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What’s the Difference -- Myers-Briggs, DISC, and EQ Assessments

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

People often ask me, “What’s the difference between Myers-Briggs, DISC, and EQ assessments?” The short answer is, Myers-Briggs and DISC assessments are personality assessments. They’re psychological instruments and these kinds of instruments “are used to measure abstract qualities that we can’t touch or see,” the Research Report for Adaptive Testing Assessment from Wiley, the publisher of Everything DiSC©, notes. Examples of these characteristics include intelligence, honesty, and extroversion. (I’m going to mainly focus on DISC and the EQ assessments from Six Seconds in this article since they are the two kinds of assessments I use in my work.) I’m an Everything DiSC Certified Trainer and I use DISC assessments periodically with clients. The tools are excellent and practically oriented. Having used them myself, they’ve opened doors for me in understanding and connecting more authentically with people at work and in my personal life. The Emotional Intelligence assessments I provide as a Practitioner with Six Seconds, by comparison, focus on our brain’s preferences for cognitive and emotional data. The Six Seconds assessment tools are very robust -- they too are practically oriented, and this also was a major factor in choosing to use them with clients. One good way to think about the two kinds of assessment tools -- personality and EQ assessments -- is to use the metaphor of a car.

The Car’s “Style” = Personality

The body of the car is what we see at first glance. Something “speaks” to us about it, on an obvious or a more subtle level. For example, I may really love the new style of the VW Beetle -- it’s rounded shape, the cool colors it’s available in -- but my friend may not care for it. Essentially the design or style of the car represents its personality. Likewise, the DISC assessment identifies our own personality style -- what we find most comfortable when it comes to relating to other people. We’re often more at ease around people who have personalities we can relate to in some way. DISC provides us with a map for identifying how to do that. The DISC assessments are a great tool to relationship-building. They’re used for creating greater team cohesion, for building rapport as part of business or donor development, and for developing management and leadership skills. The Car’s “Engine” = Brain Preferences

By contrast, the engine of the car is similar to our emotional intelligence. For example, a car engine may run better when we use a certain grade of motor oil. It all has to do with how the engine is put together -- what’s under the hood or our brain preferences. Research shows that our “engines” (our brains) are put together with particular preferences that make us “run” optimally. We’re drawn to emotional data or rational data, practical or long-term data, evaluative or innovative data, as the EQ reports from Six Seconds depict. (Learn more about many EQ assessment tools and how Six Seconds tools compare at this article.) The EQ assessments are tools I’ve taken myself, and like the DISC tools, I’ve found them very beneficial. They’ve identified what my brain prefers and have helped me unlock the mysteries of why I like certain projects, people, and experiences, and perhaps most of all, they’ve guided me in making better choices professionally and personally. And the insights from further developing my own EQ competencies have been tremendously useful on the teams I work on, in business development, and with my family and friends. EQ assessments are valuable for delivering on the 3Rs - Retention, Results, and Renewal (Innovation) in the workplace. Numerous studies show the value of creating an EQ culture in organizations, as well as when leaders and individuals develop and call on their EQ skills in their day-to-day work. See this ebook about the business case for EQ to learn more. How can the DISC or EQ assessments be a resource to you and your company or nonprofit in reaching your business goals? Please reach out to us to discuss how these practical tools can deliver results for you and your team.

Can we help with building and sustaining the skills you or your team need to advance professionally? Reach out to Beth Offenbacker, PhD, CPCC, ACC, at or via phone or text at 703-623-4811 to discuss if our Green Career Management or Green Talent Management services are right for you. We work with professionals and organizations that have a sustainability focus in their work. All services are customized to your needs.

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