Comparing DiSC® & MBTI®: Which one is right for you?

Posted by Bill Harshman on

In today’s lesson, we’ll compare the similarities, differences, and uses between DiSC® and MBTI® (or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®).  My goal is to help you decide not which is better or best.  Rather, my goal is to help you decide which is right for you.

Two of the most widely used instruments are DiSC® and MBTI® (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®).  I'm often asked which is better, DiSC® or MBTI®?  I've worked with both for years and have seen powerful results from each.  (Today’s article is intended for those who have some familiarity with both DiSC® and MBTI®)   I'm a fan of the DiSC® primarily because of its simplicity, ease of remembering, and short length.  I can usually ask someone if they remember their DiSC® style, and in most cases, they reflect back on the 4 dominant behavior types and go from there.  However, not as quickly for the MBTI®.  They need to remember and refocus on the 16, 4-letter personality types and corresponding interpretations.  Mind you, I've defended the MBTI® throughout my career depending on the audience.  In fact, I've facilitated interventions which began with the DiSC®, continued with the MBTI®, and then wove the results together. 

DiSC® vs MBTI® Summary

DiSC®:  The DiSC® is a two-factor model which shows your preference for each of 2 pairs of attributes: 

  • PACE: Are you more . . . Faster-paced, Outspoken OR Cautious, Reflective
  • AGREEABLENESS: Are you more . . . Questioning, Skeptical (results-focused) OR Accepting, Warm (people-focused)


For example, assume your DiSC® identified your preferences as Cautious & reflective combined with Questioning & Skeptical.  Your preferences indicate you are a C or Conscientious.  People with a C style place a high priority on Accuracy, Stability, and Challenge.   Other terms which might describe them include:  Analytical, Reserved, Precise, Private, or Systematic.

MBTI®:  The MBTI® is a four-factor model which shows your preference for each of 4 pairs of attributes which identify an individuals’ perception and judgment:

  • Favorite world. Extraversion OR Introversion:  Do you prefer to focus on the outer world (extraversion), or on your own inner world (introversion)?
  • Information. Sensing OR Intuition:  Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in (sensing), or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning (intuition)?  (Note:  The “n” is underlined to denote intuition as to not confuse it with the “I” for Introversion)
  • Decisions. Thinking OR Feeling:  When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency (thinking), or first look at the people and special circumstances (feeling)?
  • Structure. Judging OR Perceiving:  In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided (judging), or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options (perceiving)?

For example, let’s say your MBTI® results showed your preferences as: 

Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, and Perceiving

Among the possible 16 types, your type is considered an ENFP.  (Description from  “People with an ENFP type are warmly enthusiastic and imaginative.  They see life as full of possibilities.  They make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see.  They want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support.  They are spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.  Other terms which might describe an ENFP include:  vision-oriented, quietly innovative, insightful, conceptual, independent, determined.”

Not sure yet?  Let me try and boil this down to its simplest bullet points:

  • MBTI® is an indicator of how people process internally
  • DiSC® is an indicator of how personality translates to (observable) behavior
  • The MBTI instrument sorts for preferences and does not measure trait, ability, or character.
  • DiSC® is about understanding self and others
  • MBTI® is primarily about understanding self                                                                           
Here's my simple car analogy when asked about DiSC® versus MBTI®.  Let's say you are choosing between two cars . . . a luxury sedan and a pickup truck. 


Some might laugh.  (And, in no way am I insinuating that DiSC® is the pickup truck, and the sedan is MBTI® . . . Or vice versa.)

However, EACH is ideal for it's respective, appropriate, intended use.  One is a luxury car that comes with all the bells & whistles, smooth ride, high cost, and requires special technicians to repair problems.  The other is about function, less frills, easy to repair, can haul and tow, and has a much lower cost.  One better than the other?  Not really.  Which one suits your needs is the better one, objectively speaking.

Whether you choose DiSC® or MBTI®, any assessment tool that helps you understand yourself and human interaction is an incredible resource.  I just wish I had been introduced to these tools in high school. 

I hope this overview increased your awareness, knowledge, and familiarity of DiSC®.  Whether your needs include Employee Engagement, Conflict Management, Team Building, or simply Communication, DiSC® is the research-based, proven, leading training solution.

As ALWAYS, the key to effectiveness through DiSC® is understanding your and others’ styles and then using that knowledge for improved interactions.

If you would like a live, complimentary webinar (online) for your team or organization, please send an email to  If you’d like to purchase the DiSC®, visit  DiSC® Classic or Everything DiSC® at our website.  And, check out our products from The Ken Blanchard Companies as well.

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