Track Record Trumps Potential Every Time

Business is a cold hard world of facts, calculations and evaluations with little tolerance for esoteric philosophies. Life Coaching and leadership, on the other hand, fundamentally believe in the unseen. Potential, beliefs and attitude are un-measurable forces that drive the existence of Life Coaching and leadership.
As a Life Coach, we owe it to the business community to make the process and principles less ‘up in the air’, and a little more ‘concrete’. Dealing with Potential is just such one area that needs to be reviewed in Life Coaching. The Business World believes that Track Record is what determines someone’s worth, and not their latent Potential.

This article serves not to evaluate the ‘truth’ within the statement, but rather to pose a question: If that was true, how would a Life Coach deal with this ‘reality’?

The logical response would be: A Life Coach must guide the person being coached, the coachee, to take potential and ability and create a ‘track record’.

What else would be meant by ‘develop potential’?

So, now we face the dilemma of taking someone’s potential and making it concrete and visible to the business world for their approval. Below is a suggested list of how to move potential into the tangible:

1.      Start with a big dream: Potential is an elusive and shy creature that needs to be handled indirectly. Developing Potential is easier when the coachee selects a goal or a dream that will stretch them, allowing their latent skills and abilities to come to the foreground naturally. It must be a worthy dream, not just a ‘project’ to identify potential. It must be a goal or adream that has meaning and value to the coachee, but something that makes them just a little nervous, with a conscious understanding of – this will challenge me!

Most people will stutter and splutter if you walk up to them and ask – What are your strengths? By focusing the coachee on a goal, they will have to draw on their abilities and skills. Once open and exposed, those skills and abilities can be noted and enhanced.

      2.      Find a Role Model: Encourage the coachee to research the task or dream to gain enough information, in useable chunks, about how other people who are leaders in the chosen area go about doing / achieving it. This can be through biographies, books, videos or personal conversations.

3.      Action Plan: Guide the coachee to make an action plan. Break down the process into doable tasks, with a clear: what is next? This breaking down of the stages of progress will help the coachee move from ‘potential’ to ‘track record’.

4.      Evaluate and Review the Process: Keep the coachee on track, allowing them to internalise the process with regular reviews and personal evaluations on the process. It is here that the coach should encourage continual learning and development, making lifelong learning an objective. It is effective at this point to introduce the concept of the ‘spiral of continual improvement’. This quality management model makes for a positive approach to the learning and ‘failings’ that the coachee may encounter during their experience.


      5.      Make it Fun: It is important for the coachee’s internal motivation and self encouragement that the process is enjoyable and rewarding in itself. If the process is rewarding, the coachee will find it easy to commit and repeat the process as required in order to develop their potential into a recognisable and influential track record.

If your coachee is ‘raw potential’ without any experience, no network and little influence to speak of, it may be beneficial to encourage the coachee to develop him/herself within the ‘Charity Arena’. Charity organisations always need people to help them in various areas. As a coach, focus on the process of making potential tangible, and less focus on the actual tasks or content of the process.

Creating a history of achievements takes the uncertainty out of Potential for the business world. It will also create an amazing success story for your coachee. With this achieved, you as the life coach, can sit back, smile, and appreciate the job well done!

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