Ask the Coach, Part 1

Ginger Lapid-Bogda recently launched The Enneagram in Business portal. The learning portal is part of this great resource, with great contributors such as Jerry Wagner (describing the Types or Styles in detail) and Bea Chestnut (on the Sub-types). There’s also an “Ask the Coach” feature, where a coach of each Type answers the same question about coaching, to give a flavor of the different possible perspectives. Ginger asked me to be the Type 9 – or Peacemaker – representative on this panel.

The first question is: What is the most common coaching challenge for clients of your style, how is it related to their Enneagram style, and what coaching advice would you give to coaches who coach them?

My answer: Answering a question as galactic as this rates among the top challenges for people of Style Nine! Many Nines delay coaching until a problem has grown into the North Face of the Eiger. This is an example of our tendency to minimize problems and delay dealing with them. At the same time, deep down inside, the problem feels huge and laming. This combination relates to our Enneagram style, where we are asleep to our own needs and thus find it difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff.

This can make coaching a Nine a real challenge if the coach relies on the Nine for data – therefore, it’s important to collect it also from their supervisor, colleagues, and coworkers. Once you’ve noticed this pattern, do your best not to be mesmerized by our ability to spin stories about anything and everything. Stay focused on the issue, nudge us gently back to topic, as often as it takes. (Patience is not only a virtue, it’s also a useful tool when coaching Nines.) And help us identify some small first step that we can take. Once in motion, we can make surprisingly rapid progress. To paraphrase Lao Tse: A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first, small step.

If you’d like to see the other eight answers, head over to the Enneagram Learning Portal. If you’d like to share your answer to the question, please leave a comment or trackback.

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