The program is designed to support effective principles, professional growth and leadership development by providing enough structure for success, but room for flexibility. ASFPM’s Mentoring Program delivers learning opportunities and activities through four types of mentoring.
One-on-one is the traditional method of mentoring, in which an experienced mentor shares knowledge, skills and insight with a less experienced mentee.
The partners mutually agree on the goal(s), expectations, planned activities, frequency of exchanges and duration of the partnership. A mentoring agreement captures these items and any ground rules for the partnership. Learning is supported through training, practice and feedback using the ASFPM Mentoring Program framework. This method of mentoring works best when the mentee is seeking personal attention or guidance.
For example, a new state NFIP coordinator may be overwhelmed by the scope of floodplain management program activities they must manage and have no in-state program or tenured staff to assist. An experienced state NFIP coordinator can provide the new professional with access to resources and a basis for decision-making.
Group mentoring is when one or more subject matter experts with experience act as the mentor or mentoring team and are matched with several mentees for an activity or learning opportunity.
In this approach, the mentor(s) facilitate instruction, guidance and discussion of pre-identified topics based on mentees’ needs. Mentees can also engage in mentoring one another in this format if their level of knowledge or skill varies. A mentoring agreement is used to capture expectations, goals and ground rules for the exchange. This mentoring method works well when several mentees have a similar mentoring goal, and lends itself to promoting peer learning and strengthening professional relationships.
For example, a state NFIP coordinator may wish to develop competency in new or additional staff to support their floodplain management program activities. The mentor(s) deploy, in a group setting, one or more training modules that reflect the Learning Areas that a state NFIP coordinator and their staff should possess. This training is delivered to the group while mentor(s) engage mentees by discussing the content of the modules. The learning is individualized rather than taught with a generic set of objectives. The course can be delivered as a comprehensive effort addressing all 14 modules or specific modules selected by the state.
Another variation of group mentoring is sometimes referred to as flash or speed mentoring. This approach allows mentors with valuable knowledge, but limited time, to participate in short (30-60 minute) one-time exchanges. For example, at the ASFPM annual national conference, potential mentees/mentors are invited to attend a session in which mentors share experiences, best practices and advice on pre-chosen topics. For each session, the mentor outlines a purpose, expectations and guidelines for the process. Participants in flash/speed mentoring should be provided information on the complete mentoring program.
Situational mentoring is for mentoring in time-sensitive situations (e.g., help dealing with a disaster declaration for the first time).
This method allows ASFPM to meet a mentee's need for guidance and advice in a timely manner. Situational mentoring is often described as "the right help at the right time." This type of mentoring is characteristically short-term (but may lead to long-term partnerships) and focused on an immediate need or specific problem. The mentor, a subject matter expert with experience and insight, builds the mentee's confidence and competence through guidance and advice. A mentoring agreement is used to capture expectations, goals and ground rules for the exchange.
Ask a Mentor delivers quick, trusted feedback and advice on a specific question to a specific mentor through the program website. Answers are delivered to the mentee’s email inbox.
Ask a Mentor is a simple method for allowing colleagues to help one another. It creates a sense of community and a professional network for sharing knowledge. A mentoring agreement is not necessary when using Ask a Mentor. Registered mentees simply use the “Ask a Question” function with an appropriate mentor. Ask a Mentor provides a mechanism for participants to ask questions, share strategies, explore best practices and discuss relevant topics. Mentors are invited to respond based upon experience and subject matter knowledge. Mentees need to understand that the advice is not prescriptive and that there may be a variety of perspectives shared by responding mentors.