All About The Disc Assessment | Executive Coaching Seattle

Hi! Welcome. (Or, if you’ve been here before, welcome back!) If you’ve landed on this post, you’re probably curious about DISC. Maybe you’ve heard of the assessment tool and want more information. Or, it’s completely new to you.

Regardless of how familiar you are, let’s take a look at what a DISC assessment is and how it might serve as a valuable tool for understanding yourself and others.

What is the DISC assessment?

A DISC assessment is a tool that measures an individual’s behavior across four behavioral continuums: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance.

Essentially, DISC is a tool to help people understand their behaviors and communication preferences in both a natural and adapted state.

The assessment creates a useful language that explains observable behaviors. Thus, creating a common language between peers, teams, leadership teams, and for the individual to “name to tame” their strengths or limitations. This allows for an improvement in communication and engagement.

According to TTI Success Insights, a DISC assessment will help you understand the “‘how’ behind your ‘why.’” Understanding the “how” allows us to have intentionality and choice in our behavior.

The DISC assessment dates back to 1928 when William Moulton Marsten, a physiological psychologist, presented the idea in his book “Emotions of Normal People.”

His research theorized that behavior is expressed through emotions that could be sorted into the four categories that make up DISC.

Why is the DISC assessment important? Can it help me?

Let’s start by saying, self-reflection can be a bit challenging. It is a bit uncomfortable to see that we have both strengths and behavioral limitations. We’re so perfectly imperfect as humans. Sometimes, when we hold up a behavioral mirror, we see areas that have lived in our subconscious. This is quite common in conversations with leaders. We often hear, “The report was freakishly accurate. I felt so seen! This report knew me so well, how do they get such accurate results with just those questions?”

So, congrats to you on exploring the sometimes uncomfortable world of self-development. The fact that you’re here, reading this post is courageous and you should be applauded for even exploring the idea.

I say that because, while self-reflection can be a bit challenging, if our leadership challenges are not addressed, it can impact our business outcomes. Long-term growth is about understanding how our thoughts and behavior impact our leadership today. From there, we can close the gap to where we want to be.

It seems safe to say, we all want to better understand ourselves. It’s not a surprise that tools like the Meyers-Briggs assessment are so popular. However, sometimes those answers can be a little too simplistic.

If you define yourself or others with easy answers, you risk boxing people into a category. DISC looks at a full spectrum of behaviors and places importance on both the high and low scores of the behavioral continuum.

Here’s an example from TTI Success Insights:

“If you have a high I score, you might get caught up in being a Promoter or embracing the Outgoing label. If you falter in a social situation (as all people do and will from time to time!) you might start to doubt yourself and your identity. This will only cause you to doubt yourself in more situations and cause more conflict down the road.”

We want to get a full picture, so we can evolve our behaviors.

Remember, there is no “right” way to behave. We all have a primary behavioral and communication style. And, all styles have limitations under stress. Not surprisingly, all styles can also adapt to be more effective. Understanding that style, and the styles of your team and teammates will improve your ability to adapt and communicate with others.

What does DISC measure?

DISC Assessment Circle

  • Dominance: This measures how you manage problems and challenges. If you have a high dominance score, you are a direct communicator. If you have a low score, you are a reflective communicator
  • Influence: This measures how you manage people and communication. If you have a high influence score, you are an outgoing communicator. A low score means you are a reserved communicator.
  • Steadiness: This measures how you manage pace and consistency. A high score means you are a predictable communicator, while a low score means you are a dynamic communicator.
  • Compliance: This measures how you manage procedures and compliance. A high score means you are a precise communicator, while a low score means you are a pioneering communicator.

It is important to note that, while each factor is important, part of the assessment’s true effectiveness is understanding how the four categories work together to create someone’s “behavioral makeup.” A DISC expert can take you through what is called a DISC debrief. A DISC debrief is a customized 1-on-1 coaching session focused on your unique behavioral makeup. Following that conversation, you’ll have the information you need to develop an action plan for behavioral shifts that might be limiting your leadership today.

As leaders, when we see how behavioral makeup impacts us as individuals and as a team, we have the ability to:

  • Prevent conflict
  • Engage team members in their preferred style
  • Have better conversations
  • Lead with care
  • Behave with intention
  • Feel less stressed
  • Create a culture that is inclusive of all styles

DISC assessments are just one of the instruments I use in my leadership coaching practice. Self-awareness is the first step in a leadership development journey. Understanding our behavioral preferences creates an actionable picture of our leadership gifts and potential reactive tendencies.

Are you interested in increasing your leadership effectiveness? Let’s talk! Book a discovery call today.


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