Every client I work with is required to take a DISC Assessment. It’s an acronym for four basic descriptors of a person’s behavior: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. How people answer the questions, and I tell people not to dwell too long on the answers, is always a compass that helps me to coach them, and helps them identify and even dispute the results.
The specific result report I work with is 68 pages long. Really! All that from a survey that takes most people no more than half an hour - 45 minutes to complete. However, the contents are invaluable and become the roadmap to understanding your strengths, challenges, behaviors and motivators.
This data can seem overwhelming, and there is terminology that might hinder you from digging into it. This is why I strongly suggest that you resist the temptation from finding a test online to unpack on your own. You are a complex being, so even if you understand the results, you may not understand what they mean.
Here are the key areas I look at when I receive a client’s results, and how they can influence the course of coaching:
Natural v Adaptive Styles
Often I meet with people who are unhappy, but not all of them are struggling financially. Some do very, very well in their positions, but just aren’t in a good place. Often, when we look at their natural style — how people are at their core — versus their adaptive style, which is how people must modify their behavior to meet the challenges of their environment. The more disparate that these two factors score in any facet, the higher the likelihood for stress.
For example, let’s say you are someone who is naturally social. You love to initiate conversations, you have high needs for interaction in order to stimulate creativity. You have a fairly lucrative job at a company that requires you to focus on your own projects, with little opportunity for collaboration. So your natural tendencies really have to be reined in, and over time, that’s going to create a great deal of stress for you.
Our job is then to identify these areas and work on how you can manage potential obstacles while also realizing your strengths in overcoming them. We look at how preferred communication strategies can help you become more successful in your career, including how others can best communicate with you.
Perception - how you see yourself as well as how others perceive you, under moderately and extremely stressful situations.
What words can be used across the DISC spectrum to describe you? What specific traits do you recognize immediately and which ones surprise you? This is a good opportunity to develop your own self-awareness and work to make conscious changes for any that could sabotage your goals. So, for my sales clients, people who score as a high D (dominance) usually have traits that lend to great success in that field, like ambitiousness, determination, competition.
However, I get concerned when someone scores low in these areas, because they likely are coming to see me because they are struggling, and I point out why. The decision then becomes whether they are willing to put in the work to make serious changes, or if they need to find another line of work.
Time Wasters - what characteristics do you have that can negatively impact your effectiveness. Once you recognize those, you can work to find solutions and create a plan to become more effective.
You’ve likely heard the phrase “Know your why.” It’s a simple phrase that addresses the key to success. What motivates you? What excites you to make you want to jump out of bed every morning, eager to get the day started? When you can hone in on THAT, your goals remain in front of you every day, as you do the work every day to reach them.
Then, examining what types of motivators are your strongest and your least strong, you can explore what areas you may struggle in and how to navigate through them. On the other hand, you will also identify what an ideal environment is based on your top two motivators.
While we’re all works in progress, we all possess competencies that make us shine. The assessment wraps with an overview of skills and how well developed you are in each of them. This is your opportunity to capitalize on those skills you’ve nailed, and work on those that you feel will help you achieve success.
While taking the assessment takes less than an hour, the results and their analysis are meant to take a lifetime to incorporate in your personal development. Every day. To reach every goal.