DISC Talk as you like it

Melissa Master Holder
Melissa Master-Holder is the Vice President, Learning &
Development for LPL Financial in San Diego and introduced the
organization to the DISC when she joined it over two years ago. She has worked in the Training and OD fields for more than 18 years. Melissa first took her first DISC assessment 15 years ago. She started using the DISC as part of a management training program she developed four years later at a very fast growing company. A few years later, at another firm, Melissa used the DISC as a leadership coaching and training tool. In 2006, Melissa became a graduate of the very first DISC Cert class. Melissa continues to be actively participating alum who has graciously shared her many DISC training experiences with a number of classes over the past four years.

Bonnie Burn asked Melissa Master-Holder to be one of the first DISC Cert grads to be featured in a DISC Talk interview series, because Melissa has very deep knowledge and experience as a DISC trainer. Please read below and learn more about how Melissa uses the DISC to help the financial services firm where she works achieve its goals.

Bonnie Burn (BB):

Melissa, what made such an experienced trainer and OD specialist like you take DISCcert’s DISC Certification training in the first place?

Melissa: By 2006, I wanted to delve deeper into more and different ways to be able to train people on how to apply the DISC back on their jobs. I’d been using the DISC for about 11 years by then and wanted to do more with it. I had heard you are a DISC expert. I learned a lot more from you in those two days than I could have on my own. Since then as I continue using the DISC, I keep coming up with all sorts of new ideas. I’ll share some of them in the webinar.


Great news, I’m looking forward to hearing them. Now I am wondering, how has your view and use of the DISC changed over the years?

Melissa: I don’t use the DISC assessment or conduct DISC training in isolation. It’s become part of the overall OD work that I’ve done for my current company and was at several previous ones. What I’ve continued to observe is that once the executives and senior managers adopt the use of the DISC, then they start asking for additional DISC training at offsite meetings, or for a new team, or to kick-off a new project. Now, everyone at my company has heightened awareness of how helpful the DISC can be. It has helped me be seen as a resource. My boss, the head of HR has jokingly calls it the “Melissa Fan Club” because she is aware of how many of the managers have seen good results. The DISC is a great tool to be able to have in an OD and conflict resolution toolbox.


How has using the DISC helped your current management team and employees?

Melissa: We’ve identified some core competencies. The DISC closely relates to two of them. Learning how to apply the DISC has helped both the managers and employees become more flexible and adaptable. Communicating more effectively has helped people work together better and interact more effectively with different kinds of customers. Ours is a business based on relationships. The DISC is helping us drive for better results.


What suggestions do you have for other trainers who’d like to use the DISC?

Melissa: First, before anyone starts to use a DISC assessment or conduct DISC training, I think it is very important to find out what keeps the executives up at night, or what causes them the most pain, or what one thing they would like changed about how we communicate around here. I don’t try to give them solutions without knowing the answers to questions like these. You need to show them how using the DISC will benefit them. Don’t start off by trying to sell the features. Match up the benefits of the DISC that will reduce their types of pain. The next suggestion I have is that it helps to use you as an example throughout the training. I have a high “I” style and it isn’t easy for me to step out of it. I have to humble myself and stay in the center. I’ll put the Leader’s Guide down and start talking with someone else and then ask the group what style is that? Depending on the issues or who is there, I can now make up exercises on the fly to meet their needs as I go along in the program. Thinking back to those early years, I was so passionate that I may have overdone it. I’ve found that if I use myself as an example, the “Cs,” “Ds,” and even the “Ss’” don’t have to go so deep into their styles in public, in the room. It can make some people very uncomfortable. It’s not as much about me as it is about them. You need to have multiple DISC tools and know how to flex to use them.

BB: Thank you very much Melissa for sharing your DISC Training insights.

Melissa: My pleasure.  Using DISC works!

Contributing Editor and Sr. HR Consultant, Mona Melanson

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