DISC profiling for use in career coaching, recruitment and team performance. | Inge Dowden Coaching

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DISC profiling

What is DISC?

DISC is a personality profiling tool that helps people find out their behavioural preferences. It is one of the many personality profiling tools on the market and is often used in recruitment to help find out people’s strengths and weaknesses with regard to the way they communicate, how they want to be managed, what their leadership style is and how they handle conflict.

Some other well known profiling tools are MBTI (or Meyers Briggs), Insights and Wealth Dynamics. They are all very good, but I prefer DISC because it is easy to interpret and easy to apply in every day life, which makes it very practical to use in business and for yourself. Once explained, it’s easy to remember the 4 main preferences, and you can benefit from it in different ways. The profile is based on observable behaviour, which means that even if you don’t take someone’s profile, you can guess what their preferences are, based on their behaviour.

Why is DISC useful?

Knowing what someone’s preference is, is very useful, as it will help you deal with that person better. Lack of understanding is a major cause of conflict, so the better you understand others, the less likely you are to get into conflict with them.

Dealing with people who have the same preferential style as you is easy. You don’t need to explain too much, they ‘get’ you and you probably like them and find it easy to work with them. However, there are also always people that you may find ‘difficult’ or even ‘obstructive’. You may think that they’re doing things just to annoy you, and you don’t understand why they don’t seem to do what you want them to do. It is highly likely that those people have an ‘opposite’ preference to you, and if you don’t understand what drives them, how they communicate and what they fear, you may unconsciously be pushing their buttons in all the wrong ways. Whereas when you know where they’re coming from, you can adapt your behaviour to suit their style, and find that you get much better results.

Please note that this is not about pigeon holing people or about one preference being better than another. Everybody has all of the characteristics in them, and can call on all of them when needed. However, under normal circumstances you will have a preference for one or two of the styles, and you will be at your best when you can behave accordingly most of the time.

What are the DISC preferences?

The DISC profiles measures two main elements: pace (whether someone is fast-paced/outgoing or more measured/reserved) and focus (whether someone is more task focused or more people focused). The resulting preferences are varying combinations of those two elements and are frequently represented as follows:

DISC profiling

Another reason why I prefer the DISC profile, is that the preferences can be remembered by the letter they represent. Here is a brief description of each preference, their strengths and weaknesses and typical job roles they might have.


The D is task focused and outgoing. This preference is driven, determined and decisive. Their leadership style is to ‘tell’ and they are often visionary and pioneering. They tend to have a short attention span, want results and the bottom line and they can be bullies. They make strong leaders (although in a somewhat military style) and are good at dealing with conflict. People with a high D preference are often found in leadership positions (such as managing directors and army sergeants) or in sports where drive and determination are essential.


The I is outgoing and people focused. This preference likes to influence and inspire. They want to get people on board as they want to be liked, and they are great communicators. Their leadership style is to ‘sell’. They may have a problem following through and can have too much emphasis on fun. They also don’t like to say no, so they can have a tendency to over promise. They make great sales people, entertainers and motivational speakers, and are often the life and soul of the party.


The S is people focused and reserved. They are steady, loyal and dependable. They are good with people and also well organised. Their leadership style is to ‘listen’ and they are often peacemakers. They don’t like (sudden) change and value security and safety. They can have trouble standing up for themselves (although they are very good at standing up for others) and they can be ‘pressure cookers’. Because of their people and organisation skills, they make excellent account managers, customer complaints handlers, nurses and teachers.


The C is reserved and task focused. This preference is conscientious, calm and analytical. They like facts and figures and are good with detail and their leadership style is to ‘write’. They don’t like chaos (but are very good at creating systems and processes to prevent it) and they prefer to start and finish a task before moving on to the next one. They can be perfectionists and sensitive to criticism, and they like rules and regulations. They are often accountants, health & safety officers, scientists or designers and musicians.

How can DISC be used?

The DISC profile (or knowledge of the different preferences) can be used in business as well as in your personal life. It’s good to understand yourself better, but more importantly, it can be used to understand others better.

DISC for business owners

1. Recruitment
DISC profiling is used a lot in recruitment. When you’re looking to hire someone new, you want to make sure that they are suitable for the role, and that they will fit in the team. Interviewing them is one way to find out this information, but since that is a stressful situation, you won’t always get the real picture. Some people are great at interviews but not necessarily at the job, and others may interview terribly, but they could be great at the job. Doing their DISC profile will give you that extra bit of information you need to help you make the right decision.

2. Marketing
Marketing is all about getting your message across to your target audience, so that they will make the decision to buy from you. Here it helps to know if they want a lot of detail, facts and figures (which is what the ‘C’ wants), whether you should focus on the safety aspect (for the ‘S’) or how it will be fun (for the ‘I’). And if you don’t know what preference your target audience has, you need to create material that appeals to all of the different preferences.

3. Team performance
A good, well balanced team consists of people with different strengths and preferences. But because of that, it will also cause friction if the differences aren’t understood. If you don’t know that your colleague wants to know the bottom line (‘D’), you will frustrate them with your detailed report and long narrative (‘C’). If you try to push through changes too quickly, you will alienate your ‘S’ team mate who needs to know how these changes are going to impact the whole company. By understanding other people’s preferences, and what this means for how they communicate and react, you will be able to create high performance teams that really make the most of their strengths.

DISC for career guidance

If you’re unhappy in your job, it’s possible that you’re having to operate against your preference. For example, you may be stuck in an office by yourself all day, but you would much rather be in an office with lots of people around you (‘I’). Anyone can work against their preference for a short amount of time, but if it goes on too long, you will be unhappy and want to leave. By knowing your ideal environment, you will be able to look for jobs that suit your preferences, which means that you will be able to shine, not just muddle through.

Your DISC profile should never be a surprise to you, as it should just confirm what you already know. But often people are too hard on themselves, and they don’t realise that things they take for granted (like having good people skills) are actually a strength to be celebrated, not something to be brushed off. And that just because you are good with numbers and detail, this doesn’t mean that everyone else is. Getting your DISC profile done will help you define your strengths more clearly, and also make it clear what sort of job/environment you’d be better off avoiding.

Get your DISC profile

As an authorised administrator, scorer and interpreter of PeopleKeys, I am able to do your DISC profile for you. I can either do an individual profile (£40), or do a 1/2 day DISC workshop with profiles of all of the team members (from £795).

The assessment itself takes no more than 10 minutes, and you will have your profile within 48 hours. It can all be done online (apart from the workshop of course), and you can also book a 30-minute coaching session to explain your profile in more detail.

Individual DISC profile

DISC profile

Get your DISC profile and find out:

  • your strengths
  • your value to the team
  • your challenge areas
  • your personal growth suggestions
  • what you need to be at your very best



Individual DISC profile + 30 min coaching call

DISC profile

Get your DISC profile and a 30-minute coaching call and find out:

  • your strengths
  • your value to the team
  • your challenge areas
  • your personal growth suggestions
  • what you need to be at your very best

During the call you can discuss your personal situation and I can give you more in-depth advice about your profile and how best to use it.



DISC workshop

DISC workshop

The 1/2 day DISC workshop is ideal if you want to improve the performance of your team. It will help them to:

  • understand each other better
  • communicate more effectively
  • avoid conflict
  • improve their performance

I will do every team member’s DISC profile and send it to them beforehand. On the day of the workshop I will explain the DISC profile in great detail so that everyone will have a good understanding of it. We will then look at how your particular team is made up, how they can improve their performance, and what might be missing.

Prices are on request and depend on the number of people taking part, but it starts from £795 for 5 people.