How much employee potential is there at your company? Are you tracking this talent?

If these questions stop you in your tracks, don’t panic. These are tough questions for most CEO’s or C level managers to answer on the spot.

At the same time, these are the questions you have to  answer if you want your company to thrive.

So let’s look at the key for unlocking employee potential and growing your human capital.

The Salesperson Analogy

A simple way to assess employee potential is to use the analogy of a salesperson.

A successful salesperson has two essential qualities:

  • Credibility
  • Performance under pressure

First, we’ll use these two traits to understand employee potential. Then,  we’ll talk about how to apply this principle to your team.

Credibility Formula

When you’re interviewing a potential employee, you probably spend a good chunk of time assessing their credibility.

  • How do they show up in their career?
  • Are they honest about their strengths and weaknesses?

All employees need credibility. This quality is called on constantly in relationships at work.

Here’s a simple formula for assessing credibility:

Credibility = Proven Competence + Relationships + Integrity

Let’s look at what each of these terms means using the sales analogy to guide us.

  • Proven Competence: A stand-out salesperson doesn’t just don’t know their stuff, they also UNDERSTAND it.  There’s more skill in connecting the dots vs. just memorizing the product specs. A salesperson who “gets it” can explain things to the customer with conviction.
  • Relationships: A great salesperson establishes relationships by building trust. Trust is created in small moments and informs how someone feels about an interaction.  A good sales person builds trust by creating situations that feel safe, not traumatizing or uncomfortable.
  • Integrity: Relationships exist over time. A salesperson with integrity continually proves they’re worthy of the trust placed in them.

Response to Stress

Next, we want to measure how your employees behave in moments of stress. Can they make good decisions when faced with challenges?

In sales, the pressure is on when clients say “No.” A successful salesperson doesn’t freak out. Instead, they…


  • Use situational awareness.
  • Know how to hold another’s perspective without reacting.


It’s an amazing skill to understand other people’s perspectives and not just go with your assumptions.

Great salespeople don’t take situations personally. This allows them to respond to stress with maturity and curiosity.

The Problem Measuring Employee Potential

In the sales analogy we’ve been using, it’s easy to track success: What’s the salesperson’s conversion percentage?

But when we pull back from that analogy,  how do we get accurate data for measuring employee potential?

Remember, potential might be there even if it’s not being expressed.

Not surprisingly, the most accurate way to measure employee potential is to track talent development over time.

Unfortunately, time is something most upper level leaders don’t have enough of as it is. They may find it nearly impossible to carve out time to observe and mentor their emerging leaders.

And time isn’t the only limiting factor.

Everyone has weaknesses and opportunities.  It’s actually common for someone’s genius to be right next to their dysfunction. That means you have to see them pushed to their limits to see their true strengths.

Think about weight lifters: Until you’ve seen someone strain to perform, how do you know how far they can go?

In order to get an accurate look at their behavior under pressure, it’s necessary to know what they do when they’re out of their comfort zone.

Many employees don’t feel comfortable talking about struggles with a superior since they’re worried they’ll seem incompetent.

So, even if upper level management had the time to check in with employees and try to measure their growth, most employees wouldn’t feel comfortable revealing the kind of data that’s needed to track their true potential.

Career Coaching for Employee Growth

If management isn’t able to measure employee potential, who can?

Athletes have coaches to help them get stronger physically and mentally, and in today’s corporate environment, so do many successful leaders.

I was recently talking to a friend of mine who has a commercial real estate company that’s growing quickly. He hired a career coach to come in once a month to work with his mid-level management. He did this for two reasons:


  1. His time is better spent bringing in new business. That’s his zone of genius. [link to zone of genius blog post once you publish it]
  2. His employees get more value out of having an objective third party to confide in. They’re not intimidated to say what’s really on their minds. That in turn helps the manager get to the heart of what they need to work on.


The results of career coaching  for my friend’s business are 100% positive: His employee retention rate is higher, and the employees are performing better.

Plus, the overall company culture is better because employees feel supported.

The benefits for the employees are…

  • less stress
  • clearer vision on how to handle difficult situations
  • improved business leadership
  • better discipline
  • and enriched relationships.

All of those benefits mean employees are performing at a higher level, which means they have greater opportunities for advancement. It’s a win-win.

Actually, it’s a win-win-win because customers get superior service from a team who are tapping their full potential.

What a Career Coach Can Do For Your Employees

If you want to maximize your employee potential, first you have to measure it so you know what you’re working with.

The best way to do that is to work with a career coach. This professional partners with you to gather accurate data about employee behavior.

The coach is in a unique position to observe employee credibility and reaction to stress.

Once CEO’s, founders, and C level leaders have accurate data about employee potential, they’ll have the clarity they need to empower their employees.

A coach helps employees adjust their mindset and behavior to achieve higher. Thus, coaching is the solution to uncovering their untapped potential.

It’s also the key to upper level management thriving in their positions. Coaches help mid-level leaders grow and keep pace with constant business changes and needs.

Are you ready to see your company thrive? Are you looking for a win-win-win situation where you operate from your strengths, your employees reach their true potential, and your customers feel the difference? Let’s talk! Schedule your free Strategy Session today.