We work with  talented individuals who want to excel as leaders and build outstanding teams

“You are here. You can get there. But you have to understand 
that what got you here won’t get you there.”

Marshall Goldsmith



We work with leaders with deep professional expertise who want to excel as leaders and evoke excellence in those they lead.
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We work with teams to mobilise their combined efforts to achieve more with greater speed and efficiency.
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No leadership or team development programme can succeed without its organisational context. We help organisations think through, plan and execute for sustainable improvement at all levels.
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Olwyn provided executive coaching for me through a period of key career progression. This time was incredibly valuable in extending my awareness, consideration and strategies for a number of valuable leadership principles: how to motivate and inspire, delegation, resilience, communication, development of personal leadership style, and many more. Outside the tangible benefit of having the chance to bounce ideas off someone as experienced, personable and insightful as Olwyn, I found the pace, structure and quality of learning at our sessions incredibly powerful for my personal and professional development. Thank you Olwyn!

Jon Addison, Head of Talent Solutions

LinkedIn UK

“My coaching engagement with Olwyn provided me with an opportunity to step away from the business periodically and discuss both my personal and business agenda to drive improvement in the strategy. A good example of her value to us was a workshop that she facilitated to galvanize my management team around our vision and set a clear mission for the business and this was very well done.”

Adam Bangle, Vice President Worldwide Sales

Adam bangle

“When I started the coaching process, I decided to fully engage with what it offered but I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But a year on, as I look back at the time that I have spent with Olwyn as my executive coach, I realise that it was extraordinary. It has truly accelerated my learning. I took the feedback and rather than getting defensive about it, I digested it and found new strategies to deal with challenging situations and people. I have grown and evolved as a leader and feel more confident in how I lead others. I have built capability and bench strength in the team and sought ways to develop them too. I start my new leadership role wiser, more confident with greater resilience to tackle what lies ahead.”

Christophe Barut, Legal Director Southern Europe

Christophe Barut

“What really worked well with Olwyn was the team building planning; the Feedback process model; the First 90 days planning for their new teams; Olwyn is a good sounding board for real-time team management planning; Building high performance teams; Personal coaching on management style and career development.”

Scott Dodds, Chief Marketing Officer

Microsoft UK
Scott Dodd

“Olwyn truly challenged me to think very differently and kept pushing me back to what I needed to focus on to be a more successful leader. She helped me to spend time thinking about this and reflecting on different approaches I could consider taking and sometimes she just helped me see the “wood from the trees”. I want to express my thanks to Olwyn for holding me true to investing time in my development and guiding me on this new journey and new experience, it’s much appreciated and I know there is still more to come!”

Caroline McClafferty, HR Director

Caroline Mcclafferty

Companies We Have Guided

  • Agilent Technologies
  • Dow Jones

Dell, EMC, Astellas Pharmaceuticals, DSM, Life Technologies, State Street, NHS, 
University of Surrey, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, BGL, 
PZ Cussons, Premier Foods, McKinsey

About Us

Pure Potential is a leadership and management development consultancy established in 2000 by Olwyn Merritt. As former business leaders ourselves, we combine our first-hand business experience with consulting and coaching skills to achieve great results with our clients.

Olwyn Merritt
Olwyn Merritt
Director & Founder
Neville Headshot Smart Cropped 1000px
Neville Merritt

We work with senior executives, directors, high potential individuals and teams at board level in major blue-chip companies and fast-growing SMEs to develop their people and deliver greater value to their organizations.


We specialize in the high tech, pharmaceutical and financial services sectors in the UK, mainland Europe, North America and Asia.


As experienced business executives, we know the importance of measurable results. We have worked with our clients for many years and seen the tangible rewards through our systematic approach to development.

Unique Approach

We bring a practical, not just a theoretical approach to our clients. We work as your business partner, and invest time in understanding what you are trying to achieve first. We then design our programmes to integrate with your strategic objectives.

Field Notes

Insights, inspiration and ideas. Observations on real-life challenges that our clients are facing, and practical strategies to address them.


Four ways to re-ignite your team

At an Executive Workshop I ran this week, I was asked by a senior manager for specific advice for motivating, delegating increasing team performance. This is a common request but he seemed particularly troubled. I asked him to tell me a little more about his team. “My team is made up of some significantly different personalities. They seem motivated by different things, their ability to do the job varies and


There is somebody out there talking about you

Whether you know it or not, like it or not, there is someone out there talking about you. They are not making things up – in fact they are only repeating what you have told them. The problem is, you may not have told them enough to create the right impression. Worse still, you may have told them something which is now way out of date but they are still


Important or Urgent – can you prioritise both?

Recently I was asked to help a senior team of dedicated professionals who provided a key advisory role to the board in a major multinational. They wanted to be even more effective as demands on their time increase, but were facing challenges. It is a familiar story. Their challenges are similar to the challenges many of us are experiencing in our work: too many emails; too many demands; feeling we

How to hit sales targets

How to hit revenue targets without worrying about sales

The Problem How many sales meetings, executive meetings and board meetings have we all endured where sales results are behind expectations and most of the meeting is taken up by micro-analysing every sale in its final stages to see if it can be closed? A lot. In fact, I can remember only a handful that were relaxed and that was because the year’s quota was in the bag already. How


From university to your company: how ready are graduates?

In my experience, today’s graduates are bright, driven and great fun to have on board. But perhaps not quite as ready as we thought. Apart from the fortunate ones who were able to spend a placement year in industry (which thank goodness is becoming more common), many graduates will previously have had relatively low-paid, short term jobs probably in hospitality or retail. Even the more applied subjects like business studies

Inner game of tennis Andy Murray

Our Favourite Books on Inspiration: “The Inner Game of Tennis”

The Inner Game of Tennis – Timothy Gallwey At first glance, his book would seem to be suitable for tennis players but it so much more. Best-selling author Timothy Gallwey tackles the problem of how human beings interfere with their own ability to achieve and learn. Based on his own experience of taking part in competitive tennis matches, he suggests that every game has actually two parts – the outer


Our Favourite Books on Teams: “The Wisdom of Teams”

The Wisdom of Teams – Jon R. Katzenbach If you’re seriously interested in diagnosing nonperforming teams and creating ones that perform, you’ll enjoy this book. This book is the result of research into why teams are important, what separates effective from ineffective teams, and how organizations can tap into the rigour of building highly effective teams which combine to make high-performance organizations. Katzenbach and Smith share their insights into what

Marshall Goldsmith Olwyn Merritt

Our Favourite Leadership Books: “What got you here won’t get you there”

What got you here won’t get you there – Marshall Goldsmith I am incredibly fortunate to be able to work with Marshall Goldsmith, world-renowned business educator and coach. Dr. Marshall Goldsmith is the leading expert in leadership behavioural coaching and has a singular ability to help top leaders get results using practical and proven methods. This book is for you if you are an ambitious executive who works hard and is


The truth behind 7 Millennial myths that can supercharge your business

Interest in the so-called Millennial Generation (those born between 1980 and 2000) has spawned a whole new industry of consultants, writers and academics, all keen to persuade us that these people are different as employees and consumers. They tell us that Millennials require a different approach to employment and management than the previous generations of Generation X and Baby Boomers, but is that really true? There have been a number

Shackleton leadership lessons

Our Favourite Leadership Books: “Shackleton’s Way”

Shackleton’s Way  – Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparelli If you are seeking an inspiring book about a leader who showed the true essence of great leadership under pressure, then this book will not disappoint. From 1914 to 1916, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men survived the wreck of their ship, Endurance, in the crushing Antartic ice, stranded twelve hundred miles from civilisation with no means of communication and no hope

Diverse Business People Working in a Conference

Why Sales can no longer be a silo – collaboration rules!

Recently I heard someone say that the behaviour of the modern savvy buyer has caused the traditional sales model to be turned on its head. I’m not sure about that, but it definitely needs to be turned 90 degrees to the right. The traditional product cycle was to develop a product or service, pass it to marketing to promote, marketing would pass leads to sales and sales would follow up with

value proposition workshop from Pure Potential

Customers want value, not “solutions”!

When I first moved into a sales role, it was drummed into me that I was to sell “solutions”, not products. Solution selling became the mantra for decades, and it even became a trademarked methodology. Unfortunately, the term has become so over-used in sales circles that it is in danger of becoming meaningless. If you ask a sales executive if they sell products or solutions, they will usually say “Solutions,

Happy business colleagues communicating in elevator

How to quickly create a strong elevator pitch

I am constantly amazed by the number of elevator pitches I read that are either not elevator pitches, or are just plain bad. Every executive, marketing and sales person needs one for their company and proposition, and everyone who wants to increase their reputation and network needs a personal elevator pitch too. Here is a simple formula for creating a great elevator pitch. Before I continue, it is worth a

Martin_Knoller Cicero

The most persuasive business quote ever

It is not widely known that Marcus Tullius Cicero, the outspoken Roman politician who lived from 106-44BC, ran a Management Academy. There is absolutely no historical evidence for this, but if you analyse one of his more famous quotes you know that must have been true. I use this in many of my sales, negotiation and communication workshops facilitated by Pure Potential. “If you wish to persuade me, you must

PowerPoint Tips from cavemen

Five brilliant PowerPoint tips from cavemen

I have always suspected that the human species has not evolved much physically and mentally in the last ten thousand years or so, although the social evolution has been amazing. Watching David Phillips’ superb TEDx talk recently I discovered that there is a discipline called Evolutionary Psychology which investigates that very topic. This is about the hard-wired human behaviour, evolved to keep us alive in primitive times, that is still


Three great tips that will transform your presentations (from Aristotle!)

Back in the day, before PowerPoint, before overhead projectors, even before printed words on a page, skilled orators would wow audiences with nothing but their words and personality. How, I hear you ask, could anyone possibly present without a PowerPoint deck? It is worth having a look at Aristotle’s views on Rhetoric, because what captivated and persuaded audiences over two thousand years ago holds true now – we haven’t evolved


Unlock the power of your tribe

Our physical evolution has progressed infinitely slowly over millions of years. By contrast, our social evolution is progressing at a rapid pace, and it is easy to overlook the fact that our minds and bodies remain the same as we were thousands of years ago when society was very different. Our brains contain the Limbic system, shared with other mammals, and its function is to help us survive. That part

Crowd carrib

How to market and sell to people who are not buying

“We need more sales leads” “Nobody’s buying at the moment” “It’s a numbers game” Familiar? According to one of the top sales training companies, 90% of the people we are trying to sell to are not in buying mode. So how do you find a buyer? Some telemarketing teams are still trawling through lists in the traditional way, with a much less that 10% success rate. That is not a

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A treasure trove of videos, podcasts and light reads that will help you on your way. More in-depth guides are circulated to our Ascent Club members. If you would like access to our free Ascent Club resources please register here

Amy Cuddy

Our Favourite TED talks: “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are”

Amy Cuddy, Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, on the proven link between what we do and hormones, which in turn affects what we do and how we are perceived. This is especially interesting for leaders working on developing their executive presence.

Sir Ken Robinson Wikimedia

Our Favourite TED Talks: “Do schools kill creativity?”

The classic TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson on creativity and perception of talent. Ten million views later it still resonates.

Leadership Coaching from Pure Potential

Next Step Leadership Fitness Test

A 16-page self-assessment and guide  designed to help you develop awareness of and focus on the key areas that will improve your performance as a true leader. It is based on our  “Five Signature Leadership Capacities” from the Ascent leadership development programme.