Last updated: January 27

How Top-Earning Executives in North America Are Using DISC Assessments To Advance Their Careers (includes checklist & downloadable)

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  • How Top-Earning Executives in North America Are Using DISC Assessments To Advance Their Careers (includes checklist & downloadable)

Executive career coaching is an intimate experience between client and coach. It requires a deep understanding of the person, their experiences, and which circumstances best suit their personality.

Top-earning executives understand the value of working with an executive career coach to uncover their brand, clarify their target, and create a targeted company list.

Most executive career coaches use assessments to get to know their client so they can help the executive uncover their unique value proposition (UVP). The UVP is used in the client’s executive portfolio, biography, and other career collateral and the process of uncovering the UVP requires tapping into personality assessments.

Westgate uses scientific assessments in the early stages of working with clients to get a better understanding of who they are, how they react, and what they respond poorly/well to.

This gives insight into which roles, companies, and environments they would work best in and feel happiest to best support their family in the long term.

One of our most valued assessments is the DISC leadership profile—also known as the Self-Awareness DISCovery Process. This process reflects the importance of how communication makes a positive impact on your relationships—personal, professional, and social.

The DISC model encompasses four distinctive behavioral styles:

(D)ominance, (I)nfluence, (S)teadiness and (C)onscientious

AKA: The Dominant Director, The Interacting Socializer, The Steady Relater, The Cautious Thinker

People with D personalities: Direct, assertive, control, expresses anger with ease, get it done attitude, action oriented.

People with I personalities: Talkative, expressive, warmth, optimistic, persuasive, influential.

People with S personalities: Warmth, kind, easy-going, harmony-makers, family-oriented, resistant, systemic.

People with C personalities: Objective, neat, analytical, fact finder, data driven, perfectionist

Westgate career coaching loft office

History of Disc

Derived from the early work of William M. Marston in 1928, the DISC concept is used in a number of ways to better understand, appreciate and adapt to people.

Marston, a physiological psychologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard, theorized the behavioral expression of emotions could be categorized into four primary types, stemming from the person’s perceptions of self in relationship to their environment.

DISC has a history based on research and real-world applications and is used by organizations around the world.

For more than 40 years, the publishers of DISC have worked to improve the assessments, reports, and facilitation to help individuals and organizations achieve their goals.

Understanding others and how we best adapt to working with others is a critical key to harmony and adaptability.

Women communicating Westgate

While DISC is extremely useful in understanding how to navigate conversations and determine the moments when adaptive behavior is necessary, one of the most important uses for Westgate is differentiating your adaptive behavior from your natural behavior. This is so that we can target networks and companies that best suit your natural behavior—creating harmony in your life.

DISC helps increase confidence for executives in the following ways (checklist):

Westgate DISC assessment checklist

It is our experience that executives who embrace the science of DISC and incorporate it into their job search (and later their onboarding process) land better opportunities faster because they understand the behaviors of themselves and others. Self-awareness is an important consideration when evaluating whether a team or organization will be a good fit. It eliminates the guesswork.

Here is what a commercial real estate executive in Nashville, TN, said about our approach

“Hi Maureen: I’m still with ABC Company and am absolutely loving the new job after 11 months. The culture here is a perfect fit for me, the leadership is solid, and my team is a motivated, competent, high performing group that is teaching me a lot. With your help, I really did find the perfect job for me and I couldn’t be happier with the change. Working with an experienced career coach like you has reinforced my belief that expert guidance and advice really adds value to someone going through a career transition.”

As he reflected on his experience with Westgate he said: “I learned …how to create an authentic brand for myself and develop communications and public profiles that supported the brand I was trying to project. My networking meetings were much more productive as a result because I didn’t have to

spend very much time establishing my experience - most of the time could be spent brainstorming ideas and exploring opportunities in the industry today.”

The model below demonstrates the DISC framework and how you can easily identify the types of others by observing their behavior. When you understand the behavioral styles of others, you will learn what is most important to them, and then you’ll know what to say when otherwise you may feel shy, nervous or at a loss of how to begin and engage in a conversation.

Westgate DISC diagram

Here is an excerpt taken from our DISC Leadership Assessment Report:

YOUR STRENGTHS: WHAT YOU BRING TO THE ORGANIZATION

Elon, you are likely to display your strength characteristics rather consistently. These qualities tend to enhance your effectiveness within the workplace. Your work style preferences provide useful insights on your job performance, team participation, and leadership characteristics. These preferences are the talents and tendencies you bring to your environment.

DISC checklist for Westgate

The DISC Leadership assessment helps you to describe yourself based on scientific data, not on self-serving opinions. Our clients leverage the report to speak “about” themselves during job interviews and job offer negotiations in an authentic and legitimate way.

A note from the team (case study) | Maureen (CEO)

case study for Westgate

Two clients’ experience:

One of the biggest surprises was when a CEO client disclosed his terror at being interviewed. In fact, he was in such discomfort at the thought of being interviewed, he deliberately chose not to apply for positions.

“If I am honest, I get physically ill with business assessment testing. This goes back to grade school where I would get so nervous before a test, I would feel sick. I have completed many assessments in my career, but the feeling never goes away.”

Much of the fear he experienced stemmed from not wanting to feel judged and not knowing what words to use when the interviewer asked, “tell me about yourself” or “walk us through your résumé” or “why are you looking for a new opportunity?”

The DISC leadership assessment is scientifically validated annually and has a high score at approximately .9. Our clients often marvel at the consistency of the report describing the client’s behavior and personality with surprising accuracy.

A pharmaceutical executive in the bio-pharma industry in the Philadelphia, PA, area recently said: “What I enjoyed about working with Maureen was learning the strategy of utilizing behavioral science as it applies to communication in business and in life. She applies behavioral science strategically and she also helps support her clients with tools such as DISC and other behavioral assessments.”

As with many of our clients, we use the DISC methodology to “profile” professionals in our clients’ network, including preparing for job interviews—except in this scenario we profile the personalities of the job interviewers, recruiters, and hiring decision-makers using our knowledge of the science. Using a methodology unique to us, we assess these individuals and debrief the client in advance of the interview.

Our clients feel a sense of comfort knowing what to expect from the experience before they walk into (or Zoom) a job interview. The ability to establish rapport quickly and authentically with the recruiter is incredibly important to ensure a smooth transition to the next step of the selection process. With recruiters and HR professionals being double and triple booked, it is helpful for the executive to build trust quickly.

For insights into the science of building trust, refer to our podcast interview with Robin Dreeke, who is a retired FBI Agent and Director of the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI. His expertise is used by CEOs of companies around the world. He discusses the importance of building rapport and trust in job interviews.

A note from the team | Maddison (Career Success Strategist)

I participated in the DISC profile shortly after beginning my work with Maureen and Westgate. My work with the company has grown over the last 18 months and the responsibilities I’ve received were partly chosen in correlation with my DISC assessment.

Maureen and I discussed my varying strengths and weaknesses that were revealed in the assessment and used this knowledge to formulate a position within the company that would best suit our brand and my ideal role.

What I didn’t realize at first, but became very aware of quickly, was that my experience with DISC gave me valuable insight into how I communicate with our clients. If you understand that everyone is different in how they perceive experiences, you can understand how a personality assessment will increase your diverse communication with different individuals.

I was also unaware of how my knowledge surrounding DISC would apply to my personal life, relationships, and experiences. Put simply, it’s the closest thing to having a manual for human beings. For example, where a troubling reaction or uncomfortable conversation may have previously given me an urge to escape, I am now able to not only understand why that scenario is happening, but to also navigate the conversation in a positive way. From someone who has always been quite intuitive and empathetic, this was a valuable learning experience for me. It’s putting words (and thereby understanding) to the complex emotions we feel as individuals and experience in exchanges with others.

Learn More

The DISC assessment is useful in both your professional and personal life. It can be used to help you land the ideal job and it can be used to train your team within that new job. All of our programs include a DISC assessment, and it is an evergreen tool you can apply today and 20+ years from now.

We even use the DISC profile in our family to help make decisions and sort out conflict. The profile helps us to remain emotionally neutral when otherwise emotions would derail an important conversation.

Although there are endless uses for the DISC Leadership assessment, the primary benefit we experience at Westgate is increased clarity and confidence for identifying appropriate organizations to target, job interviews and salary negotiations.

If you’re considering working with an executive career coach, ask them if they are using assessments. Assessments can help you make the best career decision, helping you to land faster so you can move on with your life and support your family.

Download Our DISC One-Pager

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Maureen Farmer

About executive resume writing author 

Westgate - Maureen Farmer

Maureen Farmer is the Founder & CEO of Westgate Executive Branding & Career Consulting Inc., an international personal branding and career consulting firm delivering premier executive branding and career consulting services for high-profile leaders. Author of The CEO Script Vault: Job Search Scripts for Busy Executives, Maureen believes that when we’re doing work aligned with our values, everyone wins. Using the law of attraction to identify quality employers utilizing the hidden job market is a cornerstone of her career management strategy.

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