Virtual Battle Series: DiSC vs MBTI
by: Kimberly Bellefeuille
As part of ATD-MAC’s #VirtualBattleSeries, we’re fighting through the great debates in the Learning and Development profession. One of the battles I always hear is which personality indicator is better: DiSC or MBTI. Let’s explore the primary differences between them and see if we can settle this debate once and for all.
Both DISC and MBTI are assessment tools that provide insight into personality and behavior. Both are widely respected and used by individuals, organizations, institutions and corporations worldwide. Additionally, both are backed by decades of research and are their theories are scientifically sound. Like any personality profile, neither should be used as an aptitude assessment, a predictor of success in a particular job, a hiring tool, or a performance tool.
So, what really is the difference between the two? Below is a basic overview of the differences.
The truth is, declaring a clear winner is more difficult than it sounds. That’s because, a successful practitioner needs flexibility to use the right tool to achieve the best results. In fact, in my practice, I often move back and forth between the two based on the situation. When a client asks me to facilitate a session using a personality assessment, I always ask the following set of questions to determine whether DiSC or MBTI is the better fit:
- What is the objective/goal of the session?
- What’s most important for participants to come away with?
- Do participants want to understand how they think (MBTI) or how they act (DISC)?
- How much time does the team have to invest? DISC can be understood and applied more quickly – the model is simpler to interpret and for a quick-hit teambuilding session, can do the job well.
- Is this the first foray into self-awareness for this team or are they experienced with development tools? I have found MBTI is more useful for coaching, leadership development, and for addressing complex interpersonal issues.
So, in the end, rather than declare a personal favorite, I’m going to say that the personality indicator should reflect the strategy and outcomes.
Kimberly Bellefeuille has been involved in the Madison learning community for over 20 years. She is a certified administrator of Myers Briggs and a trained mediator. In addition to leading Professional Development at American Family, Kimberly designs and delivers a variety of training experiences related to unconscious bias, conflict resolution, team communication, change management, and strategic thinking. People describe her training sessions as high energy, relevant and engaging.