7 questions to ask your mentor

A mentor can provide you with insight you can use to make decisions about your career, develop career-advancing skills, and improve in areas you are falling short. But only if you make productive use of the time you get to spend with him or her.

When you do have one-on-one time with your mentor, ask questions like these for guidance you can use:

1. Did you ever have a difficult boss/coworker/client? How did you handle the situation?

2. What was your biggest work failure? What did you learn from it?

3. What is your most recent setback, and how did you recover?

Tough Talks D

4. If you were in my shoes, what would be the next thing you would do to advance your career?

5. How do you think others perceive me? What would you consider my personal brand?

6. What are some areas that you feel I need to improve if I want to make it in this position/industry/organization?

7. What are the must-have skills I need to make it in this position/industry/organization?

— Adapted from “25 Questions to Ask a Mentor,” Jo Miller, Ladders, www.theladders.com.