Apply by Friday, November 8, 2024 to become a COFO Mentee or Mentor! Applications are available by emailing the COFO Mentoring Committee Chair.

COFO Mentoring Program FAQ and Information

Why did COFO create a Mentoring Program?

COFO created its Mentoring Program to support federal ombuds professionals in their development and practice, aligning with the professional standards of independence, impartiality, and confidentiality. The program aims to:

  • Advance the federal ombuds community and profession through sharing approaches, expertise, and best practices.
  • Support professional development for both mentors (experienced) and mentees (any level of experience).

Am I eligible to participate? 

To be eligible to participate:

  • Mentees: Must be current practicing federal ombuds, regardless of service time and activity level in COFO.
  • Mentors: Must be or have been a full-time practicing federal ombuds for at least three years, actively participate in COFO and other professional activities, and practice in accordance with the standards of independence, impartiality, and confidentiality.
  • Mentees and Mentors are not limited to one year of participation and may switch roles in subsequent years.

How do I apply to be a Mentor or Mentee?

  • Submit an application in the fall of each year. During the application period, COFO will send out applications to its membership via email, inviting them to participate in the mentoring program.
  • The COFO Mentoring Committee reviews applications, confirms eligibility, and pairs mentors and mentees.
  • Notification of matches will be sent in January.

What is the mentoring process?

  • Paired mentors and mentees meet for two hours per month (virtual, in-person, phone, etc.) for 12 months.
  • Mentees can discuss ombuds cases, standards of practice, challenges, or anything pertinent to ombuds professional development in confidence with their mentor.
  • Other opportunities to connect with other mentees/mentors may be available.
  • Feedback is requested during and upon conclusion of the mentoring period to improve the program.

If you have questions, please reach out to the COFO Mentoring Committee Chair.