West Yorkshire Mentor Guide

The Art of Questioning

Questioning, when used effectively, is a very useful and powerful tool. It allows the Mentee – Mentor relationship to develop, assisting the Mentor in understand the Mentee’s situation or dilemma, assisting the Mentee in exploring and understanding their experiences with the hope of formulating avenues and actions for the future. There are many reasons to ask questions, they may be:

• To satisfy curiosity • To obtain or clarify information • To assist in exploring an issue • To look at possible alternatives • To check understanding

• To challenge contradictions, views etc. • To move the discussion forward • To direct the discussion

With the effect questions have and their power, it is important to select those which are of greatest use. Questions can essentially be broken down into two types, closed or open questions. 1. Open Questions: These are questions which require more than just a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response and usually begin with ‘How?’ ‘Where?’ ‘What?’ ‘Who?’. Questions beginning with these can be used to: • Gain information – ‘What happened as a result of…?’ • Explore personal issues – ‘What is your view on…?’ ‘What are you expecting to achieve?’ ‘How are you feeling having…?’ • Consider and explore avenues – ‘What are the possible options for...?’ ‘What may help when...?’ ‘How would you deal with...?’

2. Direct Questions: These are questions that require a specific response. They are fit finding question that don’t have a yes or no answer but the repose


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