Many countries in Europe use some kind of competence framework to define the quality of teachers. They typically formulate one level of teaching quality which defines the competence level that teachers must have acquired after completing initial teacher education. In addition, most countries provide limited career structures that define career opportunities within the teacher profession itself, resulting in a profession where often the only option for career progression is to move to leadership positions. Competence frameworks that create opportunities for vertical and horizontal career structures can make being a teacher a more attractive profession. They offer teachers opportunities for ‘career crafting’ and professional growth and supply school leaders with tools for more elaborate career guidance. In this article, we present a framework that was developed in the Netherlands to support teacher growth and teachers' career development. It has been used as a starting point for creating a shared language and understanding of the teacher profession and as a catalyst for dialogue between teachers and school leaders on professional growth. We elaborate the main characteristics of the resulting model, its limitations, the feedback that has been collected and how this feedback has been incorporated in how the model is used and discussed by teachers, school leaders and teacher education institutes. Finally, we argue that the strength of the framework can be explained by the way it acts as a boundary object, inspiring mutual learning and dialogue between different activity systems (of teachers, school leaders and teacher educators).