Mentoring Partnership

After introductions, the mentor is the lead in establishing the relationship with the mentee.

Mentoring Partnership iconAfter the program manager sends an introductory email to the participants, a mentoring request becomes a mentoring partnership. Successful and rewarding mentoring partnerships begin by using the framework of concepts, documents and tools developed by ASFPM to facilitate the mentoring relationship.

Detailed Partnership overview

Detailed overview of the request mentoring and partnership procedure.

Partnership Workspace

You will need to create a Basecamp user login with an email address and password.

Basecamp logo

Workspace iconThe program uses the project management software Basecamp (at basecamp.com) to provide an online workspace where mentees and mentors collaborate, access partnership materials, create action item lists, define milestones, document the mentoring experience, share files and manage the partnership. Basecamp serves as the hub for partnership planning and monitoring. The program manager will invite both partners to a Basecamp project created exclusively for their mentoring partnership.

After the partners register on Basecamp, they can log into their partnership workspace and access the following partnership documents:

Partnership Workspace Documents Location
Welcome Message Discussions
Using Basecamp Files
Contact Information Text documents
[Mentee] Mentoring Partnership Checklist To-do lists
[Mentor] Mentoring Partnership Checklist To-do lists
Guidance for Creating SMART Goals Files
SMART Goals Worksheet Files
Mentoring Agreement Text documents
Action Plan Text documents
[Mentee] Action Items To-do lists
[Mentor] Action Items To-do lists
[Mentee] Activity/Actions Log Text documents
[Mentor] Activity/Actions Log Text documents
Partnership Log URL Text documents

These partnership materials are described throughout the rest of this section. See the appendices for copies of the documents found in the partnership workspace.

Using Basecamp documentParticipants not familiar with Basecamp should look in their workspace for the Using Basecamp document (image on right), which gives an overview of all of the sections of the partnership workspace and contains links to the Basecamp help documentation. Please contact the program manager for any additional help with Basecamp.

Contact Info documentThe program manager will populate the Contact Information (image on left) text document in the workspace with the partner information. This document also lists the program manager’s contact info, as well as the date and topic/issue of the mentoring request. Partners should update their contact information as needed throughout their partnership.

The partnership workspace is only accessible to mentees/mentors and the program manager, who provides oversight of all mentoring partnership workspaces. Partners can use the workspace to contact the program manager by commenting on the individual items throughout the workspace.

The partners each have a to-do list that guides them through their mentoring process:

Mentee/Mentor checklistsAs the partnership progresses, partners check items off of their list as they are completed. See the Using Basecamp document in the workspace for more information on how to-do lists work.

SMART Goals

Goals iconThe ASFPM framework for mentoring uses good goals as the foundation for developing mentoring agreements, tracking progress and determining whether a partnership is successful. The partners should develop one or more SMART Goals to drive their relationship and integrate their SMART Goals into the mentoring agreement.

Specific → Measurable → Achievable → Relevant → Timely

SMART Goals documents

The SMART Goals documents are found in the “Files” section of your partnership workspace. Mentees should complete the worksheet using the guidance document provided. Mentors should assist mentees with the creation of SMART Goals and the mentoring agreement.

Find copies of Guidance for Creating SMART Goals and the SMART Goals Worksheet in the appendices.

Mentoring Agreement

Agreement iconAfter formal introductions and each reading the welcome message in the workspace, the first thing for the partners to tackle is the mentoring agreement. Even though the partnership workspace is initialized, a partnership cannot commence until mentees and mentors complete the mentoring agreement. The agreement template is found in the text documents section of your workspace.

The mentoring agreement should be developed cooperatively by the mentee and mentor.

Before completing the agreement, the partners should discuss the reasons and expectations for a mentoring partnership and mentees should complete the SMART Goals Worksheet. The following guidance helps partners formulate a mentoring agreement, but they may ask the program manager for assistance in its development to ensure a successful mentoring partnership.

The key issues for discussion have been adapted from Allen et. al. (2009). The mentoring agreement establishes the terms of the partnership and reflects the partners’ understanding of the goals, boundaries and roles in the relationship. All of the mentoring formats except for Ask a Mentor use mentoring agreements to support partnerships.

Agreement document

Step 1: Set goals for the partnership.

  • Why do you want to be in a mentoring partnership?
  • Form one or two goals following the SMART Goals guidelines (i.e., Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely goals).

Step 2: Identify potential obstacles to achieving your goals.

  • Anticipate hurdles or barriers that might prevent you from achieving the goals that you have identified.
  • Develop a plan for overcoming or working around the barriers and hurdles.

Step 3: Discuss mutual expectations and boundaries for your mentoring partnership.

  • Discuss the respective roles of the mentee/mentor. Who will do what? How do you expect each other to behave? What are some characteristics that you desire in a good mentee/mentor? Do you want to set any ground rules?
  • Review the Confidentiality Policy.
  • Discuss availability and time commitment related to the one-on-one, group or situational mentoring format of the mentoring request. Is your time commitment sufficient for the actions and activities needed to achieve your goals?
  • Agree to an approximate length for the relationship.

Step 4: Establish how your partnership will work.

  • Decide on a preferred method of contact (e.g., face-to-face, telephone, email, partnership workspace, video chat, etc.).
  • Decide how frequently the mentee and mentor will contact one another. Who is responsible for initiating contact?
  • Discuss how and when feedback will be provided. What will you do if actions and activities are not completed as planned?

Step 5: Agree to monitor progress and evaluate your mentoring experience.

Step 6: Discuss how you will decide on the closure of your partnership.

  • Closure will naturally occur when you accomplish your goals or complete any identified actions or if the partnership is no longer beneficial. Decide on what will define the end of the mentoring relationship.

The mentoring agreement is a text document in the partnership workspace. Edit the mentoring agreement using the guidance above to answer the questions (don’t forget to click the “Save” button). Refer back to the agreement as necessary throughout the partnership.

Notify the program manager that you’ve completed the mentoring agreement by posting a comment to the text document. He or she will review mentoring agreements and notify the partners if there are any issues.

Find a copy of the Mentoring Agreement template in the appendices.

Action Plan

Creating the action plan is the responsibility of the mentee.

Plan iconOnce the mentee and mentor have agreed to the goal(s) for the partnership, specific actions need to be identified to move the mentee toward the goal(s). The partners should review the Learning Areas (e.g., program, professional and leadership learning). Although the discussion may involve the mentee and mentor, creating the action plan is the responsibility of the mentee.

Training is the core of many of the mentoring activities, but it should be reinforced with practice of skills, review of best practices and feedback activities as well.

Action Plan document

Step 1: Select a Development/Learning Area.

  • Considering the goal(s) of the partnership, identify the skills, knowledge, abilities or behaviors that will benefit from further development. Focus on the desired outcome. Building on strengths can be as effective as addressing areas of weakness.
  • ASFPM has developed some strategic assessment tools and processes (e.g., recommended benchmarks for effectiveness, strategic planning, self-assessment, SWOT assessment and CAP gap analysis) to help identify where you need/want to make improvements.

Step 2: Review the SMART Goal(s) you prepared to understand the desired result.

  • What problem are you addressing or what opportunity are you taking?
  • What do you need to change or do to make the goal(s) reality?
  • ASFPM mentoring activities provide for formal (e.g., training, conferences and workshops) or informal (e.g., process guides, best practice documentation, resource materials and Ask a Mentor), and passive (e.g., reading and shadowing) or active (e.g., assignments, practice and special projects) exchanges throughout the partnership.

Step 3: Create the mentoring actions.

  • What activity/action can you easily incorporate into your daily routine?
  • What is likely to help develop your target area and achieve your goal(s)? For example, if you need to acquire some new knowledge, training may be the activity that you choose. You may have been trained in strategic planning, but not have applied the process and tools to an evaluation of your program – feedback or advice may be helpful. You may be good at the day-to-day aspects of your job, but desire to learn more about the policies that drive floodplain or national practices – working on an ASFPM committee or special project can provide additional skills and abilities.
  • Identify multiple, specific activities or actions that you will undertake in the mentoring partnership.

Step 4: List support mechanisms.

  • Aside from what the partners bring to the relationship, what other people, things or information do you need to obtain your desired result (e.g., technology, travel, staff and funding)?

Step 5: Timeframe and milestones.

  • What needs to be scheduled to ensure that your commitment is consistent with your goal?
  • An overall deadline for activities will be somewhat defined by the duration of the partnership. However, there may be a necessary sequence for individual activities. For example, you may need to take a training to learn a new skill or gain knowledge before you can practice or apply it.
  • Identify some milestones and interim deadlines. For example, the goal may be to develop a strategic plan for implementing an effective state floodplain management program. The initial step may be to complete a strategic planning training, followed by practice using strategic analysis tools, with a final result of writing a long-range strategic plan. Your milestone events are completing training, practice and feedback on using tools and review/feedback on a draft strategic plan. The deadlines should fit within your overall commitment to the partnership and mark progress toward the desired result.

Step 6: Establish criteria for success.

  • Is the partnership a positive experience for you?
  • Discuss how you will know if you are making progress.
  • Completing actions and activities is one way to measure progress. However, it is also important to measure if your knowledge and skills are growing.

The action plan is a text document in the partnership workspace. Use the guidance above to provide answers to the questions in the action plan. Edit and save the action plan in the workspace, and refer back to it as needed throughout the partnership. If more than one goal has been identified, make a copy of the action plan template for each goal.

Use the action plan to create and add tasks to the [Mentee/Mentor] Action Items to-do lists in the workspace. See the Using Basecamp file in your workspace.

Find a copy of the Action Plan template in the appendices.

Activity/Actions & Partnership Logs

Logs iconThe partnership log is a way to track progress on actions and share feedback about any changes needed to the partnership or action plan. The log is intended to improve interactions between partners by providing regular feedback during the partnership. It is a tool for tracking progress on the planned activities/actions, gauging the compatibility of the relationship, and whether learning expectations are being met.

The program manager has access to the activity/action logs in the workspace and submitted
partnership logs.

The partnership log consists of two parts, both accessed from your partnership workspace. The first part is for tracking the actions and activities of your partnership and the second part is for evaluating how the partnership and program are working. The partners have individual documents titled Activity/Action Log (see image below) for action tracking. Both partners access the partnership log using the Partnership Log URL document in the workspace.

Tracking Activity/Actions

Mentees/mentors should update their action/activity log with accomplishments throughout the partnership. Edit the text document, enter your actions and don’t forget to save. Both partners should complete their own logs and periodically monitor their partner’s activity/action log.

Action Log document
If necessary, update the action plan to reflect any changes in the process or activities/actions. Remember to check off the items on your action items to-do list.

Submitting a Partnership Log

Evaluation iconThe text document in the workspace titled Partnership Log URL contains a link to the evaluation portion of the log that is submitted through the Survey Monkey website. Click directly on the URL from the text document overview thumbnail or open the document to access the link.

Please complete your first partnership log submission within two weeks of approval of a mentoring agreement. Submit partnership logs monthly for the duration of the partnership.

The partnership log asks a series of questions over a few pages that are tailored to the mentee or mentor role. Enter your name and role on the first page of the log. The next two pages ask participants to indicate how strongly they agree or disagree with statements regarding elements of their mentoring partnership. The final page asks about learning and development, and provides a comment area to freely discuss your partnership.

The mentee/mentor should reflect on their feedback and discuss whether changes are needed to improve progress and satisfaction. Any changes should be reflected in the action plan.

Partnership Log imagesThe program manager should be consulted immediately with any unresolved issues or concerns and can provide copies of the partnership logs to the partners upon request. The program manager may also step in to provide guidance if partnership issues arise in the submitted logs and will prompt partners to complete a log if they fail to do so.

Find copies of the Activity/Actions Log and Partnership Log in the appendices.

Closing a Partnership

Closing iconPartners may use a defined duration, achievement of goals/actions or other defined criteria to determine when a partnership should end. In most cases, closure will occur when the goals and actions have been completed and the partners agree the benefits of the relationship have been attained. The mentoring agreement includes a participant-defined closure.

Mentoring agreements may be canceled and partnerships may be closed prior to completing the action plan if:

  • either participant feels the exchange is no longer positive or providing benefit, or
  • the program manager recognizes that a partnership is not making progress or no longer valued by the participants.

This type of closure will be considered a "no fault" mutual dissolution and participants will be asked to share "lessons learned" so that future partnerships may be improved and early closures avoided.

Participants should alert the program manager when a partnership has been closed. Upon closure, the mentoring partners are expected to provide a Partnership Evaluation concerning whether the experience was positive, met their expectations and the desired goals were achieved.

Closure of one partnership must occur prior to the partners entering another partnership unless approved by the program manager (i.e., mentor involved in more than one partnership at a time, or use of Ask a Mentor within the mentoring partnership activities).

Partnership Evaluation

Evaluation iconThe partnership evaluation focuses on how well the partnership has accomplished the desired goals. Participants will be asked to complete the partnership evaluation after they close the mentoring partnership.

The partnership evaluation supports ASFPM in collecting relevant information that can be used for decision-making as the program moves forward. ASFPM is committed to making sure the program fulfills its intended purpose. It is also expected that as the program is implemented, there will be opportunities for improvement that need to be identified. Participants' input is essential to building an effective mentoring experience for everyone. Additional training and long-range evaluation tools may be developed as the program matures and expands.

Partnership Evaluation imagesThe program manager will send a link to the partnership evaluation when the partners agree the goals of their partnership have been met or that it is time to end the partnership (see the previous section, Closing a Partnership). The evaluation should be completed in a timely manner upon receipt from the program manager.

Find a copy of the Partnership Evaluation in the appendices.

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