Potential in Me

Potential in Me

4. Quality Education 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

Overview

Potential in Me helps teenagers and young adults unleash their true potential and build a better future through life coaching, workshops, and training. The organization also supports adults who work with and care for young people.


Authors

Arlene Swinton

Arlene Swinton

Jude Sloan-Dennison

Jude Sloan-Dennison

Heather Son

Heather Son

Laura Ross

Laura Ross

School

Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow Caledonian University

Professor

Leslie Huckfield

Leslie Huckfield

Innovation

Potential in Me is an organization established in 2009 based in Glasgow, Scotland, that was founded by Scott Hay. The organization helps teenagers and young adults unleash their true potential and build a better future through life coaching, workshops, and training. In addition, they also provide workshops to adults who work with and care for young people. This is done through a person-centered approach where young people are seen as who they are rather than their circumstance. Potential in Me focuses on the simplest way for young people to achieve their goals, however big or small, and dedicates their time to changing things that create ripples that have substantial impacts more often than realized.

Potential in Me

Inspiration

Scott Hay’s inspiration stemmed from his background in coaching and mentoring. He had previously worked in the financial sector for years and found himself getting involved in different community projects. He realized that his passion grew from directly working with young people in schools or children in family centers. This type of work inspired Scott to leave the financial sector and encouraged him to set up his own company as a social enterprise and community interest company. He stated: “It’s quite important to me that we are actually giving to the community.”

The company works with not only young people but also the adults around them, creating a network of support. Potential in Me believes in the many influences that adults have on young people, both negatively and positively. Going back to the interview, Scott believed his inspiration grew from his belief that “we always see life through one lens, through our own eyes, and sometimes you don’t see things from other perspectives that could help you to overcome challenges you’ve got in life, school, or at home.”

Scott’s passion and the promise of self-fulfillment due to helping others inspired the set-up of Potential in Me as a social enterprise that not only seeks to benefit young people but also promotes healthy lifestyle choices within the community.

Overall impact

The short-term impacts of this innovation have given young adults substantial support in going in the right direction. The services provided enable participants to ask themselves a number of powerful questions that give them a clearer picture of what they want, why they want it, and how they are going to plan for the future they desire.

The impact of such innovation is measured through survey questionnaires given before and after the group workshops and one-to-one sessions. These include questions about an individual’s current situation and challenges. Thereafter, a verbal conversation is had around these situations and challenges. At the end of the workshop, participants complete an evaluation to measure their progress. This not only helps participants but also helps Potential in Me measure what they need to do better to improve the program and pinpoint commonalities among participants in terms of goals they still need to work on.

On average there are 10–12 participants, although in some cases there can be up to 20, especially for family workshops, and so sometimes testimonials are used for specific case studies. Another way of gaining evidence of the impacts of the program includes the "wheel of life." The wheel of life helps participants identify areas of their life that are most important to them by giving them a score from 0 to 10. A life coach would then help participants figure out how to increase the satisfaction score to 10 in a section. Sections of the wheel of life often include self-image, business/career/studies, finance/wealth, health/fitness, social/friends, romance/love, family, spirituality, personal growth, contribution, and recreation/fun. This help both the participant and Potential in Me coaches identify what steps to take.

It is hard to define the long-term impacts of this innovation. The program itself deals with people, their thoughts, their feelings, and their behaviors. Thus, these elements cannot change significantly in one session or be measured numerically. However, Scott Hay did state that one session invites participants to see the bigger picture and helps them realize that there is a possibility of a brighter future.

Business benefit

Potential in Me consists of five full-time team members who are known as their board of directors. They meet regularly to discuss the direction of workshops and plan new sessions, including activities and discussion points. Moreover, they have five occasional associates within contract when needed. There are also referral agencies the organization partners with who put families forward who could benefit from family workshops. Potential in Me is a close-knit organization, with staff members caring for each other's well-being. However, scaling the company size, Scott Hay would like to grow the company itself in the future. As they are all life coaches, Scott felt the company has this unique way of not only being there for their clients but also being there for each other.

As the services provided are subcontracted to facilitators, some of which are members of the board, they are paid as employees. The company obtains funds from the School for Social Entrepreneurs and Firstport, other social enterprises that support other social enterprises and encourage business growth that then provides employment opportunities to freelancers. Potential in Me does not have shareholders, as they are a company limited by guarantee. Thus, the board of directors then sets the guidance on how funds are to be spent.

During the workshop, Scott expressed his desire to start growing the company on the condition that he finds the right people for the job for all aspects of the organization. Scott is looking to increase geographically but also mentioned one-to-one life coaching for parents, which they currently do not provide. He believes that this potential service extension will help parents have better conversations with their children. Scott stated: “We are starting to expand a bit and hopefully reach new people. In terms of their own continuous professional development, we have a wide array of stuff they will benefit from. They will be able to learn more about their role and enhance their skills. Them getting exposure to the type of work we do, communities, families will be different, and it is rewarding.”

Social and environmental benefit

There are two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that Potential in Me has contributed towards society. These are as follows: (1) SDG 4, Quality Education; and (2) SDG 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

First, the United Nations describes the SDG for Quality Education as a goal to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” (United Nations, 2018, p. 1). With the SDG 4 targets in mind, Potential in Me contributes to equal access to technical, vocational, and higher education as well as eliminating the disparities in education for everyone, including young people in vulnerable situations. To demonstrate, most young adults in Glasgow, especially those of poorer and broken backgrounds, have always worried about their circumstances denying them the availability of affordable and quality technical, vocational, and tertiary education. Potential in Me sees this hurdle and helps young people take charge of their circumstances and turns the odds stacked against young adults who are going through challenging situations. By providing life coaching, trainings, and workshops, the organization also promotes sustainable educational development, as skills taught are learned for life. Furthermore, the organization also provides workshops for adults who work with and care for young people designed to change lives for the better through support networks.

Second, SDG 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth, “Promote[s] sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” (United Nations, 2018, p. 1). Although its main targets focus fully on economic growth, target 8.6 exemplifies the contribution made by Potential in Me. Target 8.6 states, “By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training” (United Nations, 2018, p. 4). Potential in Me has contributed to this target generally through their work alone. As the organization motivates young adults to do better in future careers, the proportion of youth not in education, employment, or training has been reduced as young adults aspire to do better.

To conclude, by contributing to the SDGs, Potential in Me has benefited society by removing significant barriers to global development. The organization helps address critical mega-trends that have affected society negatively. Potential in Me reflects the purpose of the SDGs as they play a crucial role as drivers of innovation and engines of economic growth and employment.

Interview

Scott Hay, Owner

Photo of interviewee

Keep this story going! Share below!

Potential in Me

Potential in Me

Glasgow, Lanarkshire, GB

Business Website: http://potentialin.me/

Year Founded: 2009

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Potential in Me is a community interest company that helps young people and those around them understand and reach their potential through creative life coaching as well as personal and professional development.