Clients and friends often ask me, “What is your favorite part of career coaching?” The answer is always easy for me. Since I entered this field, I have been passionate about getting to know my clients and understanding the various facets of their personality, behavior, and motivations and how these affect their career decisions.

Last year, I participated in an intensive training on DISC, an assessment who looks at “observable behavior.” A whole new world opened up before my eyes; I have been amazed not only at the accuracy of this assessment, but at the ways in which it helps me “read” and better understand a client.

This month’s article is written by my colleague, Ann Marie Kavey, who took the training with me and who has been collaborating with me on how to incorporate this assessment into my practice.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.



Guest Article by Ann Marie Kavey


Have you ever wondered if there was a way to create a stronger connection with your boss, a member of your team, or even the person interviewing you?

Understanding yourself is the first step to understanding others. One unique way to do this is by taking a DISC assessment profile. The letters in the acronym DISC characterize four distinct behavioral styles. Each style has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Once you are aware of your style, you will become more cognizant of your behavior and more inclined to adapt your behavioral style to those around you.

In a nutshell, the letters D, I, S, and C will reveal two key attributes. First, whether you prefer to deal with “tasks or people”; and second, whether you become “extroverted (active) or introverted (passive)” in a confrontational situation. Believe it or not, these identifiers can put you on the path to improving your communication skills, accessing job/industry preferences, and determining how to best use your strengths while managing your weaknesses. Below is a quick overview of the four style types.

D = Dominance (assertive, control) Task/Extroverted “I am what I achieve”
I = Influence (social, communication) People/Extroverted “I am what people see”
S = Steadiness (patience, thoughfulness) People/Introverted “I am what I contribute”
C = Compliance (caution, conscientious) Task/Introverted “I am what I perfect”

Typically people are a combination of styles, but most likely one style will still prevail. Although the DISC assessment only takes a few minutes to complete, the report provides an abundance of tailored information about your behavioral style, your ideal work environment, and how you may be perceived by those around you. Once you have some essential descriptors to work with, it will be much easier for you to identify another person’s style and flex your behaviors accordingly, to make the best connection and interaction possible.

Here are a few benefits that can come from taking a DISC assessment.

Self-Awareness—DISC is a great tool that offers an objective perspective on how others may view your behavior (based on your answers!). You can identify and give a “name” to why you may be conflicting with those around you.

Communication—Learn how to give information to help strengthen your relationships. The way YOU receive information may not be the best way for OTHERS to receive it. DISC offers a clear description on how each style best digests information.

Stress Management—Understanding the various styles, in comparison to your own style, will allow you to demonstrate tolerance and impulse control. Knowing when to adapt your behavior can help to smooth over a tough situation.

Self-Motivation—By identifying your own style, you can become active in finding the best solutions for you. For instance, if you are dissatisfied with your current profession, the DISC assessment may shed some light on a more appealing and appropriate career path.

Career Management—Once you know your style and the work environment in which you thrive, you will be able to make better career decisions about the ideal environment for you—for example, which job function is the best for you, the pace of the industry and company, and ideal company culture.

Remember, one style is not better than another—they are just different. Try not to label people and make sure you analyze each situation based on its own merits.

DISC reports are most helpful when they are interpreted by a career professional. If you have never done a DISC assessment, it is a worthwhile investment to improving your communication skills and to managing your career in the right direction. You never know what doors it will open until you give it a shot!

Randi Bussin of Aspire! offers DISC consultations as part of her career coaching practice. If you are interested in learning more about DISC or taking the assessment, please contact Randi at for more information.


Randi’s Recommended Reads

I’m Stuck, You’re Stuck : Break Through to Better Work Relationships and Results by Discovering Your DiSC Behavioral Style by Tom Ritchey and Alan Axelrod


Web Sites

DISC overview on history and in-depth style descriptions


About Aspire!


Aspirations! is written and compiled by Randi Bussin, a career counselor and entrepreneurial consultant with 25 years of experience of corporate, nonprofit, and entrepreneurial expertise. She leverages her extensive background to help mid-career professionals and entrepreneurs clarify their aspirations, develop the “big-picture,” and set realistic goals in designing a career that reflects their personal values and passions. Through focused coaching, she helps clients make steady progress and achieve their career goals.

If you would like more information on our services, please feel free to e-mail us at


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