Scholarship Feature – Averyl Aeria

LAST UPDATE ON June 28, 2023

One of the first things I realised is how helpful DISC is for the clients that I coach and/or the teams I, and my clients are working with. DISC helps to measure a person’s behaviour and emotions in a given context – in their work environment and/or their home environment. If you were to look at an iceberg, DISC would be able to measure that 10% that lies above the surface of the water – it is what you can see or observe. What DISC helps us with is developing self-awareness – how we might be programmed which will then hopefully, give us an appreciation for the difference in another and how they may be a complement to us. DISC can also be helpful in how we approach someone, learning how to communicate in a way they can “hear” us and can especially be helpful in preventing conflict or helping to bring resolution to a conflict.

I work with leaders in non-profits. Over the years, I have noticed that they have a passion to serve and to give generously to the marginalised and to the poor and needy. One area I see that causes stress is the work/life balance in the lives of my clients and the way they self-care. Putting the needs of others is not a hard thing for these leaders – it is often hard to remember that they too are valuable and how to care for themselves in a way that makes what they do sustainable in terms of their own well- being and for the long term.

I often share the analogy of an airplane. When the oxygen mask announcement is made, the flight attendant says how important it is for us to put on the oxygen mask on ourselves before we attend to others around us. I see the same when working with my clients in non-profits. After I share this analogy with them, I ask them how impactful was this analogy. Some laugh, others are quite sober. It tends to give them a picture of what self-care is and how they need to not only gain insight on this but also to take steps to incorporate a system of self-care for themselves on a daily, weekly and monthly basis that is sustainable.

After their discovery of what is needed in the area of self-care, and their wanting to make changes in this area, I would coach them. I would begin by going through their DISC profile with them, asking them to identify what are their areas of stress and what seems to be draining them. Looking at the graphs in a DISC profile can help you and your client see where the potential stressors or areas of conflict could be.

I would also look at what they have done so far in the area of self-care and what has been helpful or what seems to work best for them. We would also look at where do they sense dissatisfaction and what might be the impact on them both personally and professionally if this area should continue the way it is.

Then based on their DISC profile, we would co-create what might be potential strategies for them to refuel, refresh and recharge – what might self-care look like for a D, I, S or C? E.G. Often “D’s” need a challenging, physical outlet. Being a “D” myself, I see how often a good walk or physical activity really helps me de-stress and refuel. “I’s” may need some social interaction like a games or movie night. “S’s” would appreciate one on one time or time over coffee with a few friends with meaningful conversation. And “C’s” may appreciate “alone” time to reflect and process. Again, it may vary depending on the “mix” of not just their other letters but their values, etc. These are just rough guidelines and ideas.

Along with this plan or strategy, I would ask what kind of support, encouragement and accountability might be helpful for these leaders. I also ask what might be potential barriers or obstacles? At our next session, I would follow up on the action steps that they have agreed to work on. I have found DISC to be very helpful for my coaching clients who are leaders in non-profits.

I do have a few clients who are not leaders in non- profits. I once coached a client to discover what she sensed was her “vocation” or “calling.” In her own words, it was “what she was born to do.” As I coached her, patterns emerged of what had been interests in her life from her school days. My client also saw parallels to what were her personal and family values that tied in to what she was hoping to do. As we looked at her DISC profile, it all seemed to tie in together. My client has a strong moral compass and a desire to help others especially marginalised children and teens. We discussed what might be areas of strength as she pursued this career and what might be areas to take note of that could be potential stressors and obstacles. I coached her on what might be a good wellness plan for her to embark on as she began this journey.

What happened after our sessions together was that she went on to do a MA in the field of social work especially dealing with trauma for children and teens and is now working as a social worker in her home nation. She also fosters a child as part of her work and part of the programme she is with. I believe she is in exactly the right place and making a difference in the lives of children and teenagers in her nation.

As a coach who has had training as a behavioural consultant, a career coach and in stress management, I am able to serve my clients and help them succeed both professionally and personally. I also get to see their dreams become a reality as they move forward step by step.

Averyl Aeria

Professional Life & Leadership Coach