Questions to ask Your Career Coach … or mentor

CoachingIn every field of endeavor, you will need some help and guidance to help you along a successful path. Navigating this career terrain efficiently and effectively is critical for career growth. An effective and dedicated career coach or mentor is essential to achieving the growth you desire.

Amy Adkins authored an article entitled, Majority of U.S. Employees Not Engaged Despite Gains in 2014. She concluded that nearly 70 percent of the workforce does not feel engaged at work. One possible solution is to have someone to help you define goals, solve problems, critically evaluate situations is necessary to take control of your career path. However, when selecting or agreeing to be mentored and determining if they are right for you, you need to ask some questions.

The Forbes Coaches Council developed eight questions you should ask your potential mentor or career coach. Four (4) of these questions resonated with me, but you can read the original article here.

Here is my take:

  1. What Would Have Helped You?

Pat Rigsby suggested that you ask a potential mentors: “What would you have wanted to learn from a mentor that you feel would have accelerated your success?” This question not only provides insight into things they felt were critical to their own achievements, but it also helps to better understand where they feel the value in mentorship likely lies.

  1. Why You?

Cha Tekeli feels that you should feel a connection with their career coach or mentor. Although difficult to articulate, you must feel a sense of security, trust and believe the potential mentor will offer you value. Cha always ask the question, is this particular mentor the right one and should be successfully answered by both parties.

  1. What Do Your Core Values Mean to You?

Lea Woodward says that it is helpful if you share common values with your career coach or mentor and it helps to understand where their values match or differ from yours. This similarity or difference is important in their interpretation of events. Your career coach or mentor will have experienced their adventures through their unique lens. When they share these with you, knowing their values enables you to understand the perspective and angle the use to approach various issues and situations.

  1. Is This Already Learned, or Still Being Learned?

Dave Ursillo says that mentors are on the edge of their own learning, which makes them excellent leaders. But it can mean that some advice they offer reflects their own learning curves, but not yours. One question always asks: “Is this advice or perspective something you’ve already learned or is it still being learned?” The answer to this question is helpful in understanding if the advice is actually for me, or themselves.

Related Articles:   Coaching … how did I do?   and   When an Associate Struggles … COACH!

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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