Understanding and Assessing Mental Toughness

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Understanding and Assessing Mental Toughness

Taking Coaching to a New Level

by Doug Strycharczyk (UK)

Mental toughness is a narrow personality trait which helps to explain how individuals respond to stress, pressure, opportunity and challenge, irrespective of circumstance. Although its roots lie in resilience theory, mental toughness has emerged as a wider and potentially more useful concept. Usefully it embraces important developments in psychology such as learned optimism, Grit and Mindset.

The concept introduces an important dimension to our understating, and use of, personality.  Most personality models (and measures) focus on behavioural aspects of personality – how we act as well as how we feel when confronted by events. Mental Toughness describes how we think – why we act or respond emotionally the way we do.

This is a fundamental step in coaching and mentoring practice. What someone does can be comparatively straightforward to assess. What is creating this, inside someone’s head, is much more difficult to assess.

This takes the capability for self-awareness and reflection to another, more powerful level. Creating self-awareness is the cornerstone of coaching if one wishes to help the coachee to understand themselves and to do something about it where needed.

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Source: iCN Issue 20 (Executive Coaching); pages 15-18

About Douglas Strycharczyk

Doug is the CEO of AQR and for AQR International – Founded in 1989, AQR is now recognised as one of the most innovative (and fast growing) test publishers in the world working in more than 80 countries. AQR established its reputation initially as a leader in Team Building and leadership development. Doug’s work has been featured on BBC Television where Prof John Adair described the material as “highly effective”

Doug has more than 30 years expertise in a variety of Line, HR & Consultancy roles with a number of blue chip businesses. Doug’s areas of expertise also include Organisational Development, Senior Management/Leadership Development and Top Team Assessment.

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