DISC Profiling – a Fabulous Coaching Tool (with Mo Perkins)

by | Apr 18, 2017 | Coach Pep Talk, Create Coaching Products

In EPISODE 6 Mo Perkins shares how she is using DISC profiling with her clients. Discover how it’s good for the coach, good for the client and good for business!


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Read the transcript of DISC Profiling - a Fabulous Coaching Tool (with Mo Perkins) Here

Benay: [00:00:00] Welcome to another episode of Coach Pep Talk, the podcast for people who run their own coaching businesses. Each week I talk to an expert who shares some wisdom with us that helps us to be better coaches and better coaching business owners. This week I am super excited to have Mo Perkins of Mosaic Counselling and Coaching on the call to tell us about how DISC profiling has made a big impact in her coaching business. So I’ll see you on the other side.

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Benay: [00:01:20] In this week’s episode. I’m talking with Mo Perkins of Mosaic Counselling and Coaching. Mo specializes in counselling and coaching parents and children, which I think is an awesome niche to be in. On top of that She also supervises and mentor’s other practitioners so if you happen to be going down the path of working with parents and children and you’re looking for a supervisor in a counselling and coaching space maybe you should get in touch with Mo. Anyway, Mo is a fabulous woman and we got to talking the other week and she was telling me how she is using DISC profiling as a tool to work with children and with parents and I think even she does some DISC work with the practitioner she helps too. Anyway I was… I’m a big fan of DISC profiling in my own coaching business. I love the model, I think is a great framework to help people understand their behaviors and to make some changes in their life. So I wanted to talk to Mo about how she has a successfully used DISC in her business and so she could give us some concrete examples. And my hope is that maybe it gets you excited about the possibility of using DISC profiling in your coaching business too and hopefully gives you some tips about how you could get started in integrating this new type of tool into your own business so that what you’re doing is even more successful than it is already. So without any further ado let’s see what Mo has to say.

Benay: [00:02:55] Hello Mo, and welcome to the show.

Mo Perkins: [00:02:59] Thank you, Benay. It’s lovely to talk to you.

Benay: [00:03:02] It’s always lovely to talk to you too. OK let’s get straight to it. There’s so much to cover with DISC and I’m really excited, especially for listeners who are really new to profiling to be able to bring this content out. So for the first question, let’s set the stage a little bit. So for the listeners who are really new to DISC can you please explain briefly just what DISC is and kind of set that stage for us, Mo?

Mo Perkins: [00:03:30] Well Disc is a form of a personality profiling, but more so it’s really about behavior. So it’s about what we can observe in people. And this was created by a guy that I think is just so interesting called William Moulton Marston. He was a lawyer, a psychologist, He also invented the first lie detector polygraph. And not only that he was the creator of the Wonder Woman character. And I just think that’s a fat bit of trivia.

Benay: [00:04:03] I never knew that.

Mo Perkins: [00:04:04] Honestly Wonder Woman was invented by the creator of DISC. So I’m a big fan of Wonder Woman. He was a contemporary of Freud and Jung, but whereas they were studying trauma and abnormal behavior, Marston studied normal human behavior. And the letters of the model which is called DISC, D-I-S-C, they stand for me behavioral styles, which is Dominant, Influencing, Steady, and Compliance. So everyone has a dominant style and also a secondary style, but in actual fact we’re a blend of all of those different styles. It depends really on the intensity of each of those styles, which creates um, our behavioral style really that’s visible to people.

Benay: [00:04:58] OK hold on I know you’re going to keep going and just so everybody is caught up, Can I just kind of try to summarize everything you’ve just said because you’ve said heaps? So DISC is a is a personality profile, or kind of a test, and you get like a report at the end after you take this test. And it’s made up of four components Dominant, Influence, Steady, and Compliant. And what I’m hearing you say is that every person actually has an element of each of those four characteristics within them. And then the profiling tool DISC, profiling tool, actually help, um helps you understand how much of each you have and which one is your dominant. Did I miss any? Did I get that right first of all, did I miss anything?

Mo Perkins: [00:05:46] That’s absolutely right. The assessment is, it’s an assessment tool and it’s an it’s a profile which is actually like a forced assessment because you, your forced in the sense that when someone takes a DISC assessment they are encouraged to do it within a short space of time. So about seven to eight minutes. So that they don’t have too much time to think about it. You know so that their reactions and more their gut reactions. But yes you know, in everything else that you’ve summarized that’s absolutely spot on Benay.

Benay: [00:06:18] Okay. So please carry on because I think you’re going to go into a whole lot of other stuff I just wanted to make sure that everybody, including myself, was reasonably caught up with what DISC was.

Mo Perkins: [00:06:29] Yeah I guess one of the main things to note is that it’s based on behavioral style. So it’s based on observable behavior really, not so much the personality traits that can’t be changed but behavioral styles. One of the things that makes that really interesting is because actually all behavior can be modified. I mean we do have a, you know, we have a preferred style and we have a style that we naturally go to but if we discover that for one reason or another it’s not helping our communication with another particular individual or with our child. We can modify some aspects of our behavior. So all behavior is modifiable. That’s one of the sorts of slogans of DISC really.

Benay: [00:07:14] Mm hmm. Yeah that’s great. Okay. Is there anything else you think that is important for listeners to understand about DISC? To sort of set that stage before we move on to the next question?

Mo Perkins: [00:07:26] Um, I don’t think so. I think hopefully some more will come out as we go along. and as We’re talking. Obviously each of the styles have many, many strengths and many, many challenges, but it would be probably too involved to go into that right at this moment.

Benay: [00:07:42] Yeah. ok, excellent. All right. So out of all the profiling tools, because there are heaps out there. I’m really curious to know what drew you to DISC specifically and you know instead of choosing something else?

Mo Perkins: [00:07:57] Well it’s interesting because as a therapist, my training…I mean I’m a therapist and a coach as you know, but I’m kind of a therapist first in a sense, and my training has mostly been based around abnormal behavior, but years ago I was introduced to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, which you’re probably familiar with. And I was really fascinated by that and its connection to Jung, who I also studied his work. But it wasn’t until I joined a networking group that I came across DISC and in context it was used to understand personality types to enhance rapport and ultimately to improve sales. But I just took to it straight away because it seemed so accurate about myself and the people around me in the group that I knew. And also it seemed so simple to use really and so simple to explain to clients so that’s the reason I was drawn to DISC over many of the others. But of course actually I don’t have a wide knowledge of many of the others anyway but I just took to the one that seemed to speak to me.

Benay: [00:08:59] And what… How would you compare DISC and Myers Briggs?

Mo Perkins: [00:09:05] Well for me I felt that DISC was much simpler than the Myers Briggs. Much simpler to do an assessment and much simpler to explain to people. You know, I find it really easy to explain even when I’m talking to children about the four behavioral styles. I just find that really simple and I don’t know whether my experience is applicable to children. I’m not sure. But of course DISC does have a children’s profile and a teenage profile, so in my work It just works perfectly.

Benay: [00:09:37] That’s cool. I didn’t realize they had one for teens and for kids. That’s fascinating. I’m also a huge DISC fan. And the reason I really love it is because of that thing you pointed out right in the beginning which is that it’s based on behavioral styles which can change. And I think some profiling tools fall into that trap of labeling and boxing people in and then they kind of lead their life within that box as opposed to thinking about how they can move forward. So that’s why I love DISC, because it gives you endless opportunity for the next level of you.

Mo Perkins: [00:10:13] Yes and you know, I sometimes come across people who say, I mean I may have even said it myself at some point, oh it’s my personality I can’t I can’t change that. But DISC is about behavioral style and behavior can always be modified. And it’s quite easy to give clients examples of where and when they do modify their behavior. You know the simple one I often say to people is, when you’re talking to a baby you know, you do change your behavioral style.

Benay: [00:10:41] Yeah. Yeah. You kind of have to.

Mo Perkins: [00:10:45] You know you make your facial expressions a lot more obvious and you know you’re probably more smiley than you would be talking to another because it’s natural, it comes natural. So behavioral style and modifying it is something that we do all the time without thinking about it. So when we need to enhance, or communications, or relationships then you know, I find DISC a really good tool to build on something that really we already do naturally anyway.

Benay: [00:11:10] Yeah. That’s fascinating. I know just doing my own personal DISC profile Over the years when I first, before I started my business, I was very high influencer and my dominant was high, but not very high. But after a couple of years in business man I got a hard shell. My D just shot out the roof. I was like, oh maybe I need to look at this. Anyway it was fascinating how you actually do change.

Mo Perkins: [00:11:38] I think people do change and people change into different circumstances don’t they? And also that’s the other thing about DISC, is when you do your assessments you think about how you are at home or you think about you know, how you are at work. Or whichever particular scenario your wanting to get a handle on, because we can be, you know, our highest style can be different at home to how it is at work.

Benay: [00:12:05] That’s a really good point too actually, yeah. Those do change depending on your environment. Okay, let’s move on to the next question. Can you tell us a little bit about your business, because I mean I know your business very well, but a lot of our listeners might not? So tell us a little bit about your business and how you’re using DISC to provide more value to your clients.

Mo Perkins: [00:12:26] Yes, Benay, well I’m a psychotherapist and coach and I specialize in working with children and the adults that impact their lives. So I sometimes describe myself as an adult-child relationship coach. I mainly am working with children on their own, or children with their parents, or children with teachers as well, because I do quite a lot of work in schools. In fact, most of my work with children is actually in schools. So one of the things I do is as I mentioned, there’s a children’s profile, there’s a teenage profile and an adult profile. And I use these to help children, parents, and teachers to understand their own style and the child’s style. And particularly in schools When I find that a teacher is maybe finding a particular child very challenging, what I often notice is it because the child has a behavioral style that is actually very different to the teachers and probably one of the less common styles as well. Because, and people listening may think that you have to four main styles the world is divided into 25 percent of each of those styles, but actually that’s not the case. You know the D for example, which is the dominant style, only 3 percent of the population have a dominant style. So if you get a D type child in a ISC family, you know, sometimes they are going to struggle a bit. Or with an S type teacher you know, they’re just going to feel as though they’re on different planets.

Benay: [00:14:01] Can you give us an example or a story about how you’ve kind of done this profile in that group to help everybody move forward? So that people can really wrap their mind around the concept, does anything come to mind?

Mo Perkins: [00:14:16] Yeah well I mean I’ve got sort of situations where I worked with all three components really, so I may have done a profile on a child, I then discuss that profile with the child and look at their strengths and their challenges. And when you do a child profile, it also gives you information about how best to approach them, how best to approach them if there is conflict between you and the child. And then I can share that with the parent and share it with the teacher. At one of my schools I’ve actually profiled all of the teaching staff as well. I mean obviously teaching staff to change quite frequently, so you know there may maybe some new people that I haven’t profiled. So it’s really helpful because I’ve got a really good overview of the mix of teaching, the behavioral styles of the teachers. And in actual fact, in that school, I discovered that they mostly only had two of the four personality types. So and we talked about quite a lot and I guess part of that is because maybe the people employing tend to employ people that most like themselves. Whereas that doesn’t necessarily create a well-rounded team and it certainly can end up with a situation where you’ve got a lot of one particular type of teacher, who then really just does not get the behavioral style of A few of the children. And those children end up being labelled you know, as it’s difficult challenging, and that can really have an effect on their self-esteem.

Benay: [00:15:55] Yeah I’ve got a couple a couple of questions, so DISC is very, sounds like it’s very useful just in a team building situation as well. Did working in there in that team environment, where you know you profiled everyone, did the management make any changes as a result of that new awareness? You know DISC gave them this new framework for how everybody slotted, or did it just kind of, did they just kind of move on which I know can sometimes happen.

Mo Perkins: [00:16:24] I’m not, I’m not absolutely sure whether they made any changes. What would be a good thing for me to do, would be to profile that team again because of course I know they have had changes in staff as all schools do. They certainly were on board. The fact that there were personality types missing, in that particular school the more assertive types were missing, the D’s and the I’s, and they you know, they did sort of look around and I think it did sink in, that you know maybe there was something…they could enhance the team by just getting a few more personality types you know. I mean I think when I had 25 teachers in the room and I was the only I type.

Benay: [00:17:16] Yeah of course you’re an I. OK, so and then I want to come back to profiling with the child, for the listeners who do actually also work with children, How… What…what age do you work with and use DISC and find that effective and is there an age that’s too young?

Mo Perkins: [00:17:37] I mean we work with children from the age of four or five upwards. My specialty is primary school, so sort of four to eleven, that sort of age. DISC for children is appropriate from the age of about seven/ eight I would think. The very little ones you can’t do a profile, although you can you know, you can probably start to see some styles developing, but they won’t form them all, their more set behavioral styles they won’t start to learn about seven or eight years old. So that’s when DISC really you know kicks in in the sense that you can actually do a profile and produce a report and you know, share that with parents and teaching staff.

Benay: [00:18:25] OK, and how do um, when you present it to say an eight-year-old, or seven-year-old, how…are They engaged, are they interested? Does it just depend on the kid?

Mo Perkins: [00:18:36] Yeah the ones that I’ve done my profiles on, they really love it because they really love to know more about themselves and there’s a paper version of the profile and there’s also, you can do it online but I normally do the paper version with the children. So you know we go through it together, they answer the questions, and then I explain all the different types to them and you know, I ask them to guess what my style is.

Benay: [00:19:03] Ah that’s great, that’s great!

Mo Perkins: [00:19:05] We really have, we really have a bit of fun with it. They always like it because of course, I you know, I really build up the qualities of the strengths of that style.

Benay: [00:19:16] Mm hmm, fascinating. And then to help them I guess, be better communicators, or be happier and balanced in their environment how do you, um yeah, how do you, how do you challenge, how do you, how do you help them with that through DISC, the DISC framework?

Mo Perkins: [00:19:35] One of the things that it helps them to understand. It often helps them to understand where they are having difficulties with other people and it helps them to understand that It’s not that they are at fault, or weird as children will sometimes think. It’s really just their nature. But it also helps them to understand that other people have a different nature, and different strengths, and some different challenges, which when we’re all inside our own heads, we don’t we… Although of course as adults we know that everyone is different, but actually it’s amazing how many times we can still expect people to think and behave the way we do.

Benay: [00:20:17] Ha yeah I did a total blunder, a big one today expecting someone to be a high D and a high I, just plowed straight ahead. Woops! It does happen.

Mo Perkins: [00:20:32] I really do like DISC. You know, and I mean I’m will say I’ve used it sort of outside of my work as well, in terms of you know, I’ve profiled my daughter so we sometimes use the DISC kind of language between us. and Then we kind of think and talk about what behavioral style their partners and boyfriends are. But you know it really helps with communication just you know you know in a wide sense really it’s also great for team building which I’ve used it for, for that as well.

Benay: [00:21:03] Okay so it has endless uses. Okay so for the coaches, or maybe even the parents out there who are like, wow I really need to get into DISC can understand what this is to use it either for their self, or for their clients, or for their families, what advice would you give them? Like how do you even get started if you’re new to the whole DISC world?

Mo Perkins: [00:21:25] Well Benay, I would recommend that they take a look at the People Keys site, which is, because actually you can go onto that site and you can take a free online assessment to find out more about your own style, because to me that is always the starting point. I mean often I do start by profiling a child because that’s the person I got in front of me, but I think it’s very important that anyone using DISC thinks and understands their own style first. So I would go do a free assessment. You can also, particularly if you’re interested in working with children, there’s a great book on understanding your own child. There’s a great book called ‘Different Children Different Needs’ by Dr. Boyd. I’m just looking at it now on my bookcase, yes Dr. Charles Boyd. And that’s all about DISC and it even talks about how to cope with challenge and discipline of children depending on their particular DISC style. So that’s a really useful book. If you want to use it in your work, then the thing to do is go on to do an introduction in behavioral analysis which you can get the link for that from the People Key’s site. And then there’s another two levels. This is another level, which is a level perhaps for coaching individuals and a level for working with businesses as well.

Benay: [00:22:50] Okay so would you recommend getting some sort of a training in DISC before you start using it with your clients?

Mo Perkins: [00:23:00] I would yes, definitely. I’d recommend getting your own profile first, then do an introduction. I mean an introduction takes you a very long way you know, and you can become certified after you do the introduction, but I think if you really like DISC and you really get a feel for it I would then recommend going on to do the next level of training, which is level 2, and then you become a behavioral consultant in DISC. You know nothing much. That’s great because that training gives you lots of case studies to work with and it helps you to really apply it your actual work.

Benay: [00:23:37] That’s excellent and just for people who are thinking, oh wow that sounds pretty interesting and they think it could really help their coaching or therapy business, can you give us a rough feeling for what kind of cost should people expect and how much time does it take to do say the intro and the level 2? Do you have any ballpark’s?

Mo Perkins: [00:23:57] Yes the introduction course that I did, I did it a couple of years ago and it was a self-study course that I did, and my actual course cost me about 250 pounds. I did it really quick, because your kind know me, Benay, if I get the whole self-study document in front of me and I’ve got the whole the whole course sent to me, I tend to go through it really quite quickly. But you take your own time with it and you know, I would say that if somebody was thinking that they wanted to know enough about this to work with a client by June say for example, it would be easy to get you know, the introduction in that time.

Benay: [00:24:42] We are almost in April, so April, May, June, so three months for an introduction. That’s realistic.

Mo Perkins: [00:24:50] Yeah, understand a bit about your own profile in time and do a little bit of practice on some friends and family by profiling you know, some of the people that you know and do the introduction and that’s a really, really, really good start. I mean you know, I’ve done a lot of work with DISC and I just use it… often, it’s just running in the background. I mean I have clients that I don’t actually profile but it’s the whole DISC idea is running in the background and it’s helping me to build rapport with them. It’s helping me to talk about the relationships that they have with other people, if that’s what they coming to discuss. And I don’t necessarily always actually do a profile, but you know, just by talking to people and understanding DISC and their style you can often make a very well-informed guess as to what their style is and what the style is of people that may be having some difficulty with. So you know from the introduction it’s a really good start.

Benay: [00:25:50] That’s great, that’s a really good. I’m really glad you raised that point here, because yeah, it’s not just doing the profile. like You said just understanding that framework and having it ingrained as a part of you, really helps you communicate connect with the world, including your clients a whole lot better. Just coming back to the certification. Is there any sort of a test that you have to take at the end or do you just sort of say I’ve done the self-study and you’re certified?

Mo Perkins: [00:26:17] Now when you when you do yourself self-study course yes, there is a test, for want of a better word, within the document. I mean like I say I got the self-study one, I mean there are probably other ways of doing it, but a document came with it, which was like a set of multiple choice questions, and you answer those questions and then you send it off and then you get sent back with your certificate if you’ve been successful. Which hopefully you will have been, because of course it’s not a test of your memory. You know you can answer those questions with your coursework all in front of you. And then you know it’s a test of how well you can understand DISC and apply what you’ve learned, so it’s you know, over a time of course, you can talk about DISC without looking at things up. But it’s not really a test of that. It’s a test that you understood the documentation and that you can apply it to the situations in the sort of cases they give you. So, but yeah, there is a test for both the introduction and for level 2.

Benay: [00:27:19] And level 2 is it similar pricing and timing or is it more expensive or longer?

Mo Perkins: [00:27:27] It was for me, it was a similar price, yes similar price and it’s a bit more involved because level 2 is based on case studies. So you know you have a written case study to read through, you have some audio to listen to, and some experts discussing that case, and then you have…you write your own assessment of the case on what guidance you’d give to those people and then you have the questions to answer as well. So it’s a little bit more involved but you know it’s really good really good fun.

Benay: [00:28:02] Sounds great. Thank you so much for educating us about all that stuff Mo, and for everybody who is listening the references, the resources that Mo referred to have that in the show notes for the podcast so you can check those out on our website. Okay. Mo we need to wrap it up but that was just awesome. You’ve given us so much fabulous information. What I really love this is that you may have inspired some of our listeners to actually go and add this you know, profiling tool into their toolkit and it will actually make them better and more successful coaches which is what the whole point of this podcast is. So you’ve nailed it. Thank you.

Mo Perkins: [00:28:39] Thank you it’s great. I mean I don’t consider myself to be a DISC expert, but I’m a big, big fan. So if I can get anyone else to be a fan, that is perfect.

Benay: [00:28:49] And I think that’s great because you know you’re talking to your peers here and showing how it helps your business and that’s exactly I think what needs to be heard. So. If anybody wants to learn more about your work or get in touch with you. What’s the best way to find you?

Mo Perkins: [00:29:06] The best way is to hop onto my website which is And from there they can send me an e-mail. They can take ah, they can jump over to my business Facebook page and connect with me that way. And you know I love to get emails, I love to have people communicate with me so please just drop me a line, get in touch. Have a chat.

Benay: [00:29:31] That’s excellent. Thank you so much Mo. Thank you so much for being on the show. I have a feeling we will probably find something else awesome to talk about in the future. Okay. Well let’s wrap it up there. And I hope everybody has a fabulous rest of their day. Happy coaching.


  1. Alison

    Many thanks for such a useful interview. Because of this, I’ve gained in-depth insight into how DISC will benefit my coaching business, especially since I hadn’t realised profiles could be used with younger people which is the speciality of my passion. I’ve since pursued and due to certify on DISC so wish to extend my thanks for providing such useful and beneficial information that led me to this decision.

    • Benay

      I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the interview AND that it’s helped you as a coaching business owner!!! That is what the show is all about. Mo is such an amazing woman and was so generous in the episode. Thank you for taking the time to share Alison – it’s greatly appreciated. Happy DISC-ing! B

  2. Mo

    I’m so pleased that you found the interview helpful Alison. It was such fun to do and I could have said a lot more. As I mentioned in the interview I’m not the biggest expert but a big, big DISC fan. I don’t often come across people using the DISC profiles with children and teenagers so it’s great to hear you share my passion. I was thrilled that Benay asked me to be a guest on her show. It was a pleasure and a wonderful experience.
    let’s Make a Difference!
    Mo ????


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