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Helpful Questioning

Questions can be very useful in encouraging your mentee to think more deeply. It can also be very useful to think of questions as linked to the planning process. (See Planning with Your Mentee).

This has been adapted from a resource used on the LSIS High Quality Managers' Programme.


This is where you are eliciting the main focus of the work


What would you like to work on?

What is the most important thing for you?

What is your main aim or priority?

What is your starting point?



It is useful to get your mentee to consider a wide range of strategies in order to achieve their goal.


What options are available to you?

What strategies might you try?

What else could you do?

Which would be the best way to tackle this?

What might help you or get in the way?

How realistic might that be?

What will you need in order to achieve that?

What resources will you need?

What about timescales for that?

Do you know of anyone who has done this before? How might they have tackled it? Were they successful?

If you could do this, how would you go about it?


Your mentee may want you to advise them what to do. In this instance it is best to offer a suggestion of what has worked for you whilst reminding them that their context is unique.


In my organisation, we did.....I wonder how that might work in your context?



It is useful to get your mentee to focus on what they will get out of any proposed action, both personally and for their organisation. Any personal gains will help them to buy in to the work so it is worth getting them to really think about this.


What will be the benefits of doing this? For you? For your organisation?

Is there anything that you particularly will get out of this?

In what ways will you be better off if you do this?

What will be different as a result?


The outcomes may be hard


I’ll have the new guidelines written by next Wednesday


Or soft


I’ll feel much more confident about......


Outcome Measures

It is a good idea to get your mentee to focus on how they will measure what they have achieved


How will you know if this has worked?

How will you measure your success?

How will you know if you have made the difference that you want?



Agree a review date before you finish the session


How did things go?

Were there any unexpected outcomes?

Were these positive or negative?

How could you avoid these in the future?

How could you make things work better next time?

What have you learned as a result?

What have you learned that you could transfer over?