The Questions You Should Be Asking Your Mentor
You have put in the time to find a mentor, now it is important to grow your relationship and make the most of you and your mentor’s limited time. Fostering a positive experience with your business mentor can really make a difference in your medical entrepreneurship journey. Part of creating this quality relationship is knowing what questions to ask your mentor.
What makes a good mentor-mentee relationship?
While you are building a relationship, we want to help you become a better protégé of your business mentor. Take advantage of the powerful opportunity you have before you to meet with them and gain insight into healthcare entrepreneurship.
Here are eight characteristics of a good mentoring relationship.
- Respect of time: This is the most important thing you can do for your business mentor. They are typically fitting you into their very busy schedule. Make sure you arrive on time to meetings and be careful of straying off-topic, causing the meeting to go a lot longer than expected.
- Shared interests: Your mentor should be someone who has a passion for healthcare entrepreneurship and potentially other common interests as well. You need someone who is in the field, not just someone you have great admiration for. Being able to have someone who has experience in a field you want to excel in will help lead to the most growth.
- Connections: Having a business mentor who can help you grow your network is huge. You never know how valuable a business connection may prove as you grow in your professional and entrepreneurship goals.
- Be an active mentee: As the saying goes, “what you put into something is what you will get out of it.” It is important for you to take the time to express what you want to get out of the mentorship. And inquire about what your business mentor thinks will help you progress. There is no time for slacking. This also means you need to be an active listener, not just let the conversation go in one ear and out the other.
- Curiosity: People who are curious tend to find a way to make things happen. If they do not know the answer to the question, they will go figure out what they need. This curiosity will help a mentor and mentee stay engaged and focused on growth.
- Shadowing: Being able to watch your mentor in action can help you learn a lot and open your eyes to new ideas. In addition, if your business mentor is able to observe you in action, they may be able to see something that you would not have thought about.
- Openness: It is important for your business mentor to understand what you are hoping to get out of your mentor-mentee relationship. Once they are on the same page and are willing to help you reach your goals, you will find it easier for your relationship to grow.
- Constructive criticism: Being able to give and receive constructive criticism is necessary for any mentor-mentee relationship. It is important to not become defensive and remember that you do not know everything. Your business mentor should have your best interests at heart.
Additionally, as you grow your mentoring relationship, you can also follow these five tips to build the relationship and these seven tips for working with a business mentor.
10 basic questions you can ask your mentor to help build your relationship
As you meet with your business mentor, you can use the following list as a basis of how to start your mentor-mentee relationship.
- What do you wish you knew at my stage?
- What does a typical day look like for you?
- How do you create your goals?
- What do you pride yourself in?
- What were your biggest failures?
- How would you recommend I get started?
- Do you have any constructive feedback for me?
- What’s one thing you still struggle with professionally?
- When can we meet again?
- Who else should I get connected with?
These questions provide a great opportunity for your mentor to share advice and input from what they have gained from experience. Listening to their mistakes and understanding their goals will teach you more about reaching your own goals.
Some of the questions were compiled from the following articles: 12 Questions You Should Ask Your Mentor ASAP and 12 of the Most Powerful Questions You Can Ask a Mentor. By clicking on the links you can find further information to meaning behind each question.
More powerful questions to ask your business mentor about healthcare entrepreneurship
While the above list can answer your question of how to start a mentor relationship, you will need to also dig deeper into what you are trying to learn from your mentor.
For example, if you want to know how to find quality medical staff for your practice, you will want to make sure you have researched about quality medical staff and write down a list of questions related specifically to that topic.
You can also ask these more general questions you can ask about healthcare entrepreneurship that can build the mentor-mentee relationship:
- What do you wish you knew when you were starting your business?
- What was the hardest thing you needed to learn about medical entrepreneurship?
- Can I shadow you three to four days a month to help understand what it is like to be a healthcare entrepreneur?
- What has been the most challenging aspect of starting your business?
- What would you say are the three most important steps to take when starting my own healthcare business?
Tips on how to prepare for your meeting with your mentor.
Being prepared is one of the best ways to get the most out of your mentor-mentee relationship. Follow these tips to help make sure you are fully prepared to meet with your business mentor.
- Know your purpose: On your way to each meeting, take some time to think about what you would specifically like to get out of it. Arrive early and write a list so it’s there for you to peek at if you start to stray off-topic. For example, if you go in wanting to know about marketing your new family practice, make sure you walk away with some takeaways about this topic.
- Send a calendar invite: With busy schedules, it is easy to lose track of meetings. Take the time to set up a calendar invite so you and your business mentor are both on the same page. This is also a thoughtful gesture and one less thing they have to worry about doing.
- Be prepared to take notes: This might sound like a no-brainer, but it is something that is actually missed a lot. You want to make sure that you are taking notes either digitally or handwritten on paper, of the important insights from your mentorship meeting. If your mentor allows you to record your meetings, do not be afraid to record the conversation on your phone.
- Set ground rules for yourself: You want to make sure that as a mentee, you are doing all you can to facilitate a productive meeting. You can practice the following productive meeting habits:
- Turn off your cell phone.
- Show up ten minutes early.
- Use a stress ball (these can be great for people who fidget a lot or get nervous.)
- Do not allow yourself to go off on too many tangents during the meeting.
In addition, if you are a physician looking to start your own business, check our my book, Entrepreneur Rx. In Entrepreneur Rx, I share time tested insights and knowledge for building a thriving startup while maintaining your practice. From identifying winning business ideas to raising necessary capital, I offer a comprehensive insider’s view into strategies that have helped me develop and nurture a number of successful businesses.