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Rachel Robins, Lisa Jamieson and Professor Tony Wall

People don’t usually want to listen to this stuff: combining mental toughness and coaching for self-care outcomes

Theme: Approach/school/theory
Area: Coaching
Type: Resarch (jointly with a client)
Keywords: Short coaching intervention – resilience – change management

Session on Wednesday, Jul 11th, 13:50
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Organisational contexts are experiencing complex change events, heightened emotional sensitivities, psychological challenge, and workplace stress. One response has been to develop employee capacities to positively deal with complex and challenging circumstances, through the targeting and development of mental toughness attributes. This research examines a bespoke combination of mental toughness psychometrics with coaching to target capabilities in a psychologically challenging, high-stress, environment. In this way, this research presents new evidence of (1) how mental toughness has been combined with coaching in practice and (2) the impacts of such applications in practice settings.

In terms of findings, the combination of mental toughness assessments and coaching seemed to enable a significant change in relation to the self-care practices of the participants. Specifically, 67% of employees changed their practices and were implementing new practices within two weeks of the coaching sessions. There was a strong theme of self-care driving the practices – and these included staying focused and making tough choices, seeking new challenges and taking time to go for a walk at lunch breaks. In addition, the coaching sessions also generated insights into suitable development interventions.


Dr Rachel Robins is Director of RVR Consulting and is a practicing Coach and Mentor. An active member of a research community, CIPD author, member of CIPD Merseyside and North Cheshire Branch Committee, Rachel continues to engage in research to improve her practice. Her current research interest is the role that resilience and mental toughness plays in individual and organisational improvement. She is a member of EMCC.

Lisa Jamieson is Head of Customer Services at Wirral Council in the UK, responsible for Revenues & Benefits, Payroll & Recruitment, Contact Centre and One Stop Shops and Debt Management. She is currently leading the Customer Services Department through a significant change programme by what she believes to be clear and honest direction in order to enable the delivery of exceptional results. The challenges upon her own mental toughness, confidence and resilience throughout the culture change journey led Lisa to seek coaching in her own resilience through mental toughness coaching with Dr Rachel Robins who is now working directly with Lisa in leading her Team Leader Community through this journey.

Professor Tony Wall is Director of the International Thriving at Work Research Group, University of Chester UK, and holds visiting research positions in the UK, US and Australia. He leads three Santander International Research Excellence projects and numerous practice-impact projects, each of which focusing on ‘human thriving’ in multiple cultural and ecological contexts. His consultancy and advisory work extends across multiple professional bodies to facilitate international impact (e.g. Research Policy at EMCC International; Chair at the regional level for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; and Research Lead for Lapidus International – the words for well-being association). He is also lead author of the EMCC International Research provocations report series.

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