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Leadership Profiling Process

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The Boulden approach to Leadership Profiling

In depth personal profiling to help senior leaders become even more successful

  1. Tailored feedback on strengths and weaknesses
  2. Create powerful development plans
  3. In depth analysis without the sense of being 'judged' or criticised

Introduction to Leadership profiling

Leadership research highlights a need for leaders to be aware of their individual attributes and the effect they have on others. In a fast moving world the relative strengths of individual leaders and the complimentary nature of those strengths in a senior leadership team can be vital in engaging a workforce required to change, innovate and outperform the competition..

The Boulden approach

At Boulden we use in depth, personal profiling to help senior leaders become more consciously aware of:

  • How they see themselves
  • How they want to be seen by others
  • How they are actually seen by others
  • How mutual understanding can develop a highly effective senior leadership team


Psychometric tests are regularly used as part of a thorough recruitment process for many organisations. Robust, business orientated psychometric tests are reliable and extensively validated. We recognise that a pragmatic, business focused and sensitive approach needs to be adopted to ensure senior leaders receive maximum benefit from insights gained through completing psychometric tests. Feedback needs to help an individual to make links between self-analysis gained from completing tests and to question how motives, strengths, attitudes etc are manifested in actual behaviour in the workplace. It is important to compare this with feedback from others e.g. 360 degree feedback and direct observation within the workplace. Greater understanding can lead to greater performance both as an individual leader and as a member of a senior leadership team.

Benefits of profiling

In many ways the ‘Leadership Profiling’ process is similar to running an individual assessment centre, but the personalised and consultative nature of the process means that it is more appropriate (and more palatable) for senior executives. The significant advantage of the tailor made feedback and analysis involved in the profiling is that it helps people who are already successful to build powerful development plans, without making them feel that their judgment or experience is being downgraded or devalued.

The profiling process

We follow a six-stage process when conducting leadership profiling assignments. The stages are: contracting; individual profiling; derailing behaviours; data analysis; feedback and reporting; development plan.

The profiling process includes the use of a number of leading edge psychometric tests that compliment each other in terms of what and how they measure an individual. The tests are chosen because they combine ease of use (on line completion and short length questionnaires) and most importantly, provide a combined view that adds both breadth and depth of analysis and allows an individual to develop a very personal assessment of their:

  • motives and drives that underlie their performance
  • interpersonal style and its compatibility with other members of the team
  • need for a particular environment where they are most likely to thrive
  • ability to create innovative teams
  • entrepreneurial capability


The first step in this process involves a contracting stage where individuals, their line manager and a Senior BMC Ltd Consultant explore expectations, agree specific objectives and outputs and clarify the roles and responsibilities of each person.

Individual profiling

Following the ‘contracting stage’ the Individual Profiling Process incorporates:

  • Administering a small number of focused, complementary psychometric tests for example MBTI, 16PF, WAVE, HPI, HDS, FIRO-B®
  • The use of aptitude tests (if appropriate)
  • The completion of a 360-degree or multi source feedback process (Boulden can support you in the development of an on line version of a multi-feedback tool if appropriate)
  • The observation of performance within the workplace (if appropriate)
  • The one to one ‘felt fair’ feedback of all data by a Boulden Senior Consultant and agreement of a realistic picture of the individual

Derailing behaviours

In addition, for the future success of individuals, the senior leadership team and the organisation as a whole, it is important to identify dysfunctional leadership behaviours. These are what are sometimes called ‘derailing behaviours’. These may have the potential to alienate colleagues and subordinates, undermine the commitment and effectiveness of the workforce with inevitable consequences for productivity, retention and the bottom line. These ‘dark side’ tendencies erode trust, loyalty and enthusiasm and are of particular concern for senior leaders, particularly as they often stem from the unconscious overuse of strengths, strengths that may have helped an individual to gain their current level of seniority within their organisation. These dysfunctional behaviours are specifically addressed as part of the profiling process.

Data analysis

Following the online administration of the chosen psychometric profiles and the 360-degree feedback, all data will be collated by a Senior Consultant from BMC Ltd and analysed in detail. The analysis is used to develop ideas of how an individual may behave, be motivated, lead others etc within the workplace. The ‘Felt Fair’ element of the process will be to systematically ask the individual to validate their own responses, to give examples and to compare the ‘picture’ being developed with data gained from others i.e. through the 360 feedback and by direct observation of the individual within the workplace prior to meeting for the feedback discussion.

This thorough, robust process adds significant value, as it challenges and supports a leader to analyse themselves in great detail. It encourages the individual to make their own judgements on their relative strengths, how best they can utilise them (for improved individual, team and business performance) and to avoid the potential pitfalls of overusing particular strengths with significant negative effects.

Feedback and reporting

We complete a written summary of out findings and give detailed ‘one to one feedback’ to each individual. Usually this confidential report will be the joint property of the individual and Human Resources. As part of the feedback process we will explore and agree with the individual how (and to what extent) they intend to share the findings from the process with their peers and direct reports.

Development plan

In addition we work with the individuals to help them to design a ‘development plan’ aimed at helping them to improve and enhance their capabilities. As part of this process we can offer support in the form of ‘one to one coaching’. Please see the Boulden approach to Executive Coaching for more information on this aspect of our work.


The success of profiling is in large part dependant upon the credibility of the process in the eyes of the senior executives who are talking part in the activity. At Boulden we ensure that the integrity and impact of the profiling process is maintained by using only the most highly qualified and experienced HR professionals. Our consultants include people who have Masters in Occupational Psychology are Chartered Occupational Psychologist, Level A & B trained, and are certified coaches.

Example assignment - Developing senior executives’ leadership capabilities

The Chief Executive of a medium sized retailer recognised he had significantly increased expectations of his team members in terms of their future performance. This was as a result of a strategic plan which included a growth target of around 20% over the next three years, together with other challenging operational improvements. The Chief Executive contacted Boulden to ask for our help and advice in supporting his team during this transition.

As a starting point we constructed individual role profiles and built a capability model which incorporated competencies and behaviours. Having shared and validated this model with the current incumbents we then set about designing a measurement process. This enabled us to construct an in depth profile of each individual’s strengths, development needs and further potential.

The profiling process incorporated a number of different elements including:

  • The completion of a small number of focused, complementary psychometric tests
  • The completion of a 360° Feedback process
  • The observation of performance within the workplace
  • A competency based interview to explore real life examples and experience
  • A ‘one to one’ feedback of all data by a BMC Ltd Senior Consultant
  • A commitment to future actions

As a result of this process the Chief Executive and each of his direct reports had a clear picture of their capability to achieve their goals and targets. For most of the team there was a strong indication that with some focused development they would succeed. For a smaller number the indications were that the role they were expected to fulfil was not aligned with their personal capabilities or motivations. As a result Boulden were able to work with the Chief Executive to address these issues. This included constructing a development programme for those who would remain in their posts and counselling those where a new or different role was a more suitable outcome.



Further information is available by contacting Boulden at:
Tel: 0844 394 8877


  • Conducting personalised, individual assessment
  • Helping leaders understand how to ‘step up a level’ in performance
  • Writing powerful development plans

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