Services / Workshops

Starting Strong

Mentoring offers a huge return to your organization’s investment: retention, recruitment, productivity, job satisfaction, career development and leadership competency.

And yet, many mentoring relationships fail to realize their potential for a variety of reasons:

  • The concept of mentoring is not uniformly understood.
  • Mentoring partners hold different assumptions about what mentoring actually means.
  • Mentees and mentors are unprepared for their roles and responsibilities.
  • Mentoring partners assume they know each other.
  • Mentoring partners don’t take adequate time upfront to build trust.
  • Mentoring goals remain unclear and fuzzy.
  • Mentoring partners fail to build in mutual accountability for their relationship.
  • Only one partner is doing the heavy lifting.

The common thread here: when mentoring partners fail to spend time at the beginning of a mentoring relationship to work on building a strong partnership, they miss the mark. Because they don’t start strong, it’s likely they won’t stay strong.

The first 90 days are critical in setting the tone, direction, energy and momentum for unleashing the power of mentoring. Our Starting Strong: What You Need to Know and Do workshop provides the knowledge, tools and and strategies mentors and mentees need to be successful in the first 90 days of their relationships — and beyond.

Starting Strong: What You Need to Know and Do has been presented to organizations throughout the world. The content of the workshop is based on the book, Starting Strong: A Mentoring Fable by Lois Zachary and Lory Fischler (Jossey-Bass, 2014).

Program Structure

  • Setting the Stage: An interactive introductory session for mentors and mentees covering the key concepts and process of mentoring.
  • Preparing for the Role: Two parallel breakout sessions (one for mentors and one for mentees) to clarify expectations, allow participants to get comfortable in their roles, and prepare them to be effective mentoring partners.
  • Launching Relationships: A step-by-step session of structured conversations to facilitate relationship building between mentoring partners, focusing on building the relationship, establishing mentoring agreements and goal setting.
  • Preparing for Next Steps: Mentoring pairs follow a road map that leads to the co-creation of supportive and challenging learning opportunities, agreements about how to avoid and manage potential stumbling blocks, and a schedule and process for checking in on progress.


  • Mentors and mentees in a mentoring program who are beginning their mentoring relationship
  • Mentors and mentees already in a mentoring program who want to strengthen their relationship

For more information, please contact Lisa Z. Fain at the Center for Mentoring Excellence,,(630) 352-8694.

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