Strategic Questioning Model

This technique is very helpful to getting the mentee to 'open up' and is particularly useful in helping them to focus on what they want to achieve.It can also be used for mentees as a self-reflection tool to assist them to focus more strategically on their career development, their role, or to clarify some objectives for themselves in relation to the mentoring relationship.

Some strategic questions you can ask your mentee or get them to reflect on include:
  • What are some of your work achievements of which you're particularly proud?
  • If you were to leave/ move on from your current role/position what would you want to be remembered for in terms of what you've achieved in the role?
  • How would others (colleagues, your staff, customers etc) describe your working style?
  • What are your 3 key challenges in your current role?
  • If there were no barriers what would you see yourself doing in 3-5 years time?
  • What changes would you like to make/contribute to in your current workplace?

Understanding when to use both open and closed questions is also useful.

Open Questions
(Generally start with why, how, where when, what)
Closed Questions
(Answers to these end in Yes or No)
Open questions are most effective to open up a conversation and to expand the mentee's thinking about issues. It can also be used to probe more deeply about issues, particularly in regard to how the mentee views their situation.

Closed questions are used to either slow down the conversation, or also to get the mentee to focus on one or two issues. It also can be used to highlight the importance of a specific issue, by drawing more attention to it.

  • Why did you try that approach?
  • What impact do you think that decision will have?
  • How would you describe your impact on those you work with?
  • Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years time?
  • In retrospect was the decision an effective one?
  • Did you consider any other options or opinions?
  • Did you enjoy that role?
  • Have you thought of any other solutions?