'No Return'Life ain’t easy – but it isn’t supposed to be! How we deal with the good, the bad and the downright scary can be largely determined by our levels of Mental Toughness.


And the good news is… we can both measure and build it!

Mental toughness is defined as:

‘The capacity for an individual to deal effectively with stressors, pressures and challenges and perform to the best of their ability, irrespective of the circumstances in which they find themselves” (Clough & Earle).

Whilst not all situations require Mental Toughness and a balance of ‘mental sensitivity’ is also important, research is increasingly showing that in both work and study Mental Toughness predicts:

  • Resilience – Ability to deal effectively & recover, collei from set backs and adversity
  • Hardiness – Proactively seek & embrace challenge, adversity & opportunity
  • Performance – Volume & quality dictating up to 25% of variation in outcomes
  • Positive Behaviour – ‘Can do’ attitude, perspective, engagement & altruism
  • Aspirations – Life & career goal striving & achievement
  • Employability – Competitive edge & emotional intelligence
  • Well-being – Improved physical & mental health
  • Flourishing – ‘At our Best’ Feeling good & functioning well!


The Mental Toughness Questionnaire (MTQ48) is a validated assessment tool that measures four elements relating to how we effectively manage ourselves and how well we perform:

1. Challenge – The extent to which we see challenges and problems as opportunities and how reactive or proactive we are in seeking them

2. Control – The extent to which we feel in control of our lives and our ability to manage our emotions appropriately in response to our circumstances

3. Commitment – The extent to which we are likely to persist or stick to a task or goal and manage distractions and competing demands effectively

4. Confidence – The extent to which we have self-belief and optimism in our ability to successfully achieve goals. This is combined with how much we seek or rely on external approval and our relationship management

Remember it’s not always necessary to be ‘mentally tough’ and overplayed Mental Toughness can undermine you too. But in the challenging and stressful world in which we study and work understanding more about it through assessment and coaching can help in how we manage ourselves, support those around us and sustain our capacity to perform at our best.

If you are interested to learn more about how to access the MTQ48 to assess your own level of Mental Toughness or that of your team or family, please get in touch by visiting www.cliveleach.com

Ref: Innovations in Improving Performance. AQR Ltd. (2010) ;

Photo : ‘No Return’ by Ken Unsworth, taken at Sculptures by the Sea 2012 , Bondi

Clive Leach M.Org. Coaching is a licensed MTQ48 Practitioner. Clive works widely as a coach and facilitator within in the government, corporate and education sectors supporting individuals and organisations to feel good and function well.