Performing Under Pressure Training

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence curriculum

A single event is not enough – no matter how great it is. The following is a full curriculum of training programs that build on each other. Only by creating a sustained learning curriculum, can real behavior change occur over time.


Performing Under Pressure:
The Science of Leadership and Performance

Why do smart people fail? Why do technically brilliant individuals have trouble managing others and collaborating on a team? It is not because they lack intelligence or technical skills. Far from it. What they lack is a critical level of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and the ability to manage their own emotions and others’ when they are under pressure.

Do you want to create a culture where more of your leaders manage emotions skillfully?  Click here to learn more about becoming certified to deliver our Emotional Intelligence programs at your organization.

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Whether you are a formal manager or want to increase your individual performance (or both), this program will teach you the foundational principles and brain science of Emotional Intelligence (EI). You will become a student of human behavior: understanding what your brain does under pressure and how that affects your decision making and the impact you have on others.

In this emotional intelligence leadership course, you will increase your personal leadership by learning how to manage your emotions in your most difficult moments, enabling you to perform and lead at your best, and connect with others in a more meaningful way.

In this program, you will:

  • Learn the brain science of emotions that drives your behavior under pressure
  • Increase your awareness of the situations that put you at risk of having your emotions lead to unskillful behavior and poor decisions
  • Have the option to utilize our state-of-the-art EI360 feedback assessment to increase self-awareness of the 11 key EI competencies that drive your success
  • Learn practical strategies to help you respond more skillfully as pressure, tension and complexity increase
  • Identify patterns, triggers and emotional habits that either drive or derail your performance
  • Learn to suspend judgment – become ‘more curious and less certain’ – to effectively engage and influence others
  • Understand how to be an effective coach and help others develop the skills to perform under pressure
  • Practice techniques through interactive exercises and develop an action plan to put those strategies into practice

This training program will help you improve your own personal leadership by learning to manage your emotions and perform at your best when you are in high pressure situations. You will also gain critical skills that will enable you to influence and coach others, regardless of your position in your organization.

This program is the foundation of IHHP’s learning curriculum for helping you lead and perform under pressure; it is followed by the Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When it Matters Most and Performing Under Pressure: The Three Conversations of Leadership.


Emotional Intelligence can often sound “soft and squishy”, especially to highly analytical and technical audiences. Well, it turns out that’s one of our areas of expertise – engaging people who are more analytical in nature in order to develop their Emotional Intelligence. We do this through our EI training programs by ensuring they:

  • Clearly outline the business case for developing emotional intelligence
  • Are grounded in brain science and research on human behavior and performance
  • Are applicable to the challenging situations and relationships people face every day
  • Increase self-awareness, through self-assessment and/or an EI360 feedback tool
  • Provide techniques that people can use in their business and personal life right away
  • Are part of a sustained learning program that includes continued training and coaching
According to John Kotter of Harvard Business School:

“Because of the furious pace of change in business today, difficult to manage relationships sabotage more business than anything else – it is not a question of strategy that gets managers and leaders into trouble, it is a question of emotions.”

Companies who invest in developing their managers’ emotional intelligence will see these behaviors demonstrated:

  • They are able to listen to others without jumping to conclusions
  • They are able to admit to their mistakes and take personal accountability
  • They are able to remain calm under pressure and keep everyone around them calm
  • They are able to receive feedback and criticism without becoming defensive
  • When coaching, they connect to the emotions that drive people’s behaviors
  • They do not avoid difficult conversations and are able to hold people accountable in a motivating way

NY Times Bestseller


Performing Under Pressure:
Doing Your Best When it Matters MostAmazon best seller


This program is based on the New York Times and Amazon bestselling book‘Performing Under Pressure’

Leadership is not easy, especially under pressure.  Pressure changes how the brain functions; it diminishes our ability to think, make decisions and connect with others in a meaningful way. With pressure increasing in all aspects of our lives, the ability to manage pressure is one of the key differentiators of high performing managers and leaders.  Failing to manage pressure has become a significant reason why smart people fail.

Buy your copy of the Performing Under Pressure book now!


Free Webinar: The Pressure of Doing More with Less
Date: December 4th @ 12:00pm (est)
Learn more

In this keynote and training program, you will learn:

  1. How to better manage pressure so it becomes a competitive advantage for you in growing your career and in helping your organization drive performance
  2. Research from our study of 12,000 people and what the top 10% did to excel under pressure
  3. Three pressure insights that will help you avoid the sabotaging effective of pressure
  4. Stories of leaders and organizations who have managed pressure effectively to succeed
  5. How pressure affects your brain and strategies you can use to perform under pressure in the moment
  6. Longer term ‘COTE of Armor’ (Confidence, Optimism, Tenacity, Enthusiasm) strategies that help inoculate you against pressure and increase your confidence as you walk into a pressure situation

This program is based on the ground breaking book, Performing Under Pressure, The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most, published by Crown Business/Penguin Random House in February, 2015.   For this New York Times bestselling book, co-authored by noted psychologist Hendrie Weisinger and IHHP’s J.P. Pawliw-Fry and , IHHP undertook a seven year study of more than 12,000 subjects from around the world.  We learned what the top 10% performers do to succeed under pressure!

Performing Under Pressure will help you drive engagement, innovate, grow, increase customer service and succeed in the face of constantly increasing pressure. Organizations like Goldman Sachs, Intel, Coca-Cola, NASA, and the U.S. Navy and Army, as well as Olympic athletes and NBA teams, have benefited from IHHP’s cutting edge approach to performing under pressure.

This program may be taken stand-alone or can be preceded by our foundational Performing Under Pressue: The Science of Emotional Intelligencetraining, which is a pre-requisite for Performing Under Pressure: The Three Conversations of Leadership

Want to know how well you are performing under pressure?  Take the Pressure quiz!



Performing Under Pressure:
Building Trust and Accountability

People want to make relationships work with their managers, teams, and peers. They want to give formal and informal feedback that improves accountability, clarity and performance. They want to bring their ideas and concerns to the table regardless of who is in the room.

We all have relationships that aren’t working. This is not surprising, given how the pressure of time and need for results can cause people to have impact they don’t intend. What is surprising, however, is the lack of skill and ability most people have to deal with the relationships that aren’t working.  Leaders want to make their relationships work. They want to give performance reviews that make a difference. They want to bring their ideas and concerns to the table regardless of who is in the room, and they want to be better leaders. Most, unfortunately, are just not sure where to begin.

In order to help leaders have conversations that build both trust and accountability, we have identified three critical conversations that need to take place: Daily, Difficult and Courageous Conversations.
The challenge is that under the pressure to drive results, people often avoid these conversations entirely, or they ignore the Last 8% Conversation™.

What is the Last 8% Conversation? In a feedback conversation, a performance review or a difficult conversation – when pressure increases, many individuals choose to avoid (sometimes unknowingly) the last and most important part of the conversation – the part that really needs to be said. Under pressure,  emotions and distorted thinking can get in the way, sabotaging an individual’s best intention to do the right thing and have the full conversation.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

This program builds on the foundation of Emotional Intelligence and will enable you to:

  • Understand the importance and impact of three critical types of conversations: Daily, Difficult and Courageous Conversations
  • Leverage insight from the brain science of emotions to have more effective conversations
  • Learn techniques to have high impact daily coaching conversations that build trust and drive results, even in time-constrained, pressure-filled environments
  • Practice having difficult conversations in a way that allows you to speak your truth and get to the “last 8%”, while not emotionally triggering the other person. Examples include:
  • Engaging people by creating emotional connection when rolling out change
  • Delivering bad news or saying “no” in a way that ensures a person is still valued and understands the message
  • Providing continuous coaching about behavior, performance and impact
  • Managing up and across when we have limited or no direct authority
  • Understand the importance of having a developmental mindset so you can coach people to the next level of performance

There comes a time when we need to have a difficult conversation in the workplace. This program will provide you with the knowledge and techniques required to have the critical conversations that you know you need to have. These kinds of conversations are never easy, but we need the skills to have them in order to consistently drive performance.

The Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Emotional Intelligence program is a pre-requisite for Performing Under Pressure: The Three Conversations of Leadership. This program may be preceded by or followed by Performing Under Pressure: Doing Your Best When it Matters Most.

There comes a time when every manager in a business must have a difficult conversation in the workplace. The Conversations Under Pressure program from IHHP will provide you with the knowledge and techniques required to have the critical conversations that you know you need to have. We all need to have those difficult conversations, where you will be delivering bad news, making decisions that impact others, providing candid feedback and holding people responsible for their actions. These kinds of conversations are never easy, but people need the skills to have them in order to consistently drive performance.
Through our research, we have identified three types of conversations required in order to have effective communication in the workplace. In the Conversations Under Pressure program, people will be provided with insight, techniques and practise on how to be skillful at:

The Daily Conversation

These are the more frequent conversations that a manager has with peers, staff and senior managers. We characterize daily conversations as having low emotional risk to both you and the other person. The daily conversation can take place in a team meeting, as part of coaching a staff member or peer, in the process of delegating or getting an update on the progress of a task or project, or even through an e-mail. A daily conversation is often not planned. It could happen when someone drops in your office with a question or concern or when a colleague is dealing with a problem. The conversations sound unimportant, but participants will learn how critical they are to setting the stage to less common and more effective Difficult and Courageous Conversations.

The Difficult Conversation

These are the conversations that leaders have with peers, staff and senior managers that are more difficult to have because there is greater risk and they are often not comfortable to have. It entails greater risk because the person on the receiving end might be hearing something they do not want to hear. This could be the conversation where a manager ‘holds’ a person accountable or is delivering ‘bad’ news. There is an obvious potential for the conversation to get personal. This is why managing emotions within the conversation is so important. If a person starts to take the feedback personally, they will ‘emotionally ‘hijack’ and not be able to hear the feedback. If these conversations are not handled skillfully, the person will become disengaged and demotivated.

The Courageous Conversation

Most of us know when they are “courageous conversations” because we still have not worked up the courage to have them! These are the planned conversations that affect a person’s well-being and work environment because they involve ‘personal risk’. These conversations are required when difficult conversations about the organization become personal. For a lot of participants, a conversation becomes “courageous” when it involves “managing up” – giving feedback to their direct manager or pushing back on a senior leader. It takes courage to have these conversations, but organizations where people avoid them will not thrive, respond to change or innovate.

Too often, Leadership training is looked at as being soft and squishy. That’s why our Leadership and Emotional Intelligence training programs are based on research and the science of human behavior. Understanding how your brain responds under pressure and learning techniques to react more skillfully in your critical moments will allow you to increase your performance and leadership – and be your best when it matters most!

These programs combine our 20 years of experience working with people and organizations who deal with high pressure situations – Olympic athletes, U.S. army commanders, fortune 500 companies – with our research on over 120,000 high performing business people and leaders from around the world. We have continuously improved and perfected our leadership training programs to provide a rich learning experience that will drive real behavior and culture change within your team and organization.

The Audiences

Everyone deals with pressure and all of our programs are designed to develop every person regardless of their level within their organization. Since an organization’s needs and teams differ, our programs are flexible and can be tailored accordingly in order to generate the best results based on your audience, demographics and objectives. Whether through on-site training or virtual classes, our leadership training programs work!

There are many different options and approaches for delivering our training programs that will enable employees to perform and lead under pressure.

Our programs are delivered to:

  • Senior leadership teams
  • Front line to mid-level managers
  • Emerging leaders
  • Sales leaders and sales managers
  • Individual contributors
  • New leaders / New employees

  • FREE Webinar: The Pressure of Doing More With Less
    December 4th at 12:00pm EST

    Learn More