When people talk about the DISC profile or DISC assessment, it’s very likely that they are referring to DiSC Classic (the first assessment built on the DISC model) or Everything DiSC, both published by Inscape Publishing, a Wiley brand. It’s the most widely recognized DISC profile used around the world. However, others have also created assessments from the DISC model so let’s look at one of them: Discus, from Axiom Software.
The simplest way of comparing what you’re going to get from an assessment is to look at the resulting profile:
What you might notice
Everything DiSC presents a single circular image to give the reader an image to explain possible and self-reported personality traits and what the respondent’s style is. Discus uses a series of graphs to show an individual’s internal, external and summary profiles, as well as their shift pattern. Style cards are also used to expand one’s understanding of the respondent’s style.
Both profiles provide content to further present information about the respondent’s style. Everything DiSC uses a more narrative style directed to the person who took the assessment. Discus uses more of a bullet point presentation, using single paragraphs for various categories, and is directed to the person who administered the assessment. Discus has a page devoted to management and managing styles. Everything DiSC has a separate profile, Everything DiSC Management, to cover that topic in greater detail. Twelve pages of the Discus profile are devoted to a general glossary of terms. Everything DiSC provides an introduction to the DiSC model and overviews of the other DiSC styles.
Questions to ask
Which report do you think provides more self-understanding for the participant? Which report is easier to facilitate or use in a coaching or training environment? Which one explains the DISC model best? Does either report use language that might confuse your client or cause any resistance to accepting the report? Which report is the most memorable?
Validity and reliability
If you’re going to the trouble to purchase and use an assessment, you want to be sure it actually means something and isn’t a superficial report. Both publishers provide research about their profiles:
Research Report for Adaptive Testing
This report provides the validity research for the Everything DiSC assessment profiles using computerized adaptive testing.
Everything DiSC: 79-item assessment
Research on the Everything DiSC profiles for Management, Sales, Workplace, and the Everything DiSC Comparison Report.
Everything DiSC® Manual
The book on the research and theory behind Everything DiSC.
A Reliability and Validity Study on the Discus Personality Profiling System
The test-retest method was used in the reliability study and was administered to 90 employees from a variety of companies in Kwa Zulu-Natal and Gauteng.
What you might notice
The Discus study was done on a much smaller sample in terms of numbers (N=90 for Discus versus N=39,607 for Everything DiSC), geography, and other demographics. Everything DiSC has invested in computerized adapted testing, which makes their results more accurate than their previous DiSC Classic product.
Discus offers internal and external profiles. Researchers at Wiley have not found a valid way to judge this distinction and so does not offer it. They also found no correlation with employment or career. Discus reports suggest a correlation.
If you’re not familiar with the DISC model or haven’t used assessments often, you’ll also want to look into the kind of support you can expect in using the product you choose. Do they offer additional tools? Is there a community of facilitators? Is there training? Everything DiSC profiles each have a facilitation kit and facilitation reports as well as training tips and trainer certification available. Discus has a Knowledge Base and video library available.
Your needs and the interests of your clients will determine which profile you choose to use. You as the facilitator or coach should be comfortable and informed about the product you administer.
By Kristeen Bullwinkle