You finally find the courage to ask a mentor for a cup of coffee. You’re beyond nervous. Your hands are clammy AF. As she strolls through the cafe door holding the latest iphone in one hand and years of experience in the other, you wondering if your question will make an impact.
Here are 3 questions you can ask her to take the pressure off you and make the most of your meeting:
- How do you spend most of your time? This question allows you to dig. Does your mentor have children, a favorite food, a weird hobby? Often times when we ask for advice, we never take the time to build an authentic connection. We are only looking for answers that benefit us. But by gathering the answers to the deeper, more intimate questions, you'll be able to follow up with relevant articles, podcast relating to passion projects, or recipes for your mentor, who will appreciate hearing from you. Remember: givers gain.
- What would you do if you were me? You reached out to this person because you feel their experience and wisdom on a particular subject matter trumps yours. Flatter them by acknowledging this fact. Tell them about your specific challenges, and ask for their recommendations.
- What used to be your biggest weaknesses? This is a hell of a question and will tell you right away if someone will make a good mentor. To be successful (like your mentor presumably is), one must commit to regular practices that explore self-awareness. When you explore your thoughts and beliefs, you realize there are certain strengths and certain weaknesses within you. You then have the ability to tweak your methods, and align your habit with your goals. Does your mentor have a contemplative routine?