Important Questions for Mentees & Mentors after 90 Days

Important questions for mentors and menteesThe first three months of a new mentoring relationship are critical. Ideally, the mentoring program manager (MPM) should check in with all participants to see how everything is working out.

Here are questions the MPM should ask mentees and mentors after 90 days. Consider this a starting point: you can revise and/or add other questions as you see fit.

Questions for mentees:

  1. How has the relationship changed from when you first met to now? Forward motion is the goal of any mentoring relationship. As long as the mentee feels she/he is making progress, all's good. However, if the mentee indicates things are stalled, probe further. Note: slow progress is still progress. Stalling, however, could indicate a larger issue.
  1. What is the primary role of your mentor at this point? The mentee should always be doing the heavy lifting while the mentor serves as a guide, a cheerleader, and a trusted expert. That said, the mentee shouldn't feel like she or he is facing things alone. The mentor does need to have a presence in the relationship.
  1. What has surprised you thus far about this experience? After three months (provided the relationship is on the right track), the mentee should have gained some insights into mentoring in general. Listen for phrases that indicate growth and transformation are happening. Again, if the mentee indicates the relationship has sputtered, it's time to discuss this larger issue with the mentee and mentor together.
  1. What has been the most difficult aspect of being in a mentoring relationship thus far? No relationship, no matter how positive, is always sunshine and rainbows. Challenges are normal.
    Be aware that the mentee might not feel comfortable sharing negatives, however (out of fear of being seen as "difficult" or incompetent). Remind the mentee that it's OK to vent and that you're providing a safe place to do so without repercussions.
  1. What would you do differently based upon what you know today? One of the main goals of any mentoring relationship is to gain a deeper understanding of oneself. After 90 days, the mentee should be able to reflect and acknowledge things he or she might have done differently. Again, the mentee might need some encouragement to open up—make sure you provide that encouragement.
  1. How have you received support from your manager in your participation in this program? Has that been sufficient for you? What else would you like to see from your manager? In order for the mentoring relationship to succeed, the mentee and mentor need support from upper management. For example, the mentee's manager shouldn't complain when the mentee takes time to meet with his or her mentor. If the mentee does indicate this is an issue, it's your job as the MPM to address this with the mentee's manager.
  1. Do you feel you are getting what you should at this point from the relationship? (And do you think your mentor would agree with you?) Consider the 90-day check-in as a way to assess and recalibrate, as needed, and remind the mentee to think of it the same way.
  1. Is there anything you need from me that can assist you in your mentoring relationship? Don't rush through this question. Express that you want to become a better MPM for the whole program. Be open to hearing feedback and be ready to act upon that feedback.

 

Also read: Topics to Include in Your Mentor Training

 

Questions for Mentors:

For the mentors, you'll ask some of the same questions (and for the same reasons) as we discussed above. I'm bulleting these questions:

  1. What has surprised you thus far about this experience?
  2. What has been the biggest challenge in your relationship?
  3. What would you do differently based upon what you know today?
  4. Is there anything you need from me at this point to assist you in your mentoring efforts?

But you should also ask these two mentor-only questions as well:

  1. What have you gained so far in this relationship? Have you shared this with your mentee? Mentors are often surprised at how much they get out of the relationship, even within the first three months. It's important for mentors to share what they've gained, not only with their MPMs, but also with their mentees, since this can be an opportunity for discussion and further enlightenment.
  1. What do you anticipate will happen in your relationship during the next three months? The mentee is driving this relationship, but the mentor is still the one who should be overseeing/supervising the journey. A good way to make sure the mentor is doing what he/she signed up for is by asking this question. If the mentor hedges or fumbles through an answer, remind the mentor about the critical role he/she is playing in the relationship.

What other questions are important to ask mentors and mentees during the 90-day check-in? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Topics: Mentoring FAQs, Mentor and Mentee