Working Transitions

Mental Toughness in a Changing Organisation

What is Mental Toughness?

Put simply, mental toughness is a measure of individual resilience plus confidence that may predict success. Initially used in the context of sports, the concept is now widely used across organisations looking to create a resilient and highly effective leadership team and support employees at all levels to perform at their very best.  Mental toughness is a series of attributes that allow a person to become a better performer with the ability to cope with difficult and challenging situations without losing confidence.

In sport, an elite athlete must be able to handle pressure, have self-belief and avoid external distractions. They must have the urge to win and know that they have all the capabilities to achieve anything they desire. This mindset separates ‘good’ athletes from the elite. 

What are the core components of mental toughness?

Mental toughness is a wider concept than the more broadly known ‘personal resilience’, which incorporates control and commitment. Mental toughness introduces challenge and confidence to the mix – research has shown that confidence is a key contributor to levels of resilience.

The core skills, as identified by Dr Peter Clough, include:


Control relates to your self-esteem and your sense of control over your life and emotions. Control is the extent to which you feel you are in control of your life and your ability to make a difference and change things. If you are high on control you have a good sense of who you are and what you stand for and are “comfortable in your own skin”. If you are at the other end of the scale, low on control, you will feel that events happen to you and are outside your personal control or influence.


Commitment is your focus and reliability. Being high on commitment means that you are able to effectively set goals and targets and reliably and consistently achieve them without being distracted.


Challenge relates to your drive and ability to adapt. Being high on challenge means that you are driven to be as good as you can be and to achieve your personal best. You see challenges, change, adversity and variety as opportunities rather than threats.


Confidence is your self-belief and influence and describes to what extent you believe you have the ability to perform productively and proficiently and the ability to influence others.

Life is tough. Every day we are faced with situations and stressors that challenge us.  Whether we see these situations as obstacles or opportunities depends on our mindset and our ability to see the bigger picture. If you are confident in your abilities you are much more likely to seek out the potential opportunity in such situations and reach a successful outcome.

Why are Working Transitions Partnering with AQR International?

Lynne Hardman CEO of Working Transitions says  ” During our 26 years of delivering transition support we have learned that – for most people - leading through, or facing, organisational change is not easy.  Failure to address issues of poor mental toughness can lead to an array of situations that can derail the change initiative - staff feeling a sense of being overwhelmed, lower levels of productivity, higher levels of absenteeism and poor performance. 

Individuals that are able to develop a high level of mental toughness will be more likely to rise to the challenge of a changing organisation – continuing to perform despite the pressures they might face. We’ve been impressed by AQRs highly specialist expertise in this field and the potential of their tools to provide a fresh new approach to the issue of Mental Toughness that can really help organisations and individuals to successfully navigate change at work.”

AQR International provides a range of assessments and development programmes that enable individuals and organisations to:

Identify the nature of challenge and the sources of stress and pressure – and the consequences for performance

Identify an individual’s strengths and mental toughness development needs in dealing with stressors, pressure and challenges

Implement techniques to deal and/or cope with stressors and challenges and develop their mental toughness

Create and sustain effective plans to build mental toughness and optimise performance, wellbeing and develop positive behaviours

AQR has a wealth of experience in this area and has developed a suite of highly effective mental toughness development programmes which can be are customised for specific applications


Working Transitions has teamed up with AQR International to provide a unique, bite-sized webinar exploring the importance of personal resilience and mental toughness and their role within a changing organisation.

Spaces are limited – sign up here


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Working Transitions
07 May 2019
Supporting effective and successful organisational change


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