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//GUEST POST// The Encouraging Mentor - #2: Who are you? The Launch Conversation


This blog series offers questions from my teaching and practice at The Ohio State University where I coach and mentor numerous faculty, staff, students, and organizational units to help them move toward mission and accomplish goals.

If you are reading this blog (and discussing the question prompts with a mentor), your responses will reflect talking with another person. But if you are using this resource on your own for personal and professional development, you can still ask yourself these questions. In tackling your thinking on these prompts, you are engaging in self-reflection and metacognition—thinking about how you think. These are invaluable exercises. Let’s begin.

Background:  These questions are designed to help you think about who you are… and how you might describe that to someone (including a potential employer).

Question 1

If you were meeting someone for the first time, what would you want them to know about you?

Once you have thought about the basics, take the time to follow trails of your interests. Be curious. Let me repeat that one: On your own or with a mentor, be curious. Ask yourself why you wrote some of the items above. Then proceed to the next question.

Question 2

What are your goals for this time invested in personal and professional growth?

On the surface, the question above sounds heavy-duty, but don’t let it weigh down your thinking too much. The idea for today is to just get started. Goals will shift and change over time. That’s okay, and it is a natural occurrence. So no worries there. For today, simply name one or two ideas that come to mind about what you want to achieve during this journey.

If you need a prompt, some examples might include gaining insight and wisdom on your career, or reflecting and finding new approaches for life issues.

Prompting Questions

If you stall on the questions above, here are a couple of additional prompts that may help. Regardless, jot down a few ideas below.

What are one or two favorite memories from your childhood?

The question above is reflective. By using the qualifier “favorite,” it aims to start an appreciative inquiry in your brain. Imagine how you might let favorite memories help direct a positive path forward. That idea might be furthered by considering the next question.

What do you hope the future holds for you?

The question above is broad by design at this early stage. After jotting a few ideas, consider what else you’d share if a mentor said, “Tell me more.”

Summary: Remember these introductory prompts are to jump-start your thinking about the foundations of your life so far. From here, you will begin diving into questions that will challenge you to go deeper, considering possibility and potential. Investing time to reflect starts you on a path that will help you clarify your purpose, advance your career, and identify potential to create the future you want. More information is available at:

Dr. Brian Raison

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