As a DISC Personality Profiler and Executive Confidence and Leadership Coach, I love to get to know my clients in minutes rather than months. This is why I invite them to complete a DISC personality profile as the first activity as part of their coaching programme. I do this so that I can adapt my communication preferences to theirs, to get the best out of them and move them quickly from where they are now to where they want to be.


We are all unique individuals with different personalities and as Steven Covey said in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People ‘Seek first to understand, and then to be understood’.


Once we understand ourselves we can learn to understand others. If a person communicates to you according to your behavioural preferences, you are more likely to be receptive and respond positively. When we appreciate both differences and similarities in people, we are more likely to lay aside “wrong” and “right” labels.


DISC opens the doorway to effective communication allowing you to modify your language and behaviour to manage people in any given environment. People respond better to people they like and understand. People are different, however, they are predictably different. Let’s take a look at the 4 different personalities and I’ll share 3 Top Tips on how to effectively communicate with them.


Dominant D


These are outgoing and task-oriented people who like to be in charge. They are big picture thinkers where their biggest fear is failure. They are strong-willed, courageous, have a compulsive need for change, independent and self-sufficient who excel in an emergency.


  • Tip 1 – Be brief, be bright, be gone – Give them 5 words or 5 sentences when providing information rather than 5 paragraphs for 5 chapters
  • Tip 2 – Stroke their ego by pointing out specific accomplishments
  • Tip 3 – Be direct – Deal with issues in a straightforward manner by focusing on tasks and issues, not people and personalities


Influential I


These outgoing and people-focused individuals who like to be involved. Their biggest fear is rejection and loss of influence. They are charismatic, friendly, talkative, positive and generous. They will be the life and soul of the party and it will be like having Tigger in the room, full of energy with stories to tell to keep the audience entertained.


  • Tip 1 – Involve them – Encourage them to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas.
  • Tip 2 – Be friendly, complimentary and acknowledge each other’s accomplishments
  • Tip 3 – Listen sincerely instead of planning what you want to say next


Steady S


These are reserved and people-focused individuals who like you to show them that you care. Their biggest fear is loss of security. They are kind, quiet, well-balanced, dependable, diplomatic, patient and happily reconciled to life.


  • Tip 1 – Show them you care – Put your arm around them and thank them for all that they do
  • Tip 2 – Slow down and don’t be too pushy
  • Tip 3 – Show them sincere appreciation and you’ll find friendships are rewarding


Compliant C


These are reserved and task-focused people who love the detail. The more detail they have, the happier they are. Their biggest fear is criticism. They are perfectionist, loyal, creative, conscientious and they never leave a stone unturned, always dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.


  • Tip 1 – Give them the detail – Be prepared to have all the answers to their questions in the discussion
  • Tip 2 – Allow them to express their doubts and give them time to evaluate before asking them to make a decision
  • Tip 3 – Write notes so that you can refer back to them and follow up in writing anything you have agreed


I would love to know which personality profile most resonates with you so that we can have an effective conversation. I am an Influential I that turns into a Dominant D in stressful situations. I’ve been told by my family that when I am at my best and communicate effectively with them “I am the heartbeat of the family”, yet when I am at my worst and not communicating effectively ‘I am a dominant, demanding, red dragon in a whirlwind that everyone just needs to get out of my way’.


This fabulous insight into how I communicate and the impact that this has on others has been transformational and if you would love to learn more about how this tool can be used to transform your communication and improve relationships then I would love to explore it further with you.


Claire Cahill, Accendo Coaching & Training