That’s a question that popped into my head last week as we were coaching a business owner client through a difficult challenge. He was going back to potential financing sources to understand the real reason they were choosing not to invest money into his venture.
In order to do that, he had to come out of his natural style and be a little more direct and confrontational. It took some gentle prodding and reassurance on our part to get him to do this, even though he agreed in principal with us that it was the best move for his company.
One of the great tools we use in our coaching business is Extended DISC, which assesses someone’s natural behavior style.
We use tools like Extended DISC to provide clients with some insight into exactly why they may be uncomfortable in certain situations. At its core, Extended DISC categorizes people into 1 of 4 dominant natural behavior styles (1 of 4 quadrants):
1. “D” is for the dominant or driver types. These are the folks who are usually more direct and comfortable with conflict. They can be viewed as a bit abrasive or argumentative at times. The can appear aggressive and impatient and they become irritated easily.
2. “I” is for the influencer. This is the prototypical old line salesperson. Very open and friendly. They get easily excited and tend to be animated. They tend not to listen for long and will usually dominate the conversation.
3. “S” is for steady or stable. This is the person who always appears calm. They do not get easily excited and are often described as “easy-going.” These are the good listeners who you can talk to about any of your troubles.
4. “C” is for compliant. Uncomfortable silences are par for the course for this style. Their politeness is often seen as being somewhat timid. They are very detail oriented and ask lots of questions. They tend to be very critical but won’t easily express disagreeing views since they don’t like conflict. They are great at following instructions.
If you’re interested in guessing where you might fit, here’s a quick exercise. Click here to download or print off a graphical version of the four quadrants of Extended DISC.
The way to determine which quadrant might fit you is to think about whether you are more Outgoing or Reserved.
If you wear your emotions on your sleeve, tend to talk in a louder voice and use lots of hand gestures when you’re talking, chances are you’re more Outgoing (this means you’re either a “D” or an “I” which is on the right side of the page you’ve downloaded).
If you have a good poker face and are difficult to read and you tend to talk in a little quieter voice and use little to no hand gestures, then you’re probably more Reserved (this means you’re either an “S” or a “C” and on the left side of the page).
The next step is to determine if you’re more People focused or Task focused. The way to think about this is where do you get the most energy? Is it from interacting with People or from completing Tasks?
If the thought of being holed up in an office for a week with little to no contact with other people sounds like a living hell to you, then you’re probably more People focused (this means you’re more of an “I” or “S” and on the bottom of the page).
If that holed up office sounds like a slice of heaven to you because you’ll be able to get so much “work” done, then you’re probably more Task focused (which means you’re more of a “D” or “C” and at the top of the page).
So where did you come out? Are you more of a “D”, “I”, “S”, or “C”? Are you more of a mixture of a couple of those styles?
Back to our client for a minute. His natural style is “S” over “C” which means he’s definitely more naturally reserved and he gets energy from people as well as tasks.
It also means that he doesn’t like to push people and he likes to prevent conflicts not create them. With a tool like this, we’re able to help him effectively modify his behavior for a short period of time. In the past he would have avoided this situation like the plague.
What situations do you normally avoid because they’re uncomfortable for you? Knowing your natural behavior style is one great way to help you become more comfortable with being uncomfortable!
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