The Mental Toughness model and its associated measures and programmes have clear applications for any person(s) who work in areas subject to stressors, pressures and challenges.

An impressive and growing body of evidence has emerged to show that mental toughness has value wherever performance, behaviour and wellbeing is an issue, including:

 1.Business

There are several areas where the model adds considerable value.

Firstly, it is invaluable in MANAGEMENT/EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT and COACHING – either to help people identify to be more effective in key areas and cope with stressors or to show people how they can.

Secondly in organisation development, helping to identify a key aspect of an organisation’s culture

Finally, as an assessment tool in RECRUITMENT & SELECTION – enabling better fit in a critical area for good job performance.

The challenge lies in identifying what might be the causes of stress and pressure for each individual and to help the individual to become aware of these. Awareness leads to understanding, which, in turn, can lead to positive action – and improved performance.

Similarly, where the organisation and one’s peers/managers become aware of the potential causes of stress and pressure they are more able to plan and to act to minimise their impact.

 2.Young People Development

Studies carried out in schools, colleges and universities in the UK and in Holland show that there is a close link between MT and the performance of young persons in exams and tests. These studies consistently show that around 25% of the variation in a person’s performance in exams is explained by their mental toughness.

Over the past three years research and case studies has emerged which shows that mental toughness is strongly correlated with:

Performance/Attainment – clear link between mental toughness and young people’s performance in exams, tests and overall educational attainment

Behaviour – Improvements to a student’s mental toughness translates to better attendance and to positive and active participation in classes.

Retention/Drop-out rates – Mental toughness is very accurate at predicting which students are most at risk of underperforming, dropping out or failing to complete their course of study.

Employability – Higher levels of mental toughness are associated with improved employability and a person’s ability to get a job and: perhaps more importantly, a job that they want..

Transition/Productivity –the more mentally tough graduate is able to make the transition from education into the workplace more effectively. Once there they are more likely to tell their employer about their capability, skills and knowledge abilities thereby enabling this to be harnessed more readily by the employer.

  1. Sport

The sports world provided one of the two main origins for the development of mental toughness and in many ways mental toughness and how it can impact is reasonably well understood by most coaches and trainers, the key areas are:

Performance – especially in competition and training work effectively and to a high standard

Positive Behaviour – developing a “can do” approach. If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you won’t.

Wellbeing – feeling satisfied and motivated even when the going has been tough and there have been setbacks

Aspirations – being more ambitious.

AQR have developed a version of the Mental Toughness Questionnaire specifically for the Sports sector using language applicable in the sporting world. The measure enables coaches, trainers and athletes to make better assessments and identify why they do or don’t perform under the pressure of completion when they know they can perform well away from that pressure.

Mental toughness can also explain why some athletes are better suited to contact sports and why some perform better in team sports than in solitary sports.Or why an athlete of lesser ability can often beat (and often will beat) an athlete of greater ability. Described as winning mentality, mind-set, learned optimism, etc, these all describe the same or similar notions. Winner in in their mind. That’s also where losers lose too.

AQR have also developed a mental toughness development programme targeted at athletes and their coaches and trainers, called UCanWin.

This programme, which has its own accompanying workbook, aids sportspeople at all levels and includes interventions quotes and analogies relevant to the sporting world.

For more information and a free trial of our Mental Toughness measure please contact me at:  orla@aqr.co.uk

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