Barrier Breakers Methodology

Identifying and Removing Barriers

Barrier Breakers Methodology for Soft Skills Development and Evaluation, or BBM®, allows us to identify and remove barriers that block soft skills and then develop, manage, and evaluate soft skills.

Soft skills are “the traits and abilities of attitude and behaviour rather than knowledge or technical aptitude.


Penelope Tobin 2000

Unlike hard skills, which have to be learnt – or input – soft skills are innate human competencies that we need to access before developing them. When we aren’t using our soft skills to their full potential, it’s because barriers are in the way. These barriers block our ability to access these competencies and make it impossible to develop them further. Soft skills development programmes have limited and short-lived results if they don’t first address these barriers or attempt to input soft skills as if they were hard skills.

BBM provides a framework that defines five Barrier Profiles. Each Barrier Profile comprises the dominating influence of a Barrier; what causes the Barrier; the impact of the Barrier; the soft skills it blocks; how to identify the Barrier, and how to break through it. As well as being a mechanism for development, this framework provides an evaluation tool to measure levels of 40 soft skills.

Soft Skills Assessment and Diagnostics

Below are some examples of BBM’s use as a soft skills assessment and diagnostic tool. Data was gathered from participants on the 7-session ‘Be Yourself Brilliantly! programme (8 series of the programme running concurrently, Winter 2018) plus control groups.

This chart shows participants’ development in the 40 soft skills covered by BBM’s five Barrier Profiles, and addressed during the programme.


This chart shows student’s significant development in all five Focuses compared to control groups.

This chart shows participants’ increase in wellbeing and employability compared to control groups.

This chart shows an individual participant’s final soft skills levels in the 5 Focus Profiles. We can analyse each Focus further for levels of the relevant eight soft skills, providing rich insights which can, for example, inform individualised learning plans.

This chart shows an individual participant’s soft skills development in all 5 Focus Profiles.