Interpreting DISC Profiles Webinar

Dec 14, 2016 2:30:19 PM / by Christina Bowser


Unless you already know all there is to know, listen to our Interpreting DISC profiles webinar. There’s always something new to learn!


Markku Kauppinen and Christina Bowser present a general overview of interpreting DISC profiles. Have you ever wondered if you know as much as you need to when looking at DISC profiles in Extended DISC reports? Can you trust the results? Learn to read and interpret DISC profiles more proficiently. This will be a quick overview and not a certification training.

The Extended DISC is not a test. We want people to generate valid results. When we present the questionnaire as a test then people begin to think about right or wrong answers instead of answering with their gut reactions. Secondly, Extended DISC identifies a person's hard wired behavioral style. Who is the person? We don't focus on how they feel they need to adjust according to the demands of their present environment since it constantly changes.

Think of DISC as a diagnostic tool

When you think in terms of DISC as a diagnostic assessment you can think of an Xray or MRI. The Xray is a diagnostic tool that helps us to identify a source of pain or a problem. Just like the doctor reviewing the Xray, we need to think about the validity of the results. Is the picture clear or blurry? The key question when interpreting DISC profiles is can you trust the results?

We also need to provide people with results based on levels of interpretation. Extended DISC results have many layers. Your client or employee may only need a macro level profile. For example, your client works in retail customer service and she only needs to know the customer's primary style. If she identifies a primary D-style then focus on task, results, and don't overload with details. You don't want to overwhelm your employees or clients, but rather provide them with only as much information as they need. Profiles can also show underlying emotions like stress, pressure, etc, but less is more when it comes to interpreting DISC profiles.

Lastly, all of us are a combination of all four DISC styles. We need to understand the relationship of a person's DISC style.We want provide information to the person to help them make better adjustments and decisions.

Interpreting DISC profiles - the graph line

First off, the actual profiles are not required to be in a DISC report. People don't know what's supposed to be in a report. Profile II is the main focus of the DISC report. The rule is we should focus 99% on Profile II and 1% on Profile I. Profile II is a person's natural hard-wired style.Profile II is your stable profile. These are the most comfortable behaviors for the person or the preferred ways of doing things. We read Profile II by looking at the graph line which represents our DISC style. Concentrate on where the graph line intersects in the top half of the graph or above the middle line. Wherever the graph line intersects at any of the 4 DISC axes above the middle line means that is the person's natural DISC profile.

The behavioral styles that intersect below the line are important as well. They are the styles which are not natural for the person, but the person still has these styles. The styles below the middle line simply means those DISC styles take energy and focus to perform those behaviors. The style which intersects at the lowest point below the middle line is the style that requires the most amount of energy. We have all 4 DISC styles. The DISC report simply tells us which styles come naturally and which take energy. Profile I is specific to a date in time. It can change according to the pressures of the job, role, or setting.

Lastly, trust the first results if a person has taken the DISC assessment more than once. The first time a person sees the words she will simply see them as words whereas after learning about DISC she will see the words as relating to a DISC style.

Interpreting DISC profiles - the percentages

There are 2 rows of numbers below the Profiles. The row of numbers are percentages. These percentages show the relationship of the DISC styles above the middle line and the row always adds up to 100%. The bottom row of numbers show the relationship of the DISC styles that are in the bottom half or below the middle line also adding up to 100%.

We cannot assume absolute numbers when looking at the percentages. They don't represent how high or low a style you are. Behaviors can't be locked into normative or absolute scales. For example, there is no maximum D-style behavior that you can achieve. The profiles are simply showing our behavioral preferences amongst the DISC styles.

There are some people who's profiles never reach the top of the graph, but can still show 100% of a DISC style. If someone is 100% D-style anywhere above the middle line it also means that there are 3 DISC styles that will take energy for this person.

Interpreting DISC profiles - the Extended DISC Diamond

Think of the Diamond as a map that plots a person's DISC style. Profiles will always give a clearer identification of a person's DISC style as well as detect underlying feelings. The Diamond can be a clear and simple way to present DISC styles especially with teams. On the Diamond, the dot which is the starting point of the arrow shows a person's Profile II. Look at the four quadrants. The quadrant location of the dot is the person's primary style. The tip of the arrow shows the person's Profile I.

Profile I has three components on the Diamond. First, the tip of the arrow is the actual Profile I. Secondly, look at the direction of the arrow. Where does it point towards? The person wants to emphasize that DISC style. Where the arrow moves away from tells us the person wants to downplay that DISC style. Lastly, the length of the arrow shows the amount of energy it would take to make the adjustment. Remember, Profile I is a perceived need to adjust. We don't know if it actually makes the person more successful or if the person will make those changes.

Interpreting DISC profiles - profile I

Always asks if you can trust the results. Then read Profile II first because Profile I must always be compared to Profile II. You need to know where you are adjusting from which is Profile II. Your natural style is your base point.

When a DISC style moves down from Profile II to Profile I then the style is not valued or given motivation in the current environment. The person believes the style will not help make them successful. When a DISC style moves up between Profile II and Profile I then the person feels the style is to be emphasized. The person believes that highlighting the style will make her more successful.

We need to be careful of making assumptions. We can interpret the profiles for the person, but that person is the only one who knows what the profiles truly mean. Ask open ended questions which allows the person to respond with more information.

Why do we need validity?

Who are you? Who are you not? The more consistent you are in identifying a DISC style the more reliable the results. Look at the height of Profile II. A tight or compressed profile has lower validity. In a tight profile the person answered the questions all over the place. People make important decisions using this information. When Profile II is compressed to a point where we cannot clearly identify a DISC style then we will not generate a report. We will only provide valid information.

Profiles which are tall and vertically stretched have high validity. We want to see a large gap between the styles above the middle line and the styles below the middle line. Wider gaps show consistency of a person's natural style over a person's not natural styles. More compressed profiles are more still valid, but we need to be more cautious of the results. Is it just some minor distractions like not paying attention? Is there something more significant going on like illness, unemployment, or divorce?

Final thoughts

Interpreting DISC profiles take practice. There are many layers to reading the profiles.  One suggestion is to put a face to a profile. Think of someone you know and think about how they would behave in this situation. Practice and do what works for you. Feel free to contact us if you have questions at Extended DISC +12812986073

Topics: Webinar

Christina Bowser

Written by Christina Bowser