Benefits of Touch Base Interview (TBI) Coaching Sessions — Our New Mentoring Offering, Now Available!

Benefits of Touch Base Interview (TBI) Coaching Sessions — Our New Mentoring Offering, Now Available!

The Center for Mentoring Excellence has conducted more than 200 interviews with mentors and mentees in formal mentoring programs around the globe using a process we created called Touch Base Interview (TBI) Coaching Sessions™. These coaching sessions offer mentors and mentees confidential, just-in-time coaching and support at critical milestones in the mentoring cycle. This works to ensure mentoring success by helping mentoring partners stay on track, grow and develop. (more…)

10 Reasons to Add Starting Strong to Your Mentoring Training

10 Reasons to Add Starting Strong to Your Mentoring Training


When we wrote Starting Strong, our primary goal was to help people understand what really good mentoring conversation looked like in practice. Second, we wanted to address some very basic (and commonly asked) questions: How do the individuals who are engaged in mentoring experience the relationship? What do they think about?  What do they talk about? What conversations should they engage in to build their relationship and facilitate the learning process?

Starting Strong is a combination of two books in one –  a mentoring fable  and a conversation playbook. The fable presents an in-depth look at the dynamics and conversations inherent in a mentoring relationship when it is first starting out. The characters in the fable represent a composite of real life mentoring issues, struggles, and challenges.  The conversation play book contains a set of tools to guide the reader’s mentoring conversations.

We had hoped that Starting Strong would provide a reference, a resource, and case study scenario. However, it wasn’t until recently that we discovered just how powerful it was as a training tool for raising the level of trust, deepening the relationship and keeping mentoring pairs on track.

Our Observations

Starting Strong enabled mentoring partners to build trust quickly because it created a shared language and understanding right from the start.

Starting Strong provided a roadmap for keeping relationships on track. As a result, new mentoring partners were more confident because they knew what to expect and they had the tools and strategies they needed to guide them.

Starting Strong gave experienced mentors new insights that allowed them to recognize what was missing in past mentoring relationships and better understand why they went off course.

Starting Strong provided a context for the training so that participants had a mental picture of what good mentoring looked like.

Starting Strong increased mentee understanding about the purpose of mentoring and their role in driving their own development.

Starting Strong gave mentees a better understanding about the role of their mentor in helping help them tackle their issues – without solving the problem for them.

How Reading Starting Strong Can Help

Each participant was sent a copy Starting Strong prior to the initial mentoring training and asked to think about specific questions prior to the initial training.

  • What resonated for you? What surprised you? What is something new you learned?
  • Mentors: What skills and competencies do you admire the most in the mentor, Cynthia?
  • Mentees: In what ways do you relate to the mentee, Rafa?  What did you learn from his experience?

We found that reading Starting Strong made a significant difference in the quality and depth of the mentoring conversations that took place during and after the mentoring training.

Our observations were validated by the participant comments five weeks following the training:

  1. Starting Strong was valuable in helping me know what I could expect.
  2. Starting Strong challenges traditional views.
  3. It gave me comfort to know there was a clear roadmap I could follow.
  4. Starting Strong was an eye opener about what good mentoring really looked like.
  5. It prepared us to start on the right foot and understand what we were getting into.
  6. It guided us step by step through the conversations we needed to have.
  7. It jump started our conversation.
  8. Starting Strong focused us on addressing some things we might not have addressed.
  9. The book opened the door to the different conversations we need to have.
  10. Starting Strong offered an example of a mentor and mentee and seeing their perspective.

Action Step:

Ask participants to read Starting Strong prior to your next training event. It will kick start mentoring training and get mentoring pairs started on the right foot.

Mentoring Lift Off Through Mentoring Training


Here’s another question we often get about mentoring. Again, we hope it helps you in your own mentoring adventures.

Note: These questions are compiled from several questions we receive, and do not necessarily reflect any one person’s submission.

Q: I’ve been tasked by my HR VP to start a mentoring program to prepare our managers for new roles with greater responsibilities. Our VPs and senior leaders are the mentors and I’m supposed to put together a training session for them. I have never developed a training program before and I have never trained senior leaders. I’m shaking in my boots. Help!

A: Help is on the way! Your leadership has identified an important business imperative behind mentoring efforts, which is a great first step. Mentoring is not just a “feel-good” activity. It should address the strategic business goals of the organization. You need to ensure that your efforts and investments pay off. It can be overwhelming to create a dynamic mentor training program that is engaging, participative and informative.

An organization that identifies mentoring as a strategic tool must develop its in-house capacity for mentoring training. To be a truly effective mentor trainer, you have to develop some expertise in mentoring. We have a solution for you. Our Mentoring Facilitator Trainer Certification Program will prepare you to deliver Mentoring: Strategies for Success in your organization. The content of that program will ensure your mentor leaders:

  • Understand the purpose and key concepts of mentoring and how it differs from coaching
  • Identify their learning style and the role of learning in facilitating mentee growth and development
  • Recognize the four predictable phases in the mentoring cycle and the key components of each phase
  • Structure the initial mentoring conversation to get started on the right foot
  • Explore how to set learning goals, set priorities and identify milestones
  • Recognize and overcome common stumbling blocks in a mentoring relationship
  • Support, challenge and provide effective feedback to mentees
  • Bring the relationship to successful closure

Our training certification process will allow you to master the content and gain experience delivering the material to your audience. You will walk away after three days with all the tools, competencies and confidence you need to be successful.

And you’re in luck. Our next training event is coming up, Monday, September 29 – Wednesday, October 1. Registration is open now, but it fills up fast, so register today!

For more on why mentoring training is a must, see:

Mentoring Training: Keep Your Mentoring On Track


People often ask us questions about mentoring or seek mentoring advice. We decided to answer a few of these questions on the blog this month. Hopefully their questions (and our answers) will shed some light on your own mentoring questions.

Note: These questions are compiled from several questions we receive, and do not necessarily reflect any one person’s submission.

Q: Six months ago, our mentoring program was announced. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was buzzing about it and our people were eager to get started. At first, there was a flurry of activity and everyone was meeting with their mentee and really pretty excited. But all that energy was short-lived. About six weeks in, our mentors started telling us they had run out of things to talk about. As it turns out, most of them were just having coffee and catching up. It seems like we’ve missed the boat somehow. What would you suggest?

A: What you are describing is the Three Cups of Coffee Syndrome. The mentor/mentee relationship has been established, but it lacks direction, focus or goals to move mentoring forward. This is what often happens when organizations launch a mentoring program without providing sufficient and consistent training for their mentors.

Good mentoring requires specific skill sets. Even leaders who engage in informal mentoring throughout their entire careers struggle with creating successful mentoring partnerships.

Mentoring training builds more confident and competent mentors. It promotes mentor readiness, creates a standard of mentoring practice, provides guidelines for ensuring mentoring success and offers a safe climate of support. Mentor training offers a roadmap and a benchmark for mentors to measure their success as well as strategies to address stumbling blocks quickly.

Good mentoring training saves time. It keeps mentoring interesting, productive and on track from the get-go.

If you’re interested in mentoring training, register for our 3-day training certification program. The Mentoring: Strategies for Success program will teach you how to lead your own one-day training for your organization. Our next program is Monday, September 29 – Wednesday, October 1. Seats are limited, so register today!