Enneagram vs. DISC Assessment: Understanding Personality and Behavior

Updated: June 10, 2024
7 minutes read
DISC assessment or the Enneagram – which system provides the most valuable insights? Whether you want to deep dive into your behavior and go from there or look at your motivations and fears, both systems have a unique way of assessing your personality.
What you will learn

Is the DISC assessment the way to go to unlock your personality? Or can the Enneagram give you more insight into who you are? When it comes to understanding why we do what we do and how we operate as human beings, we have options on what to focus on first. With all personal development tools out there, you can either go into personality types and assess what type of person acts in which kind of way, or look at it from the other side: What can behavior tell us about the the personality behind the person?

While there are a myriad of personality frameworks available, two popular systems stand out: the Enneagram and the DISC model. Both systems have their unique value and can help you grow in different areas of your life. But their focus is on different aspects of your life and can help you understand different things about yourself.

What are the 5 main differences between the Enneagram and DISC?

DISC assessment vs. the Enneagram: What can behavior tell us about personality?

The Enneagram and DISC are both popular tools for understanding personality and behavior, but they have different approaches and focus on different aspects of personality. 

  1. Philosophy and Origin:

The Enneagram is based on ancient spiritual traditions and modern psychological insights. It identifies nine basic personality types, each with its own motivations, fears, and defense mechanisms.

DISC is based on the work of psychologist William Moulton Marston and focuses on four primary behavioral styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. It emphasizes observable behaviors and communication preferences.

  1. Number of Personality Types:

While the Enneagram identifies nine distinct personality types, each with its own core motivations, fears, and desires, DISC categorizes individuals into four primary behavioral styles but recognizes that individuals may exhibit a blend of these styles to varying degrees.

  1. Focus of Assessment:

The Enneagram focuses on understanding deeper motivations, fears, and underlying psychological patterns that drive behavior.

DISC focuses more on observable behaviors, communication styles, and interaction preferences in various social and professional contexts.

  1. Complexity of Typology:

The Enneagram system is often seen as more complex and nuanced, with each type having its own set of interconnected traits, behaviors, and growth paths.

DISC is simpler in its typology, categorizing individuals into four primary behavioral styles, each with its own distinct characteristics and tendencies.

  1. Application:

The Enneagram is commonly used for personal growth, self-awareness, and understanding interpersonal dynamics in relationships, teams, and organizations.

DISC is often used in professional settings for team building, leadership development, and improving communication and collaboration among team members.

While both assessments offer valuable insights into personality and behavior, they have different focuses and applications, and individuals or organizations may find one more suitable than the other depending on their specific needs and goals.

Now, let’s dive into both systems and take a closer look at how they work, what they can do for you, and what they can help you achieve.

What is the Enneagram and how does it work?

How the Enneagram works.

The Enneagram is a personality system that categorizes individuals into nine distinct types, each representing a set of core motivations, fears, and desires. Unlike many other personality frameworks, the Enneagram focuses not just on behavior but on underlying motivations that drive behavior. A short summary of each type can help you get a better feel for the system itself.

The Enneagram is for you if you seek a deeper understanding of yourself and others. Whether you’re really into personal development, want to enhance or better navigate your relationships, or are in the field of counseling people and giving life coaching. 

Ultimately, the Enneagram is for anyone curious about human nature, who wants to explore the complexities of personality. It can be a valuable tool for navigating life’s challenges and unlocking your full potential.

We’ve also compiled a very detailed overview of the Enneagram in this article. 

What are benefits of the Enneagram?

One of the primary benefits of the Enneagram is its depth of insight into the human psyche. By understanding our core motivations and fears, we can gain clarity on why we behave the way we do and begin to recognize patterns that may be holding us back. This awareness can foster personal growth, improve relationships, and lead to greater self-acceptance and compassion.

  1. Deep Self-Understanding: Gain insights into your core motivations, fears, and desires.
  2. Enhanced Relationships: Improve communication and empathy by understanding others’ perspectives.
  3. Personal Growth: Recognize patterns of behavior and develop strategies for self-improvement.
  4. Spiritual Development: Explore spiritual aspects of personality and transcend ego-driven patterns.
  5. Holistic Approach: Embrace the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit in personal development.

How do I find an accurate Enneagram test?

While there are many Enneagram tests available online, it’s essential to choose one that is reputable and well-regarded. Look for tests that provide detailed descriptions of each type and take into account the complexity and nuance of the Enneagram system. With Personality Path’s assessment, you get a detailed and reliable result. We offer a widely respected test that many find helpful in identifying their type and starting their growth journey.

You can get started right here.

What is the DISC assessment and how does it work?

DISC is a behavioral assessment tool used to understand individual personality traits and behavior styles. It’s based on the work of psychologist William Moulton Marston, who theorized that people tend to exhibit four primary behavioral traits: Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S), and Conscientiousness (C).

What do the traits mean in more detail?

Dominance (D): People with dominant traits are typically assertive, decisive, and results-oriented. They often take charge and prefer to lead rather than follow.

Influence (I): Individuals with influential traits are usually outgoing, persuasive, and sociable. They thrive in social settings and enjoy building relationships.

Steadiness (S): Those with steady traits are generally cooperative, patient, and reliable. They value stability and prefer to work in harmonious environments.

Conscientiousness (C): People with conscientious traits are detail-oriented, analytical, and systematic. They prioritize accuracy and prefer to follow established procedures.

The assessment typically consists of a series of questions or statements where individuals rate themselves based on how well each statement describes their behavior. After completing the assessment, participants receive a personalized report outlining their dominant behavior styles and how they may interact with others in various situations.

Who is DISC for?

Although every person can use all personality assessment tools, DISC is primarily used by individuals and organizations looking to gain insights into behavioral styles and improve communication and teamwork dynamics. It’s widely used in professional settings for purposes such as team building, leadership development, recruitment, and personal growth.

Why Business Professionals? Business leaders, managers, and employees can use the DISC to enhance team dynamics, improve communication, and optimize workplace productivity. Understanding individual behavior styles can help in assigning tasks, resolving conflicts, and fostering collaboration within the organization.

Why Human Resources Professionals? HR professionals often use DISC as a tool for recruitment, employee development, and succession planning. By assessing candidates’ behavior styles, HR can make more informed hiring decisions and tailor training programs to individual needs.

Why Educators and Trainers? Teachers, professors, and trainers can utilize the the tool to better understand their students’ learning styles and adapt their teaching methods accordingly. By recognizing students’ behavior preferences, educators can create a more engaging and effective learning environment.

What are the benefits of DISC?

The key benefits of DISC include improved communication and teamwork through better understanding of behavioral styles, leading to more effective leadership, reduced conflicts, and opportunities for personal growth and development.

  1. Improved Communication: Understanding behavioral styles helps individuals communicate more effectively, leading to clearer messages and better understanding among team members.

  1. Enhanced Teamwork: DISC fosters collaboration by helping teams appreciate the diversity of behavioral styles within the group, reducing conflicts and improving overall performance.

  1. Better Leadership: Leaders can adapt their leadership styles to meet the needs of their team members, motivating them more effectively and leading to higher productivity.

  1. Conflict Resolution: DISC provides a framework for resolving conflicts by helping individuals understand the underlying reasons for disagreements and addressing them constructively.

  1. Personal Development: Individuals can use DISC to gain self-awareness and identify areas for personal growth, leading to improved effectiveness in various aspects of life.

You can take the assessment through various platforms and providers. Many organizations offer it as part of their training and development programs, while there are also online platforms where individuals can take the assessment independently for a fee. Additionally, some certified DISC consultants or coaches provide personalized assessments and interpretation sessions.

We’ve compiled a list of the best personality tests and where to take them online here.

Which personality test is right for me?

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Ultimately, the choice between the Enneagram and DISC depends on your personal preferences and goals. If you’re drawn to understanding deeper motivations and underlying fears, the Enneagram may be a better fit. If you’re more interested in practical applications and behavioral tendencies, DISC could be more suitable. Some individuals find value in exploring both systems to gain a more comprehensive understanding of themselves and others.

What do the results of both tests tell you?

The results of DISC and the Enneagram can provide valuable insights into behavior and personality development in different ways:

DISC primarily focuses on behavioral styles and how they influence interactions and communication. 

  • It helps individuals understand their preferred ways of behaving and communicating, as well as those of others. 
  • This understanding can be used to improve teamwork, leadership, and interpersonal relationships. 
  • In terms of personality development, DISC can highlight areas for growth and help individuals adapt their behavior to different situations for better effectiveness – but that is not the main use of this particular tool.

The Enneagram delves into underlying motivations and unconscious patterns of behavior and offers practical personal development options. 

  • It provides a more comprehensive understanding of personality dynamics.
  • It offers insights into personal development by uncovering deep-seated patterns, fears, and growth paths associated with each of its 9 personality types. 
  • It can guide individuals in recognizing and transcending limitations, fostering personal growth, and developing more balanced and integrated personalities.

So, while DISC focuses on observable behavior and communication styles for improving interactions and effectiveness, the Enneagram helps explain and understand into underlying motivations and unconscious patterns. This offers insights for profound personal growth and development. Both tools complement each other and can be valuable for understanding and enhancing behavior and personality development.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
back to top
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram