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How can I help a client reach their full potential?
By Angela Cox, last updated February 12, 2024

Through our professional coaching interventions with thousands of people, we’ve learnt that for most people there is a gap between actual performance and performance potential. 

It’s difficult to provide an exact percentage of people who are not fulfilling their potential because potential can be subjective and difficult to measure. Additionally, people’s goals and aspirations can change throughout their lives, so what might be considered “fulfilling potential” can vary widely but we know it occurs and we see it in most of the high performers who come through our coaching programmes. 

It’s the reason we have designed a coach training methodology and coaching philosophy that teaches coaches how to work with clients to close the performance gap.  

There have been many studies and research conducted on the concept of unfulfilled potential. Here are a few examples:

  1. A study published in the journal PLOS ONE in 2015 found that people who felt like they were not living up to their potential had a greater risk of experiencing negative emotions and lower life satisfaction.
  2. A study published in the Journal of Career Assessment in 2018 examined the relationship between self-awareness and perceived potential. The study found that individuals who were more self-aware tended to have a greater sense of their potential and were more likely to take actions to fulfil that potential.
  3. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2010 found that people tend to underestimate their own potential and are often held back by limiting beliefs. The study suggested that interventions aimed at increasing self-belief could help individuals fulfil their potential.
  4. A study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review in 2018 examined the factors that contribute to the gap between people’s actual and perceived potential. The study found that factors such as fear of failure, lack of self-awareness, and social comparison can all contribute to a sense of unfulfilled potential.

Overall, these studies suggest that unfulfilled potential is a complex issue that can be influenced by a range of factors, including self-awareness, beliefs, and social comparison. 

However, they also suggest that taking steps to increase self-belief and self-awareness can help individuals overcome these obstacles and fulfil their potential.

This is where transformational coaching comes in. Building deep self-awareness and empowering belief systems makes a huge difference when it comes to closing the gap. 

There is another watch-out area that we must also tackle to allow people to reach their potential, and that’s unresolved trauma.

Trauma can have a significant impact on an individual’s ability to fulfil their potential. Traumatic events can cause significant emotional and psychological distress, which can affect a person’s ability to function effectively in various areas of their life, such as relationships, work, and personal goals.

Here are some ways in which trauma can hamper an individual’s potential:

  1. Emotional dysregulation: Trauma can cause emotional dysregulation, making it difficult for individuals to manage their emotions effectively. This can lead to difficulties in relationships, work, and other areas of life.
  2. Negative self-beliefs: Trauma can lead to negative self-beliefs, such as feeling unworthy or incompetent. These beliefs can undermine an individual’s confidence and motivation, making it difficult to pursue their goals.
  3. Difficulty concentrating: Trauma can affect an individual’s ability to concentrate and focus on tasks, making it difficult to perform effectively at work or school.
  4. Avoidance behaviours: Trauma can lead to avoidance behaviours, such as avoiding certain situations or people that trigger distressing memories. This can limit an individual’s opportunities for growth and development.
  5. Physical symptoms: Trauma can also lead to physical symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, and sleep disturbances, which can affect an individual’s ability to function effectively in their daily life.

It is important to note that everyone’s experience with trauma is different, and the impact of trauma on an individual’s potential can vary depending on the severity and duration of the trauma, as well as the individual’s coping mechanisms and support network.

We see high performers masking the affects of trauma, and the energy to mask takes away from the energy they have to fulfil potential. You can learn more about our Pretender Model and take our test here: Pretender Positions Test.

The impact of pretending is emotional dysregulation which shows up in the following ways.

  1. “Pushing through” emotions: High performers may feel pressure to maintain a certain level of productivity or success, and may try to “push through” difficult emotions to meet their goals. This can involve suppressing or ignoring emotions, which can lead to emotional dysregulation over time.
  2. Perfectionism: High performers may also have high expectations for themselves, which can lead to perfectionism. Perfectionism can be a way of avoiding difficult emotions, such as fear of failure or self-doubt, by striving for flawlessness in everything they do.
  3. Emotional detachment: Some high performers may develop a tendency to detach from their emotions and focus on logic and reason instead. This can help them remain calm and composed in stressful situations, but it can also lead to emotional suppression and difficulty in relating to others.
  4. Self-medication: High performers may turn to substances or other self-medicating behaviours to manage difficult emotions, such as stress or anxiety. This can be a way of masking emotional dysregulation, but it can also lead to further problems if the behaviour becomes addictive or destructive.

These behaviours prevent the person from fulfilling potential.

In order to move a person closer to their full potential we must work with them in a 360 degree way and nudge them towards six key outcomes.

Positive Belief System
Abundance Mindset 
Stabilised Trauma Response 
Empathic Perspective 
Deep Self Awareness 
Authentic Self-Value 

The Paseda360 coach training programmes teach you the coaching philosophy, tools and techniques to help clients get unstuck, find the real them and unlock the potential. 

Find out more about our courses here: Paseda360 courses.

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