True mentoring is the ability to ask the right questions, rather than have all the answers.

Nearly 10 years ago, an industry leader asked me a question neither he nor I could answer at the time. Over the years the question sat there, stewing and brewing, popping up every now and again to be mulled over like an unsolved riddle … just waiting for resolution. In the process of trying to find an answer to the question, I was drawn into new bits of knowledge and experience.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to face the problem from a practical stance and (with much brainstorming, debating and testing of various assumptions and theories) I was part of a team who resolved both the practical problem and the 10 year old question.

The value of the industry leader’s question was less so in the solution, but rather in the numerous paths of enquiry the original question evoked. So many times I was able to connect and respond to new dilemmas chiefly because of the original quest.