Collecting Qualitative Data on the LPI® 360

Collecting Qualitative Data on the LPI® 360

Ask an Expert

As many of us working with the LPI®360 know, the final section of the instrument can be customized with up to five optional questions that encourage Observers to comment more directly and specifically on their observations about the leader’s actions and behaviors. These can be very general (e.g., “What does this leader do best?”) or very specific (e.g., “What can this leader do to paint a more vivid picture of what the future holds?”). But most important, the responses add critical qualitative data to the invaluable quantitative data the assessment itself provides—and offer both the leader and us, as coaches and facilitators, a valuable opportunity to gather additional insight that shouldn’t be missed.

There are a number of suggested open-ended questions available, including as part of The Leadership Challenge® Facilitation Set, for collecting this type of narrative feedback. And up to 50 questions can be stored for future use when creating an invitation for a specific leader. But I began to wonder whether there were some questions that were more effective than others in soliciting the most insightful and truly helpful feedback for leaders. And to answer that question, I recently polled my fellow Certified Masters of The Leadership Challenge®, in the spirit of Ask the Experts. Over 75% of the group responded to the request I issued: “I'd like to have your opinion on the best questions to ask Observers on the LPI®360, the questions that you think elicit the best information from Observers to help leaders improve their leadership.” And from all of the various responses, some very helpful patterns emerged:

Focus on Strengths
Many Certified Masters frame their questions to be strengths-based and positive, not focused on a leader’s deficits:
  • Highlight strengths and identify development opportunities that will benefit the leader and the organization. 

  • List three positive leadership characteristics that you have observed with this leader. 

  • What is one specific contribution this leader has made to you or your organization for which you would like to express appreciation and gratitude? 

  • What does this leader do that makes working for this organization a positive experience? 

  • What is the one behavior that most contributes to this leader’s effectiveness? 
Values and Leadership
Another focus of questions related to making a connection between leadership and the values of the organization. If the organization espouses a value of ethical behavior, for example: 
  • What does this leader do that demonstrates XYZ’s value of ethical behavior? 
Asking for Feedback
The third pattern noticeable in the responses relates to Q#16 on the LPI®—Asks for feedback on how his/her actions affect other people's performance—that links to the Practice of Model the Way. Several Certified Masters, citing that they are “big fans” of Q#16, offered these examples:
  • How does the leader’s behavior impact your ability to do your best work? 

  • What specifically would you recommend that this leader start, stop, or continue doing? 

  • What specifically does this leader do that either enables or disables you doing your best work? 

  • What is one constructive suggestion for this leader to demonstrate in their behavior that would support your performance? 
Although open-ended questions require more time from Observers, the responses to carefully framed questions can add tremendous value to the feedback received by the leader, and greatly enhance the value of the coaching experience.

Overall, it was a fascinating exercise and kudos to all of the Certified Masters who were so generous with their responses.


Beverley Simpson
is principal of Toronto-based Beverley Simpson Associates and a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge®. A nurse by training, she specializes in people, teams, and systems development in healthcare. For a complete list of questions and comments contributed by Certified Masters to this effort, please contact Bev directly at bev@beverleysimpson.com.

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