Moving from the Professional to the Personal
A couple knew their relationship was in trouble. Both had expressed how unhappy they were with the marriage. They fought often and had no rituals with each other. In fact, they were basically just grudging roommates who avoided intimacy.
The DiSC Indra was a solution that could help the couple learn about themselves and their relationship.
It may seem may seem odd to attempt to fix a broken romantic relationship by using an instrument that is traditionally applied to the corporate world. However, the principles of interpersonal behavior apply to any communication between two people. The insights that people gain through objective, scientifically based instruments can help them understand and appreciate themselves better in any setting.
Neither partner in the troubled couple was doing any stretching. When problems arose, the husband would shut down and stonewall while she would become impatient and insistent. In addition, they were facing an issue that would strain any marriage. They had recently lost a daughter to cancer.
The fact that they had a surviving daughter to whom they were dedicated was the chief reason that they were still together. They needed more than that to salvage their relationship, they needed to reestablish intimacy and trust.
They couldn’t say to their partner, This is what I’m thinking, am I on track? Because they weren’t sure how their partner would respond.
The underlying causes for the couple’s problems went beyond the tragedy of their daughter’s death. They had little knowledge of their own behavioral styles, let alone each other’s. Also, professional stresses had infringed on their personal relationship.
The husband had recently been elevated into management, which meant he had to be more people interactive, and that was very uncomfortable for him. The wife is a high-level executive, and she has to move away form her natural style daily.
With no shortage of complications in the couple’s relationship, improving their communication skills wasn’t going to be enough. So a program was created that would simultaneously work on three levels of development.
Helping the couple learn to increase their self-awareness and to analyze their own behavior before acting upon it were goals on an individual level. In addition, the husband and wife needed to take responsibility for their emotions.
On an interpersonal level the couple was taught about each other’s style and how to respond positively to the partner’s behavior. Also emphasized was the need to resolve past grievances that they had let fester.
Finally, on a professional level, the couple needed to adapt to their respective work roles. They were taught they should strive to conserve energy at work so as to avoid frustration and fatigue at home.
Accomplishing these goals presented a huge challenge. DiSC Indra was introduced to the program and was ideal for the situation because the instrument looks at interpersonal issues, not just behaviors within the individual.
Specifically, the behavior continuum to the couple’s DiSC Indra Dyad Report was used to help them identify which areas they wanted to focus on. It was emphasized to the couple that they should take time to personalize the instrument.
The hope is that the couple will use the knowledge to improve communication and to build self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
The couple’s results of the DiSC Indra allowed the husband and wife to look at their relationship from a different perspective. They talked about how and when to stretch toward another style, and they gained insight into each other’s preferences and behaviors.
DiSC Indra also inspired a creative exercise to illustrate how different styles relate to one another. The couple was asked to imagine placing the circular DiSC Indra map on the floor. Then the husband and the wife took turns walking around the imaginary circle while giving their gut reactions to the styles.
Depending on the style described, they might say, I feel like I have a weight on my shoulders’ or I feel a lot of energy. This showed how the different styles affected their behavior.
The concept of the DiSC Indra vector was the starting point for another exercise. There were two circles drawn, one labeled “Spouse” and the other labeled “Marriage.” The couple drew vectors that indicated their commitment to those concepts.
To begin with, the wife’s vector was really short. This allowed the discussion of the differences between their commitment levels.
The couple wound up discussing almost every aspect of their relationship during the session. Throughout it all, positivity was emphasized to keep the couple from getting discouraged. It was also made clear to them that the point of the sessions was to build skills.
The importance of these sessions is not to make the people feel good. In fact, the specific latest problem may not get solved. The focus is to build skills and help people learn how to communicate outside of the sessions.
The couple did indeed learn how to communicate better. In addition, they gained knowledge of their own behavior and realized that each partner had legitimate stresses. They also saw that some negative behavior might have nothing to do with each other.
Another breakthrough came when the couple analyzed their personal styles at work. This helped them think about their interactions with colleagues each day, which aided in their efforts to conserve energy for home. They are now able to connect with one another at the end of the day and there is less fighting and more compassion for one another.
As a result of their improved interaction and communication, the couple has stepped back from the brink of divorce, something that seemed unimaginable before their sessions. Of course, even as old issues become resolved or subdued, new problems often arise. For example, the couple started having more disagreements about the proper way to raise their surviving daughter. This is a positive step, because the couple’s unexpressed child-rearing problems are now being addressed.
Along with improvements on a personal and interpersonal basis, the couple has seen a positive evolution in their professional roles. They are now more intentional about work and are more proactive at their jobs. The husband, in particular, reported more enthusiasm for his work.
He volunteered for a guru role with his organization. In the past, he never would have done that. He came back full of energy that he’d done it successfully and was really confident with what he had accomplished.
DiSC Indra works on multiple levels because the essence of communication is the same, regardless of the specific relationship. Whether DiSC Indra helps people on their personal lives or career roles, the instrument’s effectiveness is sound.
You do not have to be a counselor or therapist to understand and use DiSC Indra. DiSC Indra works as well in the workplace as it does in our personal lives. Relationships are two-way streets, and this tool helps people develop awareness about how and where they show up in the communication process. Dialogue and discovery gives us the why.
DiSC Case Study from Inscape Publishing