make use of the time you get with them well.
Here are the questions I would ask when I get the chance to mentor someone who can offer me critical guidance. Use these questions as a reference for your own pressing queries, and you will make the best use of the opportunity you have to grow with the help of your mentor.
What goals do you have this year?
As a business owner or entrepreneur, coming up with goals each year can be one of the most important steps to building a successful business and maintaining growth. Asking a mentor or business coach about their yearly goals can provide invaluable insight into strategies for achieving your own objectives as well as inspire innovative ideas for taking your business to the next level.
Understanding what their specific goals are for the year ahead gives you an opportunity to understand the success essentials that have worked for them, which will help you to craft your own plan more efficiently.
Moreover, identifying any potential obstacles your mentor has encountered during their implementation process can help you address these matters promptly and give you a better chance of paving the way toward success.
What books are you reading?
Reading is an invaluable activity that can open our minds to new ideas and perspectives. The books we read will shape how we think and perceive things, providing guidance on making better decisions.
By asking a mentor what they are currently reading, you gain insight into their thought process and resources that could help your own efforts.
Furthermore, it shows that you are curious and eager to learn from the resources they have cultivated over time.
When you learn about what your mentor is reading, you'll also gain insights into important trends, business practices, and news you should be aware of. And this ensures that you're on top of the important information needed to keep your business growing.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Oftentimes, it is only in hindsight that we see how a decision could have led to disastrous consequences.
To prevent this from happening to you in the future, ask your more experienced friends and mentors about a time when they took a big risk in any area of life.
You'll get inspired or find warnings about things that may not seem like a big deal (such as working excessive hours and missing key family moments).
Ask this question to better understand how your mentor navigates difficult decisions and what kind of risks they may have taken (or avoided).
Additionally, this gives you an opportunity to learn from their mistakes when launching a business and pivot accordingly when faced with the same challenges.
Understanding their thought process can help you prioritize tasks effectively and make more informed decisions, especially in times of uncertainty.
Who do you look up to?
One of the most challenging aspects of being an entrepreneur is finding more people like you. And who you surround yourself with impacts your success and growth.
Asking a mentor who they look up to is an opportunity to gain insight into people you should consider looking up to in order to progress as well.
It’s also a great chance to learn more about their network of professionals, which can give you exposure to influential figures that may benefit your business.
By finding out who your mentor admires, you can gain a deeper understanding of their values and learn from the experiences of those they admire. This is invaluable for developing successful strategies for yourself as well as gaining a better grasp on what it takes to be successful in your field.
What are your deal-breakers in business?
It’s important to understand the priorities of your mentor as a businessperson. This can help you develop an understanding of which factors they consider when making decisions, which will in turn give you a better sense of how they evaluate different opportunities and potential partners or clients.
Asking them what their deal-breakers are is an excellent guiding point for your own business.
Knowing which red flags they look out for will help you to make better decisions and avoid costly mistakes based on their experience.
You’ll also gain a better sense of how they prioritize the different interests of their stakeholders when making business decisions, which can be invaluable in developing your own strategies that are both effective and ethical.
Can I write a guest post for your blog?
One of the most difficult marketing activities you'll have to do is getting your post live on someone else's website, especially when they have a high domain rating or authority online.
Good blogs and websites that provide good content seldom accept guest posts unless there’s a mutual benefit or if the content is exceptional. But as a mentor of yours, it's worth asking them if you can post your content on their site.
By writing for someone else’s blog, you gain exposure and credibility and learn from their audience. This could be a great opportunity to reach new people, increase your following, and grow sales.
Your mentor might invite you to connect with another person or write on their own blog. Either way, you get the opportunity to write a guest post and get a backlink to your website that boosts your authority.
Could you introduce me to…?
Networking is an invaluable skill for any entrepreneur. It’s a great way to make connections and build relationships with key people in your industry.
One of the best ways to do this is by asking your mentor if they could introduce you to people they know or even ask them if they know anyone who might be interested in what you have to offer.
This approach is much less aggressive than cold pitching, and you can even reach out to people who are already in your mentor’s network.
These introductions could help you get access to the right resources or gain valuable information that may be hard to obtain on your own. Plus, it could open doors to better business opportunities and increase your chances of success.
Asking your mentor to introduce you to the right people is a great way to get connected with influential figures in your field and gain valuable insight from them as well.
Ultimately, these questions allow you to gain valuable insight into the experience and successes of your mentor and use them as a reference point for yourself on your own journey. Use this opportunity to learn from those who have been in your shoes and make the most of your time with an experienced mentor.
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