Building Successful Partnerships

Mentoring within ASFPM discussed the roles for mentees/mentors and some general characteristics of successful partners. Since the program’s concept of mentoring focuses on the mentoring relationship, each partner’s role should complement that of their counterpart. The mentee and mentor are expected to make a joint commitment to a collaborative, interactive experience. This part of the Mentoring Handbook deals with various methods to help ensure a rewarding mentoring experience.

The mentoring website, orientation, handbook and workspace provide a foundation for successful partnerships, but practice shows that mentor skills and mentee development require time to mature. The program has identified a number of concepts that may result from an effective mentoring relationship:

  • Continuous training availability will support the process, tools and desired characteristics of mentees/mentors.
  • Participation in a mentoring partnership will yield professional and personal experience for the mentee/mentor.
  • Experience in the mentee/mentor roles will enable participants to reflect on their professional effectiveness and identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the partnerships will provide relevant feedback for future decisions.

Other Mentoring Resources & Activities

ASFPM’s Mentoring Program provides a web-based platform to help facilitate interactions between mentors and mentees. Additionally, Resources on the website navigation menu contains many resources that have been developed or curated to facilitate successful mentoring engagements and address state-specific needs. A few of them are highlighted below:

  • The Effective State Floodplain Management Programs document provides a blueprint for an effective state program designed to reduce losses and damage from floods and protect natural floodplain resources. All effective state floodplain management programs contain components that are consistent with its 10 guiding principles. It is a must-read for any state wishing to improve its program and can be used by mentors and mentees.
  • State Floodplain Manager One-on-One training Powerpoints are a set of 14 modules, meant to be deployed individually or in sequence as a full course. They are tailored to state floodplain managers and focus on some of the most relevant topics, including coordinating the NFIP, participation in CAP-SSSE, flood insurance, state-level disaster response and recovery duties, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program and developing/maintaining effective state floodplain management programs. These modules will be mostly utilized in group, situational and one-on-one mentoring.
  • The FEMA CAP-SSSE Program Gap Analysis Tool, user manual and methodology report were developed in 2009-2010 to help states identify resource gaps to perform core CAP-SSSE activities. The user manual and methodology report contain valuable information on the average level of effort required to perform many CAP activities such as CAVs, CACs, etc., based on a national survey of NFIP state coordinators.
  • The Floodplain Management State Program Survey series is the result of ASFPM tracking state floodplain management capability over the past three decades. The most recent survey and report are from 2017. Reports from 2010 and 2003 are also available.
  • Building Effective State Floodplain Management Programs, Strategic Planning Methodology and State Guidance is a self-contained workbook to help take state programs to the next level. It tackles questions such as: What do you want your program to look like in five years? How do you strategically plan for your program to grow?

Adults learn in a variety of ways. As mentors work through the mentoring process and begin to understand what mentees need/want to achieve from mentoring, they should think about the existing learning activities and opportunities available, then choose the best approach to achieve the desired outcome. Certain activities work better when delivered in specific mentoring formats.

  • Self Assessments: Often, doing homework such as various types of self-assessments can improve a mentoring experience. The resources tab on the mentoring website has several self-assessment tools and checklists that may be used by mentees independently or as part of a mentoring experience.
  • Hands-on Training: There are a variety of training resources available through ASFPM, including Floodplain Manager One-on-One in mentor-format to address the learning areas of the state floodplain manager/state NFIP coordinator/state flood mapping coordinators and their daily staff responsibilities.
  • Shadowing: Look for opportunities to include your mentee. They can observe your strong competencies in a specific knowledge area or ability.
  • Workshop: Group training or a panel discussion may be an appropriate way to transfer knowledge, share a best practice or introduce a new technology or skill.
  • Provide Constructive Feedback: Offer review, comment and guidance to develop your mentee's critical thinking and problem solving abilities.
  • Developmental Assignment: Consider what your mentee might learn from actually applying knowledge or a skill in which they have been trained. Offer review and comment to guide their growth and development to new levels. However, be sensitive to workloads and incorporate mentee development into existing work tasks when possible.

Activities & Learning Opportunities

Because ASFPM encourages information sharing, several existing opportunities can be used to support the program. For example, ASFPM's annual national conference includes training and specific state-focused sessions that can be adapted to address mentoring priorities:

  • State Floodplain Manager One-on-One Training
  • Strategic Planning (process guidance or facilitated)
  • State NFIP Coordinator Role
  • Flood Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
  • Mitigation Grant Program Administration
  • State and Local Mitigation Planning
  • Peer Review (TBD)
  • Capability/Competency Self-Assessment
  • Certified Floodplain Manager®
  • Training Crosswalk
  • State Floodplain Manager Handbook (TBD)
  • Leadership in Interagency Coordination (TBD)
  • Shadowing (TBD)

Learning Areas

The State Floodplain Manager One-on-One training modules (found on the Resources page) address key learning areas for state floodplain management program coordinators, state NFIP coordinators, state flood mapping coordinators, and their staff, including:

  • Guiding principles for effective state floodplain management programs (Modules 1&2)
  • Organizations, agencies and policies framing floodplain management (Modules 3 & 4)
  • State authority and NFIP coordination (Module 5)
  • Hazard identification and risk assessment, including flood insurance studies and maps (Module 7)
  • Community Assistance Program core and advanced activities (Modules 6, 8 & 9)
  • Flood insurance (Module 10)
  • State disaster response and recovery responsibilities (Module 11)
  • Integrating state floodplain management with other state agency programs and policies (Module 12)
  • Federal and state hazard mitigation programs and NFIP opportunities for mitigation (Module 13)
  • Respect for floodplain functions and resources (Module 14)

Knowledge Areas

ASFPM has identified comprehensive knowledge areas for professionals who want to effectively manage floodplains and become recognized as Certified Floodplain Managers. All of the learning and knowledge areas are topics for discussion in identifying mentee needs, and mentor learning and development activities:

  • Physical processes that impact streams, shores, floodplains and watersheds
  • Biological processes active in floodplains
  • Human interaction with floodplains and drainage basins
  • Risk assessment models and tools
  • Policies, guidance and plans for water resource management
  • Management skills
  • Mitigation role
  • Preparedness, response and recovery role
  • Organizations, agencies and programs with floodplain management influence/interest
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