Stress Management Change Coaching

Using DISC for Stress Management and Change in Coaching

Typically, change or stress management is a process coaches and managers dig out when clients or employees require extra help in an occasional crisis. For the most part though, clients and employees can concentrate on thriving, building strengths, and personal development. But in these unprecedented, changing times, our stress management tools and crisis manager hats become the norm, not the exception. In times like these, you want to make sure you employ the most effective stress management tools when so many are operating in survival mode.

PeopleKeys® DISC Personality System is among the most powerful tools for change or stress management. The PeopleKeys DISC assessment is a "smart" psychometric tool designed to be simpler yet more discerning than similar tools when it comes to capturing a complete picture of personality and behavior.

Surviving to Thriving

Due to changes brought on by the recent global pandemic, people have been focused on rapid changes that have thrown many into survival mode. Stay-at-home orders made coaches, managers, and leaders pivot their roles to more crisis-management obligations. Instead of pushing growth, they had been faced with solving immediate business pains, shifting work roles and goals, and mitigating anxieties in those they support and lead. How can coaches address or anticipate behaviors under stress? They need a tool to show the intensity of behavioral dimensions because energy often shifts in an individual’s adapted or coping behavioral style. But not all psychometric tools reveal intensity levels and ranges of self-perspectives the way the PeopleKeys DISC profile does.

Not All Psychometrics Are Created Equal

Psychometrics (i.e. behavioral surveys) are often the diagnostic tools coaches and managers rely on to inform growth plans, but not all psychometrics are created equal in times of stress or change. Although many psychometric tools identify personal preferences, strengths, and motivations, not all are effective at identifying behavioral dimensions under stress.

Binary vs. Intensity Interpretation

Take Myers Briggs (MBTI), for example. Although it identifies behavioral characteristics and groups them into one of 16 styles, it doesn’t recognize nuances within each of those 16 styles as the PeopleKeys DISC profiling tool does. In other words, every ENFP is the same as every other ENFP. Does MBTI tell you how much energy you devote to the N (Intuition) characteristic? No. In fact, MBTI reads you in a binary (either this or that) way but doesn’t plot your characteristics according to the expressed intensity of each dimension. As we know, people are not binary, they are dynamic and their behaviors change in intensity from environment to environment.

The MBTI tool doesn't disclose how much energy you devote to each behavioral dimension in your personality. Instead, it assumes each ENFP has the same intensity of Extroversion, Intuition, Feeling, and Perceiving as every other ENFP. When in reality, one ENFP could be more extroverted than another ENFP.

One Perspective vs Three Perspectives of Self

MBTI again, for example, doesn’t account for various self-perspectives as does the PeopleKeys DISC profiling tool. Where the MBTI tool reveals one view of personality, PeopleKeys’ DISC reveals three views. This makes the PeopleKeys DISC a powerful tool for displaying a more complete picture of behavior.

The DISC profile acknowledges that people operate out of three different perspectives of themselves by distinguishing between behavioral dimensions in various views of "the Self." The efficacy of the PeopleKeys DISC profile for change and stress management can be found in these Public, Private, and Perceived Self graphs. By displaying behavioral dimensions plotted as intensity levels on three separate graphs, you quickly see how behavior changes under stress and pressure.

PeopleKeys® DISC Graphs Highlight Stress Patterns


Graph 1 - "Public Self," is the Self we want others to see. Graph 2 - "Private Self," reveals the Self as adapted to stress. And last but not least, Graph 3 - "Perceived Self," displays the Self more in line with our "true" Self.

Under stress, we often aren’t aware of our coping behaviors. Notice how much a person’s Thriving Self (Graph 1) changes in their Surviving Self (Graph 2). This person’s need for information significantly increases. As a coach or manager, imagine how powerful this knowledge can be in mitigating this person’s anxiety and stress?

PeopleKeys® DISC Adapted Self Graph Reveals "Coping" Behaviors

Graph 2, The Private Self, reveals a person’s behavioral coping mechanisms by identifying where an individual places their energy in times of stress, and each person is different under stress. Some individuals’ DISC personality styles stay the same, but it drastically increases or decreases energies for others with certain dimensions under stress. For example, a typically high stable style (S style) may devote more energy to dominance (D style), while another high S personality type may devote more energy to needing to feel greater trust or have greater communication with their manager (I style).

PeopleKeys® DISC for Stress and Change Management

Where other psychometric tools like MBTI tell you about your style when you are thriving, only the PeopleKeys DISC personality system has "smart" technology that displays just how much behavioral dimensions change during survival mode, which is where a lot of clients and employees are currently living. The PeopleKeys DISC assessment intuitively reveals how much energy individuals devote to each behavioral dimension, how much it’s expressed or unexpressed, and how much those energies shift in stressed and changing environments. It’s really the most effective and comprehensive diagnostic tool for change and stress management.

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Written by: Coleen Kulkin

Coleen is the Director of Product Development at PeopleKeys, helping bring new DISC products and updated reports to-market through research, development, validation studies and testing. Personality Style: S