Over the past few months I have been helping as a mentor with one of my team mates at my current gig. I have never really been a mentor before, so this was new ground for me and so I need to do some investigation. During my research I came across the following set of questions, which are used to set out a lay of the land and to provide some direction. When we were chatting it occurred to me that this could also be quite useful in 1:1 sessions, especially one of the initial ones, so that you get a better understanding of where a team member wants to go in their career. This can help make you aware of any opportunities should they arise.
Questions & Answers
Below is a list of the questions that we used, and like I mentioned above, I do see these as being reusable for understanding where someone wants to go with their career.
- What is the end goal?
The purpose of this question is to identify where the team member wants to be. What is their vision? What is their goal in their career?
- Where are you now?
This is useful for you to understand where the team member thinks they are at this point in time. Sometimes perception doesn't match with reality and some people may think that they are better/worse than they are.
- What obstacles are in your way?
I really like this question because if there were no obstacles in your way then you would already be where you want to be. Sometimes this can be a small thing, like just been given a nudge in the right direction, but it is important to be honest at this point as it benefit both parties to understand how to help.
- What skills do you need in order to achieve the end goal?
While the end goal above is the final prize, you can't just aim for that. You need to break down that high-level, abstract goal into smaller, more tangible parts. You can keep on repeating the process until you find that they are a good size chunk to tackle on their own. In this way, you make it easier to track and have a smaller set of items to focus on at any point in time.
- What is some of the work in the past that would have been beneficial to you?
This last question gives you some insights into some of the work to be on the lookout for, should it crop up in the future.
Well, there we have it. I haven't tried this out yet as part of a 1:1 session, but I'll be incorporating this when I start my new upcoming gig and seeing how it works.
Until next time...keep learning!