Andrea Naylor

Andrea Naylor currently leads Talent Development across the Etihad Airways group and supports the business with coaching, mentoring and leadership development initiatives. Andrea has 30+ years of experience in the fields of Career Guidance, Leadership Development, Organizational Development and Coaching. She has held a number of senior positions within Career and Employability services in the UK and in Universities in the UAE including Head of Career Services at Zayed University; and Guidance Operations Director at Abu Dhabi University, where she led a number of career development programmes on behalf of Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council. Andrea holds an MA in Strategic Human Resources and Professional Certified Coach (PCC) status accredited with ICF. Andrea is certified with the BPS as a Qualified Test User for ability and personality measures. She holds credentials in Development Centre management and design. Andrea has developed significant practical experience and expertise over 10+ years in the application of the AQR Mental Toughness Questionnaire suite of tools – particularly the MTQPlus - which she uses to support her coaching practice in Executive, Leadership and Performance Coaching. Andrea is now an accredited Master Trainer for the MTQ Product family. Andrea is a Leadership Coach and Co-founder of Energi lab, a coaching and consultancy company based in the UAE. Her interest is to help individuals to not only manage but thrive in their organizations and in their lives. Much of her work is focused on successfully building coaching programmes for individuals and teams within client organisations.


Mental Toughness: Placing resilience in context to create a "lens" shedding new insights on key issues in people development

Mental Toughness is a concept long understood to be important in people and organisation development.

It is a personality trait which describes how we respond mentally to stress, pressure, opportunity and challenge. Linked to meta-cognition, it explains in part how we think when events occur around us. In turn this helps us to understand why we behave the way we do.

With a provenance stretching back to Plato’s Fortitude and the Stoics, recent research carried by Dr Perry, Doug Strycharczyk and Professor Clough identified 8 factors which combine to create a picture of mental toughness and mental sensitivity.

These factors are closely related to

Resilience – our ability to recover from an adverse situation and

Positivity – our approach to life – seeing threat or opportunity in situations.

This allows us to consider resilience in a wider context than just a survival strategy. The interplay with positivity explains how we can do more – how we can prosper, first explored by Suzanne Kobasa in her work on Hardiness.

This granularity, the multidimensionality of Mental Toughness, is important and very useful to the practitioner and the researcher alike.

Firstly, there are many approaches exploring this area. The mental toughness concept has a capability to explain approaches such as mindset, grit, resilience, attitude, positive psychology, etc in one overarching concept.

Secondly, and very important from the practitioner’s and the leader’s perspective, the framework appears to work well as a “lens” through which other ideas, important for good practice in people can be understood – and how these play out to resilience and mental toughness.

The eight factors can examine issues such as leadership, teamworking, trust, psychological safety, curiosity, innovation, etc in a way that sheds new light and understanding on each and from more than one perspective. Doing so in a way that enables the connections between those issues to be understood too.

Usefully, a by-product of the research was the development of a psychometric measure – the MTPlus – which brings a capability for diagnosis and for evaluation to an aspect of personality otherwise very difficult to assess reliably.

The mental toughness concept is an “enabler” bring a capability to understand the complexity of human behaviour in an accessible way.

Attendees will:

Learn what mental toughness

Participate in an exercise which illustrates its application

Be able to discuss with those already using the concept the potential applications of the concept and the associated measure


Andrea Naylor