Why MapsTell is my ICF approved tool?


"Mum, I think your behaviour is too controlling, it sometimes makes me nervous and causes me to make even more mistakes!"


That was one of many 'aha' moments that sparked a conversation between a mother and her teenage son, the mother a coaching client that was feeling trouble at home affecting her focus at work. Whilst I won’t go into the details of all of the aha moments, both mother and son walked away arm in arm from the coaching session, a little teary-eyed, giggling and most importantly with a better understanding of developing their relationship.



As a coach, during the Coronavirus pandemic, as I’m sure for many in my profession has seen an increase in mental health, need for managing well-being and strained relationships during our coaching conversations. This has required me to flex more my ability as a coach to be empathetic, to listen and disassemble fact & assumptions, which I found was leaning towards the counselling aspects of coaching. I was fortunate during this period to find in 2020, a tool called MapsTell, and it is this tool that I want to explore more in this article.



I’ve experienced that as a professional coach, it’s important to have a repertoire of tools and techniques to complement our coaching questions; in my case, I have a proprietary set of Wilosophy cards that focus on the personal values, the qualities of leadership, management styles. Another tool that I’ve developed is a very simple toolkit that supports clients to be curiously self & situational-assessing – more about these two tools in another article later. But to complete the holy trinity of my tooling as a coach, I have chosen to use MapsTell.

ICF and the DISC methodology

MapsTell is a DISC based behavioural analysis tool that allows for self-reflection to gain greater clarity – that’s it! For most people, they want to use a tool that gets them instant results, spoon-feeding and informing them categorically ‘who’ they are, prescribing 'what to do' or 'how to behave' as a result – this article is not one that delves into comparison, there are a few out there already, but instead I will share with you the merits of using MapsTell, for coaching specifically.


DISC has long been widely accepted as a behavioural assessment tool for its simplicity of use and understanding by broadly categorising people into 4 different types, Dominant, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness – with over 1 billion results on a google search, it's come a long way in nearly a century, where it is a mass and maturely adopted methodology since its evolution from the original book ‘Emotions of normal people’ by psychologist William Marston.


Most recently, the ICF, the go-to authority of coaching globally released an article written by leadership and development coach Carmen Acton, about the uses of DISC to manage behaviour and emotions in given stressful and crisis situations. Quoting directly from Carmen’s article “how different styles may manifest gives us insight to ways we can acknowledge and meet the needs and be more empathetic toward ourselves and others.” - Demonstrates one of many ways in which the DISC methodology can be adopted in coaching practice as a simple framework to help our coaches understand some of their complexities within their situations and relationships.

Great tools eventually evolve over time

I’ve done my fair share of assessments, quizzes and tests over the years in my corporate life, as an employee and for my personal life, with those ranging from the simple MBTI, to Strengths Finders, DISC, MBTI again, True Colour, and HOGAN. All great, all served a purpose (all a different price should I add), but for the most part, all results seemed to be very prescriptive – “you are this, therefore you should this”. I won’t contest the scientific proof of every tool as I’m no expert, and I know there are debates around some of the aforementioned tools being non-scientific in some circles. I will however confess that most of the tools haven’t really changed in terms of user experience – the DISC suite of output as a format by Thomas and Wiley haven’t really evolved, still report-based, lengthy and word-heavy, pictorially simple without much depth (considering roughly 70% of most humans are visual kinesthetics – feel through seeing) these reports I have found from others not really appealing or shareable. Below are examples of typical summary diagrams of DISC assessment results from Thomas and Wiley.


MapsTell on the other hand is very different, at its foundation MapsTell is a tooling company, who has created not only something aesthetically more appealing, but the experience of the tool is more reflective and less prescriptive. This has resulted in [by design] personal tailoring uniquely for the user themselves through the usage of the maps. Here I will go through two of the MapsTell tools I use; namely the Personalmap and The World of Difference.



Your Personalmap is a mapping of your preferred behavioural style, there are 16 behavioural types in total, with each map consisting of 4 areas in which to explore; (i) your landscape of behaviour, (ii) your challenges, (iii) how others perceive you, and (iv) your introvert/extrovert/people/task-focused behaviours. Each map has its own capital city, along with other typical features of a map, such as towns, cities, roads, shipping routes, light houses, islands and so on. Each carefully created based on the DISC methodology but brought to life as a map and associated words. The Personalmap is a very personal self-reflecting tool, where one same map is very likely to be interpreted differently by different persons – there is no prescription, there is no right and wrong.


The World of Difference is the 16 behaviour types stitched together, to make a map of the World of Difference, and as it suggests, there are stereotypically 16 types of behaviours, all different in our ways, yet connected. The use of the world of difference, in the form of a floor-mat, helps us first create dialogue and to help us recognise & acknowledge the perceptions we may have of others. Exploring the floor-mat gives rise to the opportunity to seek to understand - typically used for problem-solving or achieving common goals as a team or organisation.

Why use MapsTell as a Coach and conventional DISC based tool?

As I use the tool more and more in my coaching practice, I have started to understand and appreciate the power of the tool more, and whilst I am not a DISC expert, I don’t need to be, and that's why I don't think about DISC too much. For me, the Personalmap seems like it was tailor-made for coaches and professionals in people/organisational development. My peers that use MapsTell all seem to also be seasoned certified DISC trainers and practitioners, whom when I speak with them inform me that after using MapsTell they feel it’s a better tool than the traditional DISC tool in the market, that it's a better all-rounder without having to force memorising DISC methodology. When I tell them, I find it useful too, they believe that my quick adoption of the Personalmap has something to do with first I’m a coach allowing for me to be curious with the tool usage and second, I am not burdened with the years of needing to explain the DISC methodology in order for acceptance of other DISC based tools. I myself not being a DISC expert in fact being a novice has been beneficial it seems; without preconceptions and constant mindful comparisons, I use it with a fresh coaching mindset. My usage has allowed me to explore my own understanding of the scientific validity of the MapsTell tools which I see as 3 layers.

  1. DISC Methodology – Near century psychology model that depicts behaviour and adopted as an assessment tool for nearly 50 years for individual and organisational level development.

  2. Cartography – a layer of scientific and artistic features that overlay the DISC Methodology to provide visual metaphoric mapping interpretations and reflection.

  3. Linguistics – language association for the cartographic visuals, where words provide an additional layer of personal meaning & situational interpretation.

Whilst researching DISC to write this article I found that the ICF has in fact certified a DISC based tool provider already (Global DISC), leading me to assume that the DISC Methodology is now an accepted tool/framework by the ICF for our coaching toolbox, great news for us ICF certified coaches. I’m not here to discuss the merit of ICF accrediting Global DISC, instead of MapsTell or Everything DISC for that matter, but to say instead MapsTell was not created for Coaches in Mind, instead of the purpose of creating a world of better understanding, yet the Personalmap and World of Difference are so adept for coaching. I want to share that having great tools in our coaching toolbox can make us better at coaching our clients; and with the ICF endorsing DISC, I wanted to give MapsTell a shout out as a great coaching tool.



Nearly there - final thoughts for you

I’ll end on some personal experience where MapsTell has made a difference for me as a coach, so it more relatable for those reading with their coach caps on.


There have been countless occasions in the first few coaching sessions where the client and I have used pen & paper, whiteboards to map out client journeys, goal setting for their careers, projects and life etc. We’ve used techniques such as the 3 chairs to solve conflicts, we’ve all had to manage that imposter syndrome by assessing what is reality & what is an assumption, testing them through feedback and assessing action. The MapsTell Personalmap has helped me achieve all those things with greater stealth and clarity for my clients and allowed me to gently paddle along turning on the tension, poking their curiosity and reflection more effectively. It has also allowed me to branch out and focus on parent-child relationships in my mentoring, since in the right condition of usage the Personalmap seems to be a powerful medium of reference for conversation, which otherwise would be spiky.


The World of Difference has been adopted recently to help my client teams to form and, in the process, used it as an effective tool for team coaching. The MapsTell tools are absolutely not a blunt instrument, but instead, tools that add to my coaching artistry that is applicable to a greater diverse set of people which I previously didn't really pay attention to – hence it is my final piece to my holy trinity of tools.


If you want to find out more about how I use the MapsTell tools as a coach, please reach out (e-mail), else I leave you with a thoughtful activity, a coaching question I have recently asked, and now I ask you:


“On your map you have a ship called relationship – what does that mean and where is it going?”








Original source: Wechat page - Wilosophy (16 June 2021)

Author: Will Sung

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