Historically, mentoring was a scarce resource that hardly attracted individuals towards it. However, with the change in times, this has changed drastically. Now, nearly 71% of Fortune 500 companies believe in incorporating mentoring programs in their corporate structures. Now, companies recognize that mentoring provides numerous benefits for budding professionals. A 2015 report from Harvard Business Review mentioned that 84% of mentees believed that their mentors played a valuable role in avoiding financial burden.

However, even though several successful mentoring programs are available, there still exists confusion with regards to working with a mentor. Additionally, only 37% of professionals have sought mentorship as per Guider-AI reports. Most entrepreneurs beginning their business journey, learn slowly. They know how to do the right thing only after repeated mistakes.

So, if you have been lucky enough to find coaching and mentoring in your field, you can stay rest assured of useful guidance and career advancements. However, keep in mind that a business mentorship should be a mutually beneficial relationship for both mentor and mentee.

We have curated a list of possible questions that you must ask your mentor to ensure that both the parties involved can gain immense benefits from this experience.

What's your story?

Experience plays an important role when a mentor is passing on wisdom to their mentee. Mentors usually have extensive experience in their particular field. Their journey has witnessed several milestones and low points like any fresher's job story. These stories have their own protagonists, storylines, and learnings that act as a reference point for individuals.

Gaining insights into a mentor's professional story can help mentees prepare themselves for potential problems. They may also find several parallels as they embark on their own journey. Knowing your mentor's backstory will equip you to ask specific and essential questions to help your career.

2. What mistakes did you make in your journey?

Everyone makes mistakes on their journey, and a mentor can guide mentees to acknowledge their mistakes, learn from them, and grow in their own journey. What's more, a mentor willing to own up to their past mistakes and sharing how they dealt with the issue can be a valuable resource.

3. What can I do better?

More often than not, individuals seek guidance and issue-specific advice from their mentors. Their mentors are their backbones when it comes to receiving experienced counseling. However, there is much more to a mentorship experience. Experience has its enriching for both parties should ideally be the best. This mutual relationship helps both individuals to learn from each other’s experiences. Mentors can guide you and provide you with the edge to make your way forward, now and in the future.

Additionally, it is imperative to ask crucial questions that help find solutions to situations where one is stuck. These questions act as a benchmark for both to make efforts and improve further. Moreover, such a relationship can help the mentor and mentee to draw on each other's strengths and grow in the dynamic world.

4. How should one follow up in the process?

Your mentor would always like to know if they are making a significant difference through their mentoring. They would always be interested in learning how their guidance and learning helped you in your journey. At the end of the day, the goal of this experience is to ensure both parties develop their skills. In some scenarios, one might not agree with their mentor’s advice. However, this can always be discussed, and you can ask for a follow-up. This might bring new discussion points that can keep the conversation healthy and motivated for both. They will also know that their time was well-spent and that you are processing their guidance for fruitful outcomes.

5. How do I do that?
No mentor expects reverence from their mentees. Their goal is to offer guidance to their mentees, and we must acknowledge their time and efforts that they invest. Looking for an adventurous life, mentors thrive when challenged and often appreciate being asked for help on things you don't know.

A confident and professional mentor will respect you for seeking guidance and would be happy to help. However, it is crucial to remember that your mentor is not a fortune teller. They are people guiding you based on knowledge from their past experiences. Furthermore, opening up about your inhibitions or lack of knowledge on a particular topic can surely build a healthy relationship.

While many professionals feel like they can excel by themselves relying on their instincts, guts, or academic knowledge, there is no replacement for experience. All successful tech titans have all had mentors such as Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs. These individuals understood the importance of gathering knowledge and expertise from experienced business mentors. Hence, they were able to drive their business and make better decisions.

It's understandable if you feel that you are at the weaker end of the relationship. But it is always important to ask questions that aid in your growth and development. It will also give your mentor a sense of fulfillment that can keep them invested in your journey. So, don't be afraid or hesitate to keep asking. Sometimes, it makes the difference between success and failure.

Author's Bio: 

Jupiter Business Mentors (JBM) is a platform dedicated to fostering the start-up community and small & medium business enterprises with an access to experienced executives and industry experts from various areas of business, in the UAE and across the Middle East region, with plans in pipeline to have global mentors listed on the platform. You can reach us on jupiterbusinessmentors.com