Understanding how our personal filters impact our DISC sessions makes us better trainers.Our overall goal as a DISC trainer is helping our participants use their DISC assessment results to be more successful. During this process, we strive to maintain our own self-awareness so our own perceptions don't adversely influence the sessions. In short, we're reminding ourselves to practice what we preach!
The Extended DISC tool
The Extended DISC® tool is designed to provide supportive information, but it should never be the sole reason for making decisions about a person. As with any tool, it can be extremely helpful if used correctly, but it can cause misunderstanding if misused. People cannot be simplified to a level where they become stereotypes.
First and foremost, we are human beings who are unique and complex. As non-judgmental as we may try to be, we still have our personal filters and perceive the world differently, based on our own experiences, values, and knowledge.
The good news is the tool itself carries no value judgment. It does not assume we need to be fixed. We are who we are and we can be successful regardless of our DISC style. It’s a chance to say, “this is how I prefer to do things” and “I have a better understanding of how you prefer to do things.” We may have similarities and we may have differences. It is intended to help us be more successful in our interactions.
Let's consider your own style and how you may filter the world.
Understanding your own DISC style
You can be, and likely are, successful in any role or career you choose, regardless of your DISC style. The tool identifies your behavioral preferences so you can make the most effective adjustments. It cannot predict your success. It does not focus on your skills, cultural heritage, experience, knowledge, intelligence, attitude, etc., which makes up the whole you.
The Extended DISC® tool helps to remind us that our intentions are not always viewed the same as our behaviors. What if one of your participants doesn't appear excited or actively engaged in your session? Does that mean you're not doing a good job as a trainer? They're very likely engaged, but it may not be the same way you would. If the participant is someone who prefers to observe and process the information during the session, they could be participating in their most natural way. It may not be as comfortable having a quiet participant, but understanding their style is different from yours helps you facilitate more effectively.
It's a common part of our nature to value the strengths of our own style. Therefore, we may end up assuming that our participants listen and learn the same way we do. What if you're someone who likes to chit chat; do you sometimes forget that others don't always want to? What if you're someone who likes to learn the "why" and "how" behind everything; have you considered that not everyone does?
Consider your DISC results as your trainer road map; reminding you to use your behavioral strengths and practicing your development areas. In addition, by seeing the differences in your style and those of your participants, you can make better adjustments to your training style.
DISC styles and trainers
Everyone has their own unique training style, as it should be. We, as DISC trainers, strive to convey the message of behavioral assessments; they are non-judgmental tools designed to help us be more successful. In understanding how we can adjust our training style, we can build a better DISC session. Here are a few general tips to remember as a trainer.
D-style trainers may have their list of measurable objectives and focus more on the big picture. Staying in control of the session and setting a fast pace feels more comfortable. Waiting for input from others may not be something you think about. You may find that slowing down to check for understanding, creating a positive setting, and building rapport gets you to the end goal faster and more successfully.
I-style trainers tend to promote enthusiasm and positivity. You use your charisma to inspire your participants. You tend to be comfortable moving from topic to topic quickly and sometimes, diverting to more interesting ones. However, if you remind yourself to slow down and focus on your agenda, you find yourself with even happier participants who now have a better understand of DISC.
S-style trainers often bring their conscientious and supportive approach to their sessions. You are patient, relaxed, and may spend more time checking for acceptance. However, you may feel uncomfortable if the agenda diverges or if you have to control the conversations and conflict. You may find your participants more responsive if you keep on task, get off to a quick start, and bring more of your energy to your delivery.
C-style trainers are more comfortable when they have time to prepare and follow their agenda logically. You are someone who prefers to communicate in facts and details. However, you may feel less comfortable with small talk and more challenged when topics become more emotional and personal. You may find that your participants will respond more positively to your information if you pick up the pace, make it more personal, and practice engaging in some chit chat.
Don't forget to review your own DISC results for more specific descriptions of your training style.
You got this!
We know successful trainers cannot be successful when only using their styles. Imagine, you're going into a session with all your fun exercises and you've built in time to share personal experiences because this is what motivates you. It may work well for your people-oriented styles, but may not be as effective for your reserved styles. What else could you do to bring along your reserved styles?
Ultimately, you need to be aware of and use your natural strengths; you already work hard enough. You also need to be constantly aware of your areas of development. It may not always be comfortable owning them, but you now have the opportunity to develop them. In addition, what truly takes you to the next level as a trainer is your ability to adjust your style. There is no style that always works; your audience is not always the same nor your training content. You are in control of your behaviors; with your keen sense of self-awareness, ability to recognize the style of your audience, and your ability to adjust, you will reach your full potential.
You've got this!
Contact us to learn how to become an Extended DISC Certified Trainer!
Christina Bowser is the Training Director at Extended DISC North America, UK, and Singapore.