Strategic Mentoring Framework

– A MentorcliQ Article –

Strategic Mentoring Framework

Designing Your Mentoring Strategy

The talented folks in charge of creating strategic initiatives have a number of tools at their disposal. One of these is the 9 box grid, which SHRM defines as a tool that “evaluates an employee’s current and potential level of contribution to the organization” and is “most commonly used in succession planning as a method of evaluating an organization’s current talent and identifying potential leaders”. MentorcliQ has developed a unique version of the grid, using 10 boxes instead of 9, that we call our Strategic Mentoring Framework. This framework is   a user-friendly way to help companies identify which employee population they want to engage and where to go next with their mentoring initiatives.

MentoringProgram_Strategy_MentorcliqThe Framework provides immediate value for organizations in a couple of different ways:


  1. New Talent Management Strategy:
    A visual way to prioritize the needs of an organization and identify a starting point for building a mentoring culture.
  2. Existing Talent Management Strategy:A visual way to organize the different purposes of learning within your organization.

Strategic Mentoring Framework

The Framework starts by identifying three pillars for talent development, supported by an open mentoring program. Each program can either be specified as open (available to everyone at the organization) or closed (invitation only).


These are programs that build and support an employee’s career progression from onboarding through succession planning at the organization.


These programs focus on developing mentee’s skills to increase capacity of talent in key areas of the organization. This pillar is not just limited to what is listed above, although these are the most common programs that exist in organizations. These can also be called coaching programs.


Currently the fastest growing area for organizations,  this pillar represents types of mentoring programs that build positive connections for employees and encourage an inclusive work culture.


Available and open to all employees for participation to increase engagement. Open Mentoring Programs generally have a Career Development focus, but include flexibility for the participants to engage in mentoring relationships that can also be more targeted on functional skills or diversity & inclusion.


Fun Fact

MentorcliQ client, Cardinal Health, won the ATD Excellence in Practice award for Best Practices in Coaching and Mentoring due to their efforts in their global leadership development and sponsorship programs.

Each pillar, as well as the Open Program, is designed to facilitate a number of participant matching styles based on the program goals.

  • 1:1 Mentoring
    This is probably the most familiar approach to mentoring, where two people share in a mutually beneficial, social learning relationship to increase skills, confidence, or connectedness of the mentee. The pair can be from same or different backgrounds, departments, geographical locations, and organizational hierarchies, so building trust at the beginning of the relationship is crucial.
  • Buddy-Program:
    While typically used for onboarding purposes, this program can add value in other ways. This matching style partners two people in similar departments and roles and the more senior individual guides the other through learning about company culture, functional expertise, and other areas relevant to the job. If you’re looking for another good reason to select this style, Gallup reports there is a direct positive correlation between those who have a friend at work and the amount of effort they put into their jobs.
  • Group:
    This style is a peer to peer mentoring group (typically 4-6 people) who share a common learning area or developmental goal and work together to achieve their set objectives. It’s recommended that a group be led by a mentor, to keep the group on track with their goals. Circles can be a good choice if there is a limited number of mentors available.
  • Blended:
    Any combination of the above mentoring styles that helps connect employees in the workplace while meeting the goals set forth by the program would be considered a blended program. Many organizations choose to do this with their mentoring programs.

Whether you are starting a program for the first time or figuring out what is next, our Strategic Mentoring Framework can help you identify and prioritize talent needs, collaborate with internal stakeholders on the next initiative, and demonstrate need and value to program sponsors.


Fun Fact

MentorcliQ client, Bacardi, won the Brandon Hall Group Excellence Award for the Best Advance in Leadership Development for Women for their mentoring program Empowering Women Leaders Through Mentoring

Are you ready?

Dive deeper into some of the programs listed above, or take a look at our 8 tips to build a successful mentoring program.

Ready to get started with your mentoring initiative? Connect with MentorcliQ to see how mentoring programs powered by mentoring software and our framework can impact and improve your employees.

Megan Wolverton
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