Athlete Assessments DISC Methodology

Athlete Assessments’ sports profiling products are the only sport specific behavioral profiles of their kind available in the world today. These unique profiling systems, for coaches, for athletes and for team managers and sports administrators, draw on a large body of research relating to personality and behavioral theory. On this page, discover:

History of Profiling
History of DISC Profiling
Personality in Sport
Personality Theory
Becoming Self-Aware
Gap Analysis in Sport
Adapting Your Behaviors
View Our DISC Profiles

Brief History of Behavioral Profiles

Historical and contemporary research reveals more than a dozen models and methods of measuring our behaviors and profiling personalities.  From the Greek philosophers to modern-day psychologists, one common thread of many of these models, is the grouping of behavior and personality into four basic categories.

In 444 B.C.E. Empedocles, a Greek Philosopher discussed the four “roots” or elements, fire, earth, wind and water. Empedocles believed that these “roots” could make all the structures in the world. Empedocles recognized that people seemed to act in four distinctly different ways, but instead of attributing these actions to internal factors, he believed it was external environmental factors of wind, earth, water and air, which affected the way people acted.

In 400 B.C.E., Greek physician Hippocrates put forth that the four quadrants (fire, water, earth and air) were reflected in the body. Hippocrates, also known as the Father of Medicine, developed a medical model based on these elements, attributing their qualities to four fluids or (humors) within the body, Phlegm, Blood, Black Bile, and Yellow Bile.

It was Hippocrates’ work, combined with the work of Galen another Greek philosopher, two hundred years later, which expanded the theory of humorism into one of personality. The four temperaments of Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholic are based on the balance of humors in the body. This demonstrated the shift in four quadrant models from believing the personality was affected by environmental factors to recognizing there were internal dynamics.

In 1921 that Carl Gustav Jung re-examined the four quadrants. Unlike the Greek Philosophers who believed it was internal fluids which affected us, Jung realized attributed the internal styles to the thought process. His four styles were Thinking, Feeling, Sensation, and Intuition, now used in the Myers Briggs Personality Test (MBTI).

Brief History of DISC

In the early 1920’s, an American psychologist named William Moulton Marston developed a theory to explain people’s emotional responses. Until that time, work of this kind had been mainly confined to understanding the mentally ill or criminally insane. Marston wanted to extend these ideas to cover the behavior of what we know as “normal” individuals. Marston’s fascination with people led him to many discoveries, while being a contemporary of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Marston was also the creator of the comic figure Wonder Woman, and the inventor of the lie detector test.

In order to test his theories, Marston needed some way of measuring the behavioral styles he was trying to describe. His solution was to develop his own technique to measure four important factors (a four quadrant behavioral model). The factors he studied were Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance, from which the theory takes its name – DISC. Marston discovered that people do things for various reasons and are motivated by their reasons, not ours, and recognized that one individual could possess many traits, to more or less of a degree.

In 1928, Marston published his findings in a book entitled “The Emotions of Normal People”, which included a description of the system he had developed. It was the first time the four styles were identified as dynamic and situational which means the styles people displayed could change depending upon environmental factors and differing situations. The DISC model has continued to be researched and today is recognized as the most valid and reliable behavioral profiling tool to develop self-awareness. More than 50 million people worldwide from all differing contexts such as corporate leaders, industry professionals, managers, sales people, teachers, coaches and athletes have used DISC to improve their understanding of themselves and their behaviors.

A major step forward in the advances of DISC came with the development of the ‘DISC Graph’ or ‘DISC Profile’, a graphical shape representing aspects of a person’s behavior in a form that was easy to understand with little experience or training. The use of Graphs made it possible to present the complex results produced by a behavioral profile, in the form of a simple profile ‘shape’ that could be understood and interpreted by any user. While training is still necessary to deeply analyze a DISC profile shape, the psychological and statistical background that had once been a prerequisite of profiling was no longer necessary.

It is widely acknowledged, we each have our own unique style of learning, communicating, leading, coaching and working within teams. As none of us are the same, each of us requires a different approach in order for us to be our best. DISC gives you the keys to unlocking your strengths and building on your limitations and understanding others so you can collaborate effectively to create improved results and relationships.

It is the DISC model, along with the internationally recognized and respected work of Dr Tony Alessandra, that served as a foundation for the development of which served as a foundation for the development of Athlete Assessments’ CoachDISC, AthleteDISC and Sports ManagerDISC sports profiling systems.

The Role of Personality in Sport

Observing and responding to the personalities of people around us is a major part ofour daily lives. Consciously or not, we are constantly responding to a range of personalities and behaviors that combine in countless ways in all sorts of different situations. This includes coaches’ and athletes’ personalities in sports training, teams and competition environments.

Personality is made up of the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors making each of us unique and distinct. From approximately 21 years of age personality remains fairly consistent throughout life, even under varying circumstances and environments.

Personality has a huge role in sport.

  • As a coach, understanding your athletes’ personalities enables you to draw out their best performances in a deliberate and skillful manner.
  • As an athlete, understanding how you operate as an individual or within a team, and what training and competitive environments suit you best, helps you reach your potential.

Profiling is a very effective tool to help you understand personality and behavior – both your own, and those of others. The importance of sports profiling cannot be overstated for any coach or athlete aspiring to reach their potential – no matter what level of sport they are involved in.

This also applies and is just as important for those who work in the sports industry. Whether you are the team manager, work in sports administration or other role within sport, you make a vital contribution to the success of your organization andor team. Understanding yourself and others plays a significant part in improving your results and how you connect with those you work with.

Personality Theory

There are different theories about how personality develops. Different schools of thought in psychology have influenced many of these theories.

The three major perspectives on personality are:

  1. Type theory. The earliest theories suggest there are a limited number of ‘personality types’ of which we are born and develop further preference over time. (For example left or right handed preference).
  2. Trait theory. This theory views personality as the measurement of certain traits. Traits are habitual patterns of behavior, thought and emotion. Traits are stable over time, differ amongst individuals, and always influence our behaviors.
  3. Behavioral theory. This theory suggests personality is a result of the interaction between the individual and the environment. Behavioral theorists study observable and measurable behaviors. The AthleteDISC, CoachDISC and ManagerDISC model follows this theory.

A widely accepted view of the interactions of personality, behavior and the environment can be summed up in the work of Kurt Lewin. Kurt Lewin was a pioneer in the social psychology sciences. He is recognized as being the founder and first researcher to study team dynamics.

Lewin found that, in the debate of ‘nature versus nurture’, neither could claim to be sole contributor to a person’s behavior. Rather, it is the interplay and combination of a person’s inherited tendencies (nature) and their life experiences (nurture) that creates the individual’s behavioral responses. This theory is the basis for the AthleteDISC, CoachDISC and ManagerDISC model and methodology.

Behavior = The Function of Personality combined with the Environment

Behavior is flexible, changeable and adaptable. Personality is not.

Our Behavioral Profiles

The AthleteDISC, CoachDISC and ManagerDISC are behavioral profiles. That is, they measure observable (external) behavior. Recognizing that personality is consistent, but behavior is flexible, is a central factor to the development and application of these profiles.

Like all people, athletes and coaches may behave differently in different situations and environments. For example, a common core factor impacting behavior is the level of pressure an athlete or coach is feeling. The same is true for any professional, including those working in the sports industry. By studying how individuals behave differently, we begin to understand the types of behavior creating poor or great performances. Besides understanding your own DISC style, you can also learn how to identify another person’s DISC behavioral style. Once the behavior profile is understood, it is possible to modify and adapt behaviors to improve performance.

The AthleteDISC, CoachDISC and ManagerDISC profiling system creates in-depth personalized reports identifying an individual’s core behavior style. The report identifies ways the person can apply their behavior style’s strengths, or modify their style’s limitations.

It’s important to note there is no ‘best’ behavior style. Each style has its own strengths and its own opportunities for improvement and growth. The key is in recognizing and understanding each individual’s style. This is known as self-awareness.

Becoming Self-Aware

Knowing your behavioral style is an example of being ‘self-aware’. Great athletes and coaches have self-awareness. They know what they do best, and where they need to improve. The same holds true for any successful individual.

Studies suggest that 75 percent of making behavioral changes is being
self-aware of what it is you currently do.

Self-awareness is the recognition of our behaviors, our strengths and weaknesses, our beliefs and values, and how this all creates the outcomes we experience in life. High level self-awareness goes deeper into our core beliefs and values, both of which shape our actions, decisions and behaviors.

Developing self-awareness can help us to recognize the specific triggers creating certain emotional and behavioral responses. Self-awareness is also a prerequisite for effective communication and interpersonal relations, as well as for developing empathy for others.

The bottom line is, people perform in their chosen fields to a higher level if they have greater levels of self-awareness.

When we develop self-awareness, we can begin to choose
the types of behaviors that
create great and consistent performances.

Gap Analysis

Gap analysis is a way to graphically illustrate where you are and where you want to be, and the impact time has on outcomes and performance, as shown in the diagram below. Self-awareness is all about knowing where you are now, where you want to be in the future and how you plan on getting there.

The ability to modify your behavior (and ‘close the gap’) is called behavioral flexibility or adaptability. Behavioral flexibility or adaptability is the degree to which an individual is able to adjust their behaviors to suit different environments, situations and people.

It is now apparent the highest performing teams, athletes and coaches
are those that are able to adapt to suit their environment,
be it in training or in competition.

Social scientists call this ability to adapt and be flexible in our behavior ’emotional intelligence’.

Adapting Behaviors for Sporting Success

Once you, as a coach, athlete or sports professional, become aware of your behaviors and how they influence performance, the ability to reach your potential is greatly enhanced. Behavioral adaptability follows a distinct process:

  1. First, understand your current behavior patterns and the results these create for you as an athlete, coach or in your current role.
  2. If you are not currently getting the desired results, you must be able to ‘DO’ something different.
  3. In order to ‘DO’ something different, you need to be aware of the alternative choices/behaviors you can select from.
  4. Finally, you must also WANT to adapt, or try a different behavior. This requires the right attitude, and trust in yourself (and your coach).

This is the crux of what the AthleteDISC, CoachDISC and ManagerDISC sports behavioral profiling system enables you to do. Tiger Woods summed this up perfectly when he said:

“People thought it was asinine for me to change my swing after I won the Masters by 12 shots. … Why would you want to change that? Well, I thought I could become better. If I play my best, I’m pretty tough to beat. I’d like to play my best more frequently, and that’s the whole idea. That’s why you make changes. I thought I could become more consistent.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: An athlete only modifies their behavior, or changes their technique, if the coach suggesting the change is, in the eyes of the athlete, more credible, respected and worthy of being listened to than the person (coach, parent, fellow athlete) who firstly taught them to do what they are doing.

AthleteDISC, CoachDISC, and Sports ManagerDISC

No matter what level of sport you are involved in, from community clubs to Olympic competition, any athlete or coach can benefit from this behavioral profiling system. The AthleteDISC and CoachDISC behavioral profiling systems have been specifically developed to give you detailed insight into your behavior as a coach or athlete.

Athlete Assessments’ DISC Profiles are specifically tailored to sport. Each assessment includes a 12 minute online survey and results in a personalized DISC Profile Report (with summaries for easy use). It details the individual’s personal style, strengths, limiting behaviors, communication preferences and the environment they perform best in.

For Athletes & Players – the AthleteDISC ProfileDISCathlete

Get practical strategies to coach athletes to their individual needs. Know the behaviors producing their best performances for greater consistency when it counts the most. Help your athletes build self-awareness to make improvements and take greater responsibility for their behavior, on and off “the field”. Find out more!

Click here to view the sample AthleteDISC Report

DISCcoachFor Coaches – the CoachDISC Profile

The distinguishing factor of great coaches is their constant pursuit for the competitive edge, in their athletes and themselves. Coaches will better understand their coaching styles (and their fellow-coaches’ and staff) to find new ways to further improve their coaching and communication with athletes and others. Their coaching results will only further improve, guaranteed! Find out more!

Click here to view the sample CoachDISC Report

DISCmanagerFor Sports Administrators & Professionals – the Sports ManagerDISC Profile

Provide your people with a comprehensive understanding of themselves and those they work with. It quickly improves communication, working relationships and ultimately results. Use with recruitment, as a foundation for professional development plans or part of a team building exercise. Find out more!

Click here to view the sample Sports ManagerDISC Report

If you are interested in finding out more about the services Athlete Assessments offers, please contact us today.