Mentors and LifeGroup leaders don’t have all the answers, but we should have lots of good questions. Sure, we might offer godly insight and perspective, but we shouldn’t be the only ones sharing answers. We want people to come up with their own solutions.
Your first question as a mentor could be something like, “Why did you ask me to mentor you?” Another great starter question is, “What areas of your life would you like me to help you in?” Sometimes people just want marriage advice, or parenting advice, or financial advice. Still, leave room for the Holy Spirit to open their heart to you in all areas as you build trust.
Secondly, there will come a time when your mentee is facing a difficult decision. They will ask you, “What do you think I should do?” There is nothing wrong with giving your advice. Obviously, they asked you to mentor them for a reason. But, at the same time, you want to help them come up with their own solutions. A great question is, “If you were in my shoes, what advice would you give?”
Third, ask questions to help your mentee find an others-centric perspective. To feel empathy for someone is to let your feelings imagine what it’s like to be in their shoes. When your mentee shares something they’re troubled about, you might ask, “How do you think the other person is feeling about this?” It’s amazing how often this leads people to healthier and faster resolutions.
Finally, if your mentee is struggling with a bad habit or addiction, ask questions that will help them to see outcomes. If cigarettes are the issue, ask them, “If you continue smoking, how do you think your life might be impacted in 10 years, 20, 50?” Also try, “If you stopped smoking, what would be different?” Questions that lead toward thinking ahead are always a win.
When we ask good questions, we not only help people find their way, but we also help them learn how to find their way. May your questions encourage people to pray like David did in Psalm 139:23 NIV. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.