Ask the Enneagram Coach, Part 8

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 eighth question in the series.

Question 8. What special techniques – either counter-intuitive ones or ones that create breakthrough moments – do you suggest for coaching clients of your style? How should these be used and when is the best time to use them?

My answer: Several spring to mind! Two simple and effective techniques are the following: guided relaxation and centering breathing.

Many people of Style Nine have difficulties in getting in touch with their body; they don’t recognize where they end and the rest of the world starts. A simple relaxation exercise, in which they focus their attention on different parts of the body, one after the other, can be very helpful. It is useful to debrief them after the exercise, to check which parts they visited. In many cases, it is the first time that they have thought about the back of their knee, or their left elbow. When they don’t recall visiting certain parts, you can help them to identify whether their focus of attention went to their thoughts (which usually has something to do with focusing outside themselves) or whether they simply dozed off (which is the classical metaphor of Style Nine being asleep to themselves.)

The second technique is helpful when they face a difficult decision or have something important to say to someone with whom they feel themselves to be in conflict. First, help them to breathe deeply to their Belly Center and to bring the focus of their attention there. Once their attention is there, remind them of the decision or the situation and ask them to say the first thing that comes to their mind. It is invariably a key sentence that helps them to decide or to communicate clearly with the other person. In addition, it is invariably a surprising and deep moment for  them!

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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