Ask the Enneagram Coach, Part 6

Ginger Lapid-Bogda’s The Enneagram in Business portal contains 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. Here’s my answer to the sixth question in the series.

Question 6: What is the most frustrating part for coaches working with clients of your style and what can coaches do about it?

My answer: The most frustrating issue that can crop up is the coachee agreeing to do something and then not following through. This can occur for a variety of reasons: first, the person doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation and, therefore, doesn’t attach much importance to their commitment. Secondly, the coachee feels the suggestion is really the coach’s, or they feel they have been led to this action by the coach’s gotcha line of questioning.

The problem for the coach is that the “yes” of a Style Nine can have a wide variety of meanings: “I hear you”, “I understand what you’re saying”, “I agree with you”, “I will do it”, or “not in my lifetime, buddy!”. Unless your listening skills are particularly nuanced, you might not hear which yes you’ve just been given. One way to handle this is to ensure that the client develops the action plan themselves. Another way is to build in a few small in-between steps, so that there is an early warning that something is off course. For example, if the client wants to prepare a business plan by the end of the month, then ask, by when they’d need  a first draft so that they can make the deadline. Thus, it’s clear to all involved early enough, if something is on-course for completion or off-course. No need to wait for the tears and told-you-so’s at the end of the month.

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

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