Effective communication is key to any successful relationship, and coaching is no exception. As a coach, it’s crucial to have the ability to make sure your client knows they are heard and understood, and I’ve learned firsthand how the Enneagram can serve as a beneficial tool in understanding not only your client, but also yourself, in new ways. The Enneagram (ANY-uh-GRAM) is a psychodynamic tool consisting of nine different personality types labeled by number (Type One, Type Two, etc.). Each type is defined by a specific core fear and desire, highlighting the underlying motivation behind an individual’s actions. By learning about the Enneagram and how to apply it in a coaching environment, it can add value on both an individual and interpersonal level.
By exploring the intricacies of each Enneagram type, you can gain deep insights into the reasoning behind individuals’ behaviors. As a coach, this enables you to address underlying issues more effectively and help clients become more aware of their own default patterns of habit and thought. Because each Enneagram type has its own characteristic defenses and blind spots, coaches equipped with this knowledge can anticipate and address obstacles through questions that are relevant and relatable to the client’s Enneagram type. By helping clients recognize their patterns of resistance and supporting them in exploring alternative perspectives, they can break free from unproductive patterns and consciously choose healthier responses.
In practice, I have seen the Enneagram serve as a valuable coaching tool with individuals of all types. In one instance, after completing a typing assessment and debrief, my client determined they were a Type One with a desire to be integrated and a fear of being corrupt or bad. With that, I was able to develop an awareness for common words and themes my client was sharing, one of which being self criticism. The pattern that emerged was while my client strived for perfection, it was easy for them to become hypercritical whenever they made mistakes. It then became valuable to note when their inner critic was present and share my observations. By asking how their internal monologue might be at play, it led my client to acknowledge when they were slipping into old thought patterns and replace those negative voices with positive self-talk.
Beyond clients, the Enneagram can also aid as an invaluable tool in personal growth. By exploring your own type and the role it plays in daily life, it can help uncover habitual patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. By identifying your blind spots and limiting beliefs, it beautifully models so much of the work we do with our clients. Similarly, it can be empowering to identify your unique coaching gifts and talents, promoting self-acceptance and a greater capacity to support clients along their own paths of transformation.
To learn more about the Enneagram and how to apply it in your life or coaching practice, visit EnneagramWithKate.com.