One of my favorite tools to use with coaching clients is the DISC model.
This popular assessment tool (originally developed by William Moulton Marsten) describes four behavioral styles (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness) using a two-dimensional model:
- Are you fast-paced and outspoken or cautious and reflective?
- Are you questioning and skeptical or accepting and warm?
The Dominance style describes someone who is direct, forceful and outspoken with their opinions.
The Influence style can be characterized as someone who is outgoing, enthusiastic, and lively.
A person with the Steadiness style is gentle, accommodating, and patient with others’ mistakes.
The Conscientiousness style describes a person who is analytical, reserved and precise.
A person’s DISC style is determined through an assessment in which a series of statements are presented. The person indicates the degree to which he or she agrees with the statement. The combined answers are then used to generate a report with the person’s primary style.
Many coaches are proponents of the DISC model because it focuses on behavior (instead of thoughts or feelings) and can be used to facilitate better conversation.
- Captain Han Solo, who impulsively charged off into the snow storm on Hoth to save Luke Skywalker, has an Influence style.
- Chewbacca is very supportive of Han and others but generally more cautious. Therefore, he fits the Steadiness style.
- C-3PO, who states “the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.” is both cautious and skeptical, thus meeting the characteristics of the Conscientiousness style.
- Princess Leia, known for her bold stance against the Empire, can be described with the Dominance style.
Most DISC assessment reports provide recommendations on how to adapt your style to communicate better with others. For example, when speaking a person with Dominance characteristics, it’s often best to let them lead and focus on results.
Similarly, be careful not to overload someone with an Influence style with too much information. Or as Han Solo shouted at C-3PO, “Never tell me the odds!”
Ultimately, success in communication comes from understanding the person and adapting to what they need.
If you want to learn more about understanding your own style, send me an email with the subject line “DISC.”
May the Force be with you!