Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Mark Oliver (Australia)


Many psychometric instruments help to identify a person’s strengths and development areas, and those who can or cannot do a role. But more important are highlighting overused strengths and de-railers (extreme development areas) to gauge how people perform at work.

This helps to identify accurately those who:

  1. Can’t do
  2. Can do okay, or
  3. Can do very well a particular role.

This not only helps with selection, but also gives critical direction to any coaching. This becomes a very important issue when selecting or coaching cross-culturally.

Differentiating between the last two categories can make a big difference financially. A study in the Journal of Applied Psychology[1] found that the difference in performance between an average and a very high performer in the role was equivalent to up to 127% of their salary per year to the organization’s bottom line.


Pario Profiling is a process which highlights key aspects of motivation and behaviour that lead to excellent performance at work. The questionnaire takes around 20 minutes to complete. The process is administered via an online Control Panel and the resulting Development Report is emailed to the coach. The tool has proved useful when exploring issues affecting performance and resilience, particularly when coaching people in management / leadership roles.

The profile highlights work preferences that relate to the person’s approach to problems, people and tasks. This gives practical guidance to performance excellence by mapping onto the 3H model of Head, Heart and Hands. In other words, the profile reveals how a manager (or other experienced professional) tends to deal with problem, i.e. their typical style of thinking, how they engage with other people, and how they go about achieving results. This creates a picture of how someone is directing their energy and reveals a full range of potential strengths and possible areas for improvement. It reflects someone’s adjustment to their role and offers insight into how they interact with other people.

This picture of a person’s mindset can guide the coaching process to quicker and higher level improvements.

The profile is distinctive in having a clear operational focus. Areas that are explored include Developing Opportunities (the ability to turn ideas into reality), the individual’s level of Organisational Awareness, and also the impact of Personal Values on professional objectivity. With reference to values, the profile does not directly identify the values, but explores the expectation that

others should share the same values. Studies indicate that this type of mindset may be linked to perfectionism and can also result in a reactive style of working[1] and a tendency to try and avoid problems.

Gaining insight into values can help managers/leaders become more proactive in various ways, e.g. by influencing others, setting clear direction, and building resilience. A study of 460 professionals in the UK indicates that the high emphasis on personal values is associated with reduced confidence in decision outcomes, lower scores on setting direction, and a tendency to be less questioning, with lower scores on the Innovative Response dimension. (Figure 2).

The completed profile is designed to be diagnostic and support coaching and development. It helps clarify preferences and aspects of work behaviour that can affect performance. These issues might, for example, relate to delegation, consultation with others, or speed of response. Coaching interventions can help professionals gain insight and develop new ways of responding, so they become more effective at assessing issues and handling complexity.



Figure 2.  Pario Profiling of Personal Values and Proactive Behaviour

Reviewing the profile also supports discussion relating to the four elements (shown below) that contribute to the authenticity[1]. With this in mind, we have found that the profile can be used to strengthen coaching designed to build capability in the four key areas:


Understanding your unique talents, strengths, sense of purpose, core values and beliefs; being open to experience, and becoming more receptive to feedback that creates this insight.

Balanced Processing of Information

Making allowance for your personal preferences and being able to consider multiple sides of an issue and differing perspectives; this contributes to improved analysis.

Relational Authenticity

Striving to achieve openness and truthfulness in your close relationships, using selective self-disclosure to build trust and appear genuine in your interaction with others.

Authentic Behaviour/Action

Responding to situations in a way that is appropriate in the context of the role, respecting your core values and acting in a (proactive) way that is consistent with these values



In summary, Pario Profiling is easily administered and offers insights that are particularly useful in executive coaching and interventions designed to create significant performance improvements at work. The review process helps facilitate difficult conversations and clarify blind-spots that are affecting performance. It has relevance in the context of both one-to-one coaching and team development. Reviewing work preferences and mindset issues also help clarify role requirements.  The feedback process can include discussion concerning the expectations of team members and work colleagues, and the steps linked to improved communication.

About Mark Oliver

Managing Director and CEO of MarkTwoConsulting. Mark has run leadership development and assessment courses since 1986 in both public service and corporate environments. Over the last 30 years he has designed and facilitated both “train-the-trainer” advanced leadership courses as well as mastering competencies and implementing specialised assessment courses. Much of his work has been cross cultural for Australian ‘Top 100’ and American ‘Fortune 500’ companies in Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, Switzerland, China (and Hong Kong), South Africa, Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Dubai and Fujairah UAE. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development, Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Professional Facilitators, Fellow of the Australian Human Resources Institute and Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is also internationally certified in about 25 psychometric instruments.



  1. As reported in The Journal of Applied Psychology 1990. Vol 75. No. 1, 28-42.
  2. See Stoddart, P. and Clance, P (2017). Identifying and managing personality styles that impair resilience in the workplace. In Managing for Resilience, Routledge.
  3. Kernis, M (2003). Toward a conceptualisation of optimal self-esteem, Psychological Inquiry 14, 1–26.



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