In a recent HBR article, author Claudio Fernandez-Araoz proposed that talent management in the future, particularly as it pertains to leadership, is less about competencies and more about potential. He argued that due to the ever changing business landscape, having leaders who could adapt is much more advantageous than those who came with already proven successes. Though a track record is much more tangible and, in many respects a safer bet, you cannot drive a car forward by looking in the rear view mirror.
So if potential is key, what are some indicators? Fernandez-Araoz argued that there are five primary characteristics that can help illicit the true potential of an individual.
1. Motivation – commitment to excel
2. Curiosity – a penchant for seeking new knowledge
3. Insight – ability to see new possibilities
4. Engagement – connect with people effectively
5. Determination – strong resolve and ability to handle adversity
Although developed with recruitment in mind, potential is a very significant component within an effective coaching engagement. By evaluating clients relative to these five traits, it can present numerous opportunities that a client may not have previously considered.
Coaching is all about moving clients from functional to optimal. Potential, as in the scientific definition, is the energy that lies within to power such a transformation. By having a better understanding of a client’s “potential”, realistic goals can be created and ultimately met.
As you assess your clients (or reports at work) and what the possibilities might be, try to assess them relative to these characteristics. Once fully understood they can become the ultimate drivers of realizing ones true potential.