As a fledgling professional in the professional services sector, there’s a lot that you don’t know. Luckily, you are surrounded by experienced professionals who are invested in supporting you in your career growth. Perhaps you are hoping to establish mentoring relationships with one or more higher-up in your firm, but you don’t know how to get started? Read on for some helpful advice.

The best method for developing a strong, individual relationship with your manager, boss, or another experienced colleague is to ask questions that are professional but also demonstrate personal interest. The goal is to convey your sincere interest—and adding in a touch of flattery never hurts. Consider trying out the following:

  1. What is something you wish you already knew or were taught on your first day at the firm?
  2. If you could start over, what would you do differently?
  3. What is your favorite part of your work?
  4. Who is a professional that you look up to and/or seek to emulate in your career? Why?
  5. What are you hoping to achieve this year? 
  6. What are your big-picture career goals?
  7. What would you most like to be remembered for, at the end of your career?
  8. Can you offer me some advice on how to serve clients well and leave them pleased?
  9. What’s your favorite personal success story? Are you willing to share something off your “failure resume” and what you learned from it?
  10. What have you found to be the most successful strategies for networking, marketing, and business development?

Lastly, in order to establish a reciprocal relationship, be sure to make yourself available. Strive to position yourself as someone to whom they can turn to when they have needs that you can meet. Consider asking the following questions:

  • What questions, if any, do you have for someone of my generation?
  • Beyond performing billable work, in what ways can I be most helpful to you?
  • How can I support you in achieving your yearly or career goals?

Strong relationships are often the key to career success in the professional services sector. Asking questions such as the ones suggested above in a respectful and honest way is a great method for establishing valuable relationships within your organization.