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DiSC is a Language that Unlocks People's Potential
By Rich Meiss • Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Coaching to the DiSC® Behavioral Styles

When I’m asked why I use the DiSC model of human behavior in coaching, I respond by simply saying that “DiSC is a language that unlocks people’s potential to do great things.”  Once individuals are aware of their behavior style it frees them to capitalize on their strengths, foster positive working relationships and improve their performance.  As a coach, it is critical to learn how to communicate and coach each person based on their behavioral style.  Once you master the specific and distinct way that each style responds best in a coaching situation, you will unlock that person’s potential and ability to do great things.

Each of the four DiSC styles has unique ways in which they wish to be complimented, corrected and coached.  The following information is taken from the Coaching for Success workshop.   It summarizes the common characteristics of each style, and how you can best redirect their negative behaviors.  For a more complete article on complimenting, coaching and managing the four styles, request the handout “Coaching the 4 DiSC Styles”.

Dominant styles want to know the estimated outcome of each option. They are willing to accept risks, but want to move quickly and have the final say. In relationships, they may appear uncommunicative, independent and competitive. High D styles tend to focus on efficiency or productivity rather than devoting time and attention to casual relationships. They seldom see a need to share personal motives or feelings.

Correcting (re-directing) the Dominant Style

Be aware of and re-direct negative behaviors that the High D Style tends to exhibit:


Negative Behaviors                       Re-direct by asking them to:

Bossy                                                 Include others in decision making

Callous                                              Be empathetic

Detached                                           Identify with others

Impatient                                           Slow down

Overly competitive                           Share the rewards

Ruthless                                            Show compassion

Strict                                                   Exhibit leniency

Stirs up conflict                                Be a team player

Tough                                                Warm-up to people

Unapproachable                              Encourage feedback/advice


Influencing Styles are motivated by recognition, approval and prestige. They tend to appear communicative and approachable, often sharing their feelings and thoughts. They move quickly, continually excited about the next big idea, but they often don’t commit to specific plans or see things through to completion. High i’s enjoy taking risks. When making decisions, they tend to place more stock in the opinions of prominent or successful people than in logic or research. Though they consider relationships important, the High i’s competitive nature leads them to seek quieter friends who are supportive of their dreams and ideas, and can make relationships shallow or short-lived.


Correcting (re-directing) the Influencing Style

Be aware of and redirect negative behaviors that the High i Style tends to exhibit:           

Negative Behaviors           Re-direct by asking them to:

Chatty                                     Focus on work/results

Disorganized                         Set priorities

Emotional                              Control feelings/emotions

Impulsive                               Show maturity and caution

Laisez-faire                           Develop a sense of urgency

Manipulative                         Be sincere, trustworthy

Oversell                                 Share realistic features/expectations

Superficial                             Be genuine

Inattentive to detail              Adopt organization skills

Vanity                                     Show humility

Steady Styles are people-oriented, and care more about close relationships than results or influence. They usually appear warm, friendly and cooperative. High S’s tend to move slowly with a low time discipline, minimizing risk and often using personal opinions to arrive at decisions. Belonging to a group is a primary need, and High S’s may make every effort to gain acceptance. They typically seek to uncover common ground, preferring to achieve objectives through understanding and mutual respect rather than force and authority. When managed by force without relationship, High S’s appear to cooperate initially but will likely lack commitment to the objectives and may later resist implementation.

Correcting (re-directing) the Steady Style
Be aware of and redirect negative behaviors that the High S Style tends to exhibit:


Negative Behaviors           Re-direct by asking them to:

Insecure                                Act confidently

Lack initiative                        Be proactive

Overly submissive               Take occasional risks

Passive                                  Show ingenuity

Possessive                            Be willing to let go

Slow to change                    React quickly

Stubborn                               Demonstrate flexibility

Unsure                                   Be bold

Unable to multi-task             Learn to prioritize

Wishy-washy                         Hold their ground


Conscientious Styles value facts above all, and may appear uncommunicative, cool and independent. They have a strong time discipline coupled with a slow pace to action. They value accuracy, competency and logic over opinions, often avoiding risk in favor of cautious, deliberate decisions. High C’s are usually cooperative, providing they have some freedom to organize their own efforts. Power often produces suspicion in conscientious styles. However, if they come to see power as necessary for achieving goals and objectives, they may seek it themselves. In relationships, High C’s are initially more careful and reserved, but once trust is earned they can become dedicated and loyal.

Correcting (re-directing) the Conscientious Style
Be aware of and redirect negative behaviors that the High C Style tends to exhibit:


Negative Behaviors                    Re-direct by asking them to:


Analysis-paralysis                          Tolerate imperfection

Fears criticism                                Welcome feedback

Critical                                          Give Praise More Freely

Judgmental                                   Be receptive to dissenting opinions

Loner  - detached                           Encourage team spirit

Nit-Picky                                        Be easy to please

Perfectionist                                   Accept ambiguity

Slow to make decisions                   Promote a faster pace

Suspicious                                      Trust others and situations

Unemotional                                   Share their thoughts and feelings


If you are interested in learning more about the DiSC Model of Human Behavior or would like to experience the on-line DiSC Classic Profile to discover your unique  behavioral style, check out our website at or call us at 952-446-1586.


DiSC® is a registered trademark of Inscape Publishing Inc.

© Copyright 2009.  Meiss Education Institute.  All rights reserved.










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