How to Use DISC Personality Assessments in Coaching

Adam Stamm

Use DISC to Coach and Give Better Feedback

The DiSC personality assessment is a great tool for coaching.

When someone completes a DISC Assessment, they will learn about their personality strengths, motivations, and how they prefer to communicate. 

Over the past 35+ years of using DISC, we have found that using DISC in a coaching capacity isn’t only reserved for those who hold a coaching certificate.

Team Leaders, managers, and supervisors can leverage the concepts for better 1:1s and to provide better feedback to their direct reports. We often argue that these insights are most useful for managers who need to help their direct reports recognize and work through their blind spots at work. 

Below, we outline how anyone, regardless if they are a certified coach, can leverage the insights from DISC to provide better feedback.

Coaching the D Personality Type

Here are some tips on how to coach someone who has a D style on the DISC model:

  • Be direct and honest. People with a D style appreciate direct communication and honesty. They don’t like to beat around the bush, so be upfront with them about your expectations and feedback.
  • Give them challenging tasks. People with a D style are motivated by challenges and results. Give them tasks that will stretch them and allow them to achieve something meaningful.

Here are some specific coaching techniques that you can use with people who have a D style:

  • Use “what” and “how” questions. People with a D style are action-oriented, so use questions that will help them to brainstorm solutions and take action. For example, instead of asking “Why did you do that?”, ask “What were you thinking when you did that?” or “How could you have done that differently?”
  • Set clear goals and deadlines. People with a D style need to know what they are working towards and when they need to achieve their goals. Set clear goals and deadlines with them so that they can stay focused and motivated.
  • Provide regular feedback. People with a D style appreciate feedback, so be sure to give them regular feedback on their performance. Feedback should be specific, timely, and constructive.

Coaching the I Personality Type

Here are some tips on how to coach someone who has a I style on the DISC model:

  • Build rapport. People with an I personality type are relationship-oriented, so building rapport with them is important before you start coaching them. Get to know them on a personal level and find common ground.
  • Help them to stay focused. People with an I personality type can sometimes be sidetracked by their emotions or by new ideas. Help them to stay focused on their goals and to achieve their objectives.

Here are some specific coaching techniques that you can use with people who have an I personality type:

  • Use open-ended questions. People with an I personality type are creative and enjoy brainstorming. Use open-ended questions to encourage them to share their ideas and come up with solutions.
  • Set aside time for brainstorming. People with an I personality type enjoy brainstorming. Set aside time for brainstorming sessions so that they can share their ideas and come up with solutions.
  • Be flexible. People with an I personality type can sometimes be spontaneous. Be flexible with your coaching sessions and be willing to change your plans if needed. 
  • Help them to set boundaries. People with an I personality type can sometimes over-extend themselves. Help them to set boundaries so that they don’t take on too much and burn themselves out.

Coaching the S Personality Type

Here are some tips on how to coach someone who has a S style on the DISC model:

  • Be patient and understanding. People with an S personality type are steady and predictable, so they may not be as quick to adapt to change as other personality types. Be patient with them and understand their need for stability.
  • Be supportive and encouraging. People with an S personality type are motivated by cooperation and support. Be supportive of their efforts and encourage them to take on new challenges.

Here are some specific coaching techniques that you can use with people who have an S personality type:

  • Use active listening skills. People with an S personality type appreciate being heard. Lean on a Connective Listening Style to show them that you are listening to them and that you understand their concerns.
  • Ask open-ended questions. People with an S personality type are thoughtful and reflective. Ask open-ended questions to encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas.
  • Provide positive reinforcement. People with an S personality type are motivated by positive reinforcement. Be sure to give them positive feedback when they do a good job.
  • Be patient. People with an S personality type can sometimes be slow to warm up to new people. Be patient with them and allow them to get to know you before they start opening up.

Coaching the C Personality Type

Here are some tips on how to coach someone who has a C style on the DISC model:

  • Be specific and clear. People with a C personality type appreciate clear and concise communication. Be specific in your instructions and expectations, and avoid using vague or ambiguous language.
  • Provide data and evidence. People with a C personality type are motivated by logic and reason. Provide them with data and evidence to support your claims, and avoid making emotional appeals.

Here are some specific coaching techniques that you can use with people who have a C personality type:

  • Use “why” questions. People with a C personality type are analytical and detail-oriented. Use “why” questions to encourage them to think critically and explore the root cause of problems.
  • Set clear goals and deadlines. People with a C personality type need to know what they are working towards and when they need to achieve their goals. Set clear goals and deadlines with them so that they can stay focused and motivated.
  • Provide regular feedback. People with a C personality type appreciate feedback, so be sure to give them regular feedback on their performance. Feedback should be specific, timely, and constructive.
  • Be respectful of their need for time and space. People with a C personality type can sometimes be introverted. Be respectful of their need for time and space, and avoid overwhelming them with too much information or too many demands.

Check out Leadership Development Institute for additional coaching information.

Do you need to be certified to use DISC in coaching?

No! Using DISC within coaching doesn’t require a certification. However, it could be helpful if you don’t have much coaching experience or experience with the assessment.

Coaching using DISC has many benefits. One of the greatest benefits of using DISC for coaching is that it’s a simple tool to understand and use.

Anyone who becomes Certified in DISC will receive 10 free DISC Profiles. Sign-up today for $1,695.

What Tools Can Help

DISC Personality Assessments offer a foundational tool for coaching and providing feedback. Below are a few products that can help if you are looking to provide better feedback.