For leaders driven to excel and build exceptional teams


We work with leaders with deep expertise who want to achieve outstanding results through those they lead.


We work with senior teams to mobilise their combined efforts to achieve more, quickly and effectively.


We help organisations think through, plan and execute their leadership and team development strategies.


Executive Coaching for Leaders and Senior Teams

Olwn Merritt Executive CoachSuccessful leaders often have to transition from functional expert to a broader, enterprise wide role. They must push past their comfort zone, think strategically and influence beyond their function. They need to demonstrate executive presence and inspire confidence in others.

High performing teams don’t happen by accident. Many talented groups don’t achieve their potential because of conflict, distrust and individual interests. Successful teams unite around a compelling purpose and rely on every member playing their part and being accountable for the results.

Both transitioning to senior leadership and becoming a successful team require people to embark upon new journeys.  Leaders and teams need to practice, build new habits and learn from their experiences. A highly experienced coach will support and challenge you along the way and maximise the chances of success.

I have found that both leaders and senior teams realise their full potential only when that journey is in the context of their organisation and ecosystem. I have been on that journey myself as a leader in lean start-ups, rapidily growing companies and large corporates. I have spent the last 20 years working with leaders and senior teams as they transition to greater success. I would welcome the opportunity to work with you too.

Read more about Olwyn Merritt ….


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

Dell EMC

“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


“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

“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


Companies We Have Guided

  • Dow Jones Logo
  • Cognizant_logo
  • Agilent Technologies
  • Vmware logo

DellEMC, Astellas Pharmaceuticals, DSM, Life Technologies, State Street, NHS, University of Surrey, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, BGL, McKinsey, Cognizant, Maersk, VMWare, Refinitiv, Suse, Xero, eBay, Takeda

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 Square
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.

Tom Fishburne - Agile

How to become an Agile Organisation in 2021

Twenty years ago, 17 software engineers went on a skiing holiday. When they weren’t on the slopes, they shared their frustrations about the way software was being developed at the time. To address these, they came up with a Manifesto for Agile Software Development for faster delivery, greater responsiveness and to continually meet customer requirements. Agile Development is now in widespread use and the principles have been adopted to transform the wider

Medical team


Many senior teams are being restructured during the current crisis.  The stakes are high. The risks are considerable. Ensuring teams are aligned from the outset is crucial. Studies show that about 80% of aviation accidents occurred when it was the first time the crew flew together. Mistakes in operating theatres are more often made when team members have never worked together before. There is a new urgency for teams to


THE BEHAVIOURS THAT LEADERS MUST EXHIBIT TO AVOID EXTINCTION Everyone agrees that leaders today need to embody vision, energy, authority, and strategic direction. But truly inspirational leaders possess something more – in fact, four distinct qualities. They are able to: Balance sensing with transmitting. They don’t just transmit messages regardless of the context or the climatic conditions. They sniff the air and sense what is going on in their teams

How to stick with a new habit

People have trouble making lasting changes. Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit talks about the importance of developing new habits. Much of the advice offered recommends that we change who we are in the process. But what we need is to understand the science behind lasting change and then create a process that fits who you are. With regard to the science, Sean Young in his excellent book, “Stick with

How to tap into human instincts to build engagement

Our amazing brains do more than think. They have additional activities running constantly in the background, just as they have done for thousands of years to keep us alive in times of extreme danger. Most of us don’t have to worry about predators lurking behind rocks anymore. Instead we can use that hidden brain activity to help build relationships and influence others: customers, colleagues, stakeholders, friends and of course family.

How great leaders use communication as an agent of change

Highlights for Leaders by Olwyn Merritt Change is both scary and exhilarating in equal part. Many of the leaders who I coach are experiencing significant change in their organisations. They often are very clear about their goals in transforming their organisations, but they can face challenges in their communications to those they have to lead or influence in these testing times. Nancy Duarte’s excellent book “Illuminate” offers some great examples

5 Steps to Ensure Your Training Investment Leads to Results

……. “We spend money on training but we don’t see any result – is it worth it?” This is a common reaction at senior level, particularly in times of uncertainty where every discretionary spend is under scrutiny. My response is: make it worth it. The purpose of training is to change something – increase knowledge, improve skills or change behaviour. There is no point in training without paying close attention

Group of people

How to influence without authority

We often find ourselves working in matrix environments, working in virtual teams or simply trying to get something done by someone in another part of the business. This common aspect of our working lives has a common challenge: how to influence other people to help us or do something for us, when they don’t report to us. Pulling rank or bullying might work once, but we need to build a

How to transform your team’s performance and engagement using game psychology

Anyone who plays popular computer games or has children that do, will confirm that they can be highly engaging to the point of being addictive – particularly the massively multiplayer online (MMO) games. If people can be so engaged with gaming, why can’t they be as engaged in the workplace? A simple analysis of game psychology shows that there are a number of concepts that can be adopted very easily.

Gerald Rosen

How to deliver complex messages – successfully!

I am sure we have all done it – you have a great idea, an important message or a brilliant product and you explain it to your audience of colleagues, team or customers. But they don’t get it! How can this be? Surely they could see how compelling this is. But they couldn’t. Many of us fall into the trap of being so enthused about our message that we go


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

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

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

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, but before that it is worth a

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

See all Field Notes