Mental Toughness & Copability

Mental Toughness

Mental Toughness is a psychological phenomenon first observed in elite sports men and women that differentiated ‘good athletes’ from ‘great athletes’. Indeed today, many sports psychologists, coaches and athletes believe that Mental Toughness is the single most important factor in determining who wins and who loses at the elite sporting level.


Research into Mental Toughness by elite sports psychologists in the UK and Australia has identified that it represents an athletes natural and learned ability to cope with the stress and the anxiety associated with the pressure of performance and training.  As a result they are able to consistently perform at higher levels than other physically capable athletes due to the way that they think.  These performance sustaining and stress coping benefits are what now makes Mental Toughness so appealing to businesses and business leaders.

Business mental toughness was first defined by JOWSA's founder Dr Lee Williams as part of his doctoral research at Alliance Manchester Business School. The findings of this research suggested that business mental toughness was similar in characteristics to sporting mental toughness but with contextual and characteristic differences.  Whilst it shares a core set of characteristics it also included an additional characteristic focused on leadership and influence.

Whilst business and sport have many similarities there are also many differentiating factors and as such the application on a sporting model of mental toughness in business would be improper and potentially damaging.


An overview of the 12 core characteristics of business mental toughness can be found here.

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