Module 8: Expectations of the Relationship

Expectations of the Relationship

- Module 8 -


  • Learn communication tools to use with your graduate

Watch the YouTube video below, entitled “Relationship Building: Overcoming Common Challenges,” and then complete the readings and quiz.

Twenty Open-ended Questions to Get the Conversation Going

What’s the big deal with open ended questions? Asking questions in a non-judgmental way fosters trust. You earn this trust by keeping confidences when these open-ended questions get personal.

Asking open ended questions can help someone focus on exploring options and weighing alternatives. This will help you in choosing the right way to guide your conversation.

Open ended questions are those that ask for an answer other than yes or no. For example, if you ask your mentee, “Did you enjoy the movie?” You may get yes, no, or uh-huh. Instead try “How did you like the movie? What did you like best? Who was your favorite character?”

Begin open ended questions with how, who, or what. It encourages elaboration. Avoid questions that begin with why, it could make the mentee feel defensive. If you must begin with “why,” choose your words carefully.

It’s more important to ask the right question than getting the right answer. The following questions engage the mentee by inviting open-ended responses rather than yes or no. These questions are conversation starters. Relax and see where the conversation goes.

Open-ended Questions

  1. What has developed since our last conversation?
  2. What is on your mind today?
  3. How would you like to focus our conversation today?
  4. Have you ever faced a situation like this before? What did you do?
  5. If you could change something about this situation, what would it be?
  6. How do you think I can help you with this?
  7. What would be most helpful from me today?
  8. What can you influence/control about this situation? Which aspects are beyond your control?
  9. Who are your friends/supporters?
  10. How might you be getting in your own way here?
  11. What else do I need to know about the situation or about you in order to be most helpful?
  12. What worries you most about this?
  13. What gives you some confidence about this?
  14. What is at stake for you in this situation? What risks do you feel?
  15. If you handled it perfectly, what would it look like?
  16. What’s the best that could happen here? What’s the worst thing that could happen?
  17. What do you need to ask for in order to be set up for success? Who can you ask?
  18. What would you like to do about this situation? What are you actually willing to do?
  19. As you leave our conversation, what will you take with you? Are there any actions that you’d like to commit to?
  20. What was most helpful for you about our conversation today?