What can you control?
This question shifts the focus from focusing on that which is beyond the protégé’s control and onto what someone can actually do about the situation the find themselves stuck in. One might not be able to change an unfair policy immediately, but they may be able to find short-term answers to help themselves deal with it while they work on longer-term solutions.
What obstacles are facing you?
Protégés may be not want to share the challenges they find troubling, or may not have really thought them through. Asking about them directly allows the mentor to explore the challenges with which the protégé is struggling, and discuss the individual’s strengths and weaknesses in addressing them.
In three to five years how do you want to change?
Since the business world changes at such a fast pace today, focusing on a shorter window still allows enough time for creative, aspirational thinking without the distraction of how different the workplace might be at that time. The answers may reveal how the protégé wants to grow, or fundamental changes they need to make to achieve their goals.
What is the outcome you want?
If the protégé is facing a complicated situation, that is often the best question you can ask to help them lift their head up and start to look at the situation from an entirely new angle.
What does success look like to you?
Asking what success looks like can refer to long-term goals and planning. However, when applied to a specific situation, it can help determine what the immediate priorities are for a project or situation.