The 5 Biggest Mistakes in D, I, S & C Trainings

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Die 5 größten Fehler im D-I-S-G-Training

And how you can do it better


“Making mistakes early on in life from which one can learn is a great advantage.” This quote by Winston Churchill has great importance for me as a trainer for the persolog® Personality Factor Model. Over the years of working with this model, I have encountered many weaknesses that have led to frustration among participants. But I can assure you that these weaknesses were not in the model, but in us as trainers. Because we are the ones who explain the model to the participants, bringing them closer to its application and benefits. If mistakes are made here, it can quickly result in participants getting a false impression of the model and, in the worst case, calling its benefits into question. That’s why I would like to raise your awareness for the 5 most common mistakes we as trainers can make in D, I, S and C trainings and give you simple tips to avoid them:


#1 The Personal Campaign

I experienced this mistake myself many years ago (I was in my late 20s) as a participant in a D, I, S and C leadership training. I must admit, I went to the training with a preconceived notion, after all, I had known the Personality Factor Model since childhood – what could the trainer teach me that was new to me? But I was positively surprised: The trainer was a psychologist and knew exactly what he was talking about – the training was great. Now you might be wondering where the mistake was. I left the training with the firm conviction that if I did not increase my cautiousness (C), I could not lead a successful life in the long run (I have a very high D and I share, you must know). This conviction arose from the fact that cautiousness was very strongly emphasized in this training.  Exactly here lies the problem of many trainings. If a behavioral dimension is preferred by the trainer, consciously or unconsciously, it has an impact on the training and the perception of the participants.

My tip: Reflect on a regular basis and check whether the appreciation of the behavioral dimensions is evenly distributed and that you are conveying this to the participants. Because this equal appreciation is the essential basis for a successful training.


#2 The Wrong Focus

One of the most important requirements for a meaningful evaluation of the Personality Factor Profile is the focus that participants must choose at the beginning (e.g. “Me as a leader”). This focus is so critical because our behavior is influenced by two factors: our personality and the environment in which we operate. In theory, any imaginable situation can be chosen as the focus, but in practice this is not sensible. So how do you choose the right focus for working with the Personality Factor Model?

Imagine our personality as a funnel. It runs from the top “very general” (e.g. “Me in my job”) to the bottom “Me in a specific situation” (e.g. “Me in a feedback conversation with employee XY”). My recommendation is always to stay in the upper third of the funnel when choosing the focus. Otherwise, the focus is either too general or too narrow, which can lead to difficulties in the interpretation stages. Another problem is that the focus is chosen too vaguely. As a result, participants often do not know what they need to fill out. The situation is not specific enough. How can we counteract this?

My tip: Think of a really good example yourself. Many trainers don’t come up with a specific example that participants can use as a reference. However, if you think of this example in advance of your training, it creates clarity for participants in how they should choose the focus.


#3 The Power of Diagrams I and II Is Underestimated

As a trainer at persolog, I give many seminars. The seminar I teach the most often is “How to Interpret Difficult Graphs”. What I often experience in this seminar is that trainers and coaches primarily use only diagram III, the composite self-concept, and therefore only work superficially with D, I, S, and C. Diagram I (public self-concept) and diagram II (private self-concept) are neglected. But what makes us as live trainers valuable? In my opinion, it is exactly this dynamic between the three diagrams that the pure profile in text form does not offer. Many participants are not aware of what the three diagrams mean, even if they have already been to several trainings on D, I, S, and C.

My tip: Integrate all 3 diagrams in your training. Only then, you can make use oft the full power of the persolog® Personality Factor Profile.


#4 The Result Is Imposed on the Participants

What often happens: Participants don’t recognize themselves in their results. The first reaction of many trainers is then: “You can’t be right! The result must be correct”. But there are many reasons why people don’t recognize themselves in their results. The focus wasn’t chosen correctly, the calculation was incorrect, or the person doesn’t have a clear self-concept, are just a few of them. Our job as trainers in such a moment is to investigate the causes of the conflicting result and not to force the participant’s result upon them.

My tip: First of all, believe the person. Treat the person with respect and care and respect it if he/she does not recognize themselves in the result. Conduct cause analysis instead of forcing the result upon him/her.


#5 The Wrong Language

One of the biggest risks of the model is stereotyping. But that’s exactly what we don’t want at persolog. We don’t want to put people and their behavior into boxes where they then stay. Rather, we want to consider behavior situationally and help people develop. Unfortunately, I still hear sentences like “The blue one annoys me with that” or “The yellows always do that” too often. Such sentences, in which a very strong typologization takes place, are what I call “the wrong language”. This can make people feel excluded. We all carry something of each of the behavioral dimensions in us. One more and one less. However, we can learn to activate and develop our less pronounced behavioral dimensions if the situation requires it.

My tip: This is exactly what we as trainers should convey to our participants: That they appreciate how their behavior is composed, but that they also become aware that it is not set and that they can always develop in any direction.


I hope that I was able to give you one or the other helpful tip for your trainings or coachings. Of course, there are still other mistakes that we as trainers can make. If you encounter such a mistake and think that others can benefit from it, please let me know!


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The 5 Biggest Mistakes in D, I, S & C Trainings

Learn from the mistakes of others: In this webinar, Debora Karsch, Master Trainer, Author and Managing Director of persolog, provides you with practical tips on how to take your training to the next level. Learn from the mistakes of others and continuously improve your trainings.

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