Interview - Dr. Fergus Connolly

Performance Under Pressure

Full Interview-


Dr. Fergus Connolly is a keynote speaker and high-performance coach.  Learn about his experience with entrepreneurs, corporate business leaders, professional athletes, and Navy Seals in the blog overview, or by watching the full interview video.

Personal Performance speaker and author, Dr. Fergus Conolly is an active performance coach. He works with high performers in athletics, US Special Forces, business, and entrepreneurs. Dr. Conolly is a PhD and he has studied the successful performance of high achievers in all sorts of sports across the world. He has worked as a coach or consultant for professional Rugby, American football, National Basketball League, cricket, Major League Baseball, and more. He’s also worked with popular sports teams such as Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, San Francisco 49ers, Liverpool Football Club, and Welsh National Rugby Team to name a few. Dr. Conolly now helps individuals improve and achieve their success by reaching their optimal performance.
Working with high achievers from various industries was the biggest learning experience for Dr. Conolly. What is common with these high achievers is having to perform with extreme pressure, extreme stress, and deliver something they’ve practiced and having to sustain that over a period of time and keep improving. On top of it all, they have to manage their personal lives. The principles are the exact same.
When we turn on the TV to see a movie or watch a game, we expect to see the result or what happens to the storyline. What happens behind the camera that the business person doesn’t see is the extreme stress and pressure that it took to achieve high performance. They don’t realize that they share the same stress and pressure that can be simple as having a hard time sleeping the night before a big presentation or something more personal like dealing with relationships or managing their kids. According to Fergus, we all experience the same thing as a high performer and it’s all about learning how to manage it. It also is important that the business person recognize that there is not one single way to do it.
One area that Dr. Connolly looks out for in individuals is the concept of purpose. We all start our careers with a purpose and we work very hard on it. As an individual gets older or there’s been a change in life, that purpose becomes a little bit greyer and harder to recognize, very much like what you see with athletes who retire or get injured or military in transition. For Dr. Conolly, it is helping people to understand the importance of that purpose and recognizing that it is important.
Another area that is particularly important in achieving high performance is health and wellness. Dr. Conolly, as a performance coach, explains and introduces lifestyle habits and makes sure that it is consistent. He also shares the skills that are needed to continue to grow and develop to be able to lead and manage others.
For Dr. Conolly, one of the detrimental things to being a high performer is when individuals are not taking enough time to look after themselves because they are very focused on achieving their goals. When it starts to become routine, it gives a knock-on effect to their performance. Dr. Conolly helps people break that cycle.
One of the common questions that Dr. Conolly gets asked is how to build a team and culture that is supportive and can achieve something together. For Dr. Conolly, the core of that is honesty and authenticity. By being honest with each other and bringing your most authentic self to the group will allow you to build trust. Honesty and authenticity paired with a vision will draw people together.
Leadership groups and executives will benefit the most from his training because the value that he teaches is empowerment. For Dr. Conolly, it’s about empowering and recognizing that everybody is a little bit different and helping them find those keys that allow them to do that one thing that they do exceptionally well and continue to do it.
One area that Dr. Conolly focuses on when speaking about management is the idea of facility. Facility is when we allow people to grow within the group and recognizing the importance of diversity, leveraging that diversity, and recognizing its value to the company. “Diversity is important.” Dr. Conolly believes that when you explore diversity, equality, and inclusion, you recognize the value that different experiences have and bring to the table.
For a person to become a high performer, Dr. Conolly spends a lot of time on how to develop a person over time and not rushing into certain things. He helps individuals understand the importance of their own physical and mental health as they do that.
Dr. Conolly gets excited working with people who want to make a difference and who are going to impact so many people whether through their product, vision, or service. For Dr. Conolly, the time he’s working is the time he enjoys and where he gets his energy from.