Multi-modal interactions are frequently observed in intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) of proteins upon binding to their partners. In many cases, post-translational modifications in IDRs are accompanied by coupled folding and binding. From both molecular simulations and biochemical experiments with mutational studies, we show that the IDR including a Ser rich region (SRR) of the transcription factor Ets1, just before the DNA-binding core domain, undergoes multi-modal interactions when the SRR is not phosphorylated. In the phosphorylated state, the SRR forms a few specific complex structures with the Ets1 core, covering the recognition helix in the core and drastically reducing the DNA binding affinities as the auto-inhibitory state. The binding kinetics of mutated Ets1 indicates that aromatic residues in the SRR can be substituted with other hydrophobic residues for the interactions with the Ets1 core.