About Us

In 1998 John Faisandier had a vision that he could help people manage emotions at work. He saw that people in organisations did not deal well with angry and upset customers or colleagues. He believed that people could learn to manage their own emotions and respond well to others when they were being difficult because of their emotional reactions. He wanted workplaces to become more effective and more satisfying places to work.

Over the past twenty years he’s worked with thousands of people, he’s study the research and he’s thought deeply about this topic which has led him to write a book, create stimulating workshops and develop interactive online training that produce results.


Thriving Under Fire (TUF) is a training programme to help people deal with difficult people.

  • We have worked with thousands of people since 1999
  • We understand the challenges people face when dealing with difficult people
  • Experiential learning helps participants feel what it is like to be heard and understood
  • People’s real life examples of difficult situations become the subject of the workshop
  • Principles and communication models are taught with these examples in mind
  • People practice what they learn and develop new thinking, feeling and acting in dealing with difficult people
  • Following the training, often the ‘difficult’ people are no longer difficult

Delivering TUF

  • TUF began as a face-to-face training programme and continues to be effective
  • It is delivered in different sectors and different levels of organisations
  • Over the years similarities emerged around difficult people
  • In 2013 TUF online was launched for a wider audience
  • The online format is proving very popular
  • Please explore this website to find out more about the TUF programme


John Faisandier has worked as a teacher, pastoral assistant, university chaplain, counsellor, Race Relations mediator, Life Skills tutor, psychodramatist and trainer of counsellors in a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility. For the past 14 years he has run his own business TUF: Thriving Under Fire, a training company that assists people to communicate well in a business context.

As well as these experiences John has Bachelor degrees in Anthropology and Theology, and a Masters in Adult Education (with Distinction). 

He is a Fellow of the New Zealand Association of Training and Development to which he has belonged for over 25 years, including holding office at regional and national levels. He is a member of the New Zealand Human Resources Institute (HRINZ) and the Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Psychodrama Association (AANZPA), as well as a qualified psychodramatist and a Trainer, Educator and Practitioner in Psychodrama (TEP). He was chair of AANZPA’s Ethics Committee for seven years and a trainer in the Wellington Institute for Training in Psychodrama for 10 years; an accredited speaker member of The National Speakers Association of New Zealand (NSANZ); and formerly a member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) for 10 years where he also served on their Ethics Committee.


Faisandier, John (2009) Thriving Under Fire: turn difficult customers into business success. Wellington: Steele Roberts Publishers.

John has written a variety of articles in HRINZ, NZATD and AANZPA magazines and journals over the years.


2010 – NZATD Education Trust Award for Innovation

2008 – NZATD Education Trust Award for Facilitation.


John Faisandier

Founder and Lead Facilitator

Sarah Best


Parenting education thought leader and teams, communication, leadership expert.

Sioeli Vaiangina


Especially skilled in Facilitation with Pacific peoples. Based in Auckland New Zealand.

Madeleine Taylor


Filipo Motulalo


Especially skilled in Facilitation with Pacific peoples. Based in Auckland New Zealand.

Cathy Sheppard