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 ninth question in the series.
Question 9. Suggest a metaphor for clients of your style that coaches can use with them to illuminate something important for clients to learn? Why do you choose this metaphor and how would coaches best use it?
My answer: I’ve experienced a lot of discomfort working with metaphors. I often felt like I was invading the client’s space, injecting them with something. For about a year now, I’ve been experimenting with Mary Basts’s Mettapohoria approach, where the metaphor emerges from the client’s own descriptions and language. My job, as coach, is simply to support the client in exploring their own metaphor. Here’s an excerpt from a conversation with soemone of Style Nine, who had difficulty in getting her business going:
Coach: And when you get going?
Client: Mountains turn into molehills?
Coach: And when mountains turn into molehills, that’s like …
Client: It’s fun! … Satisfying!
Coach: And when it’s fun and it’s satisfying, how does it feel?
Coach: And when you get going, where are you?
Client: On a path!
For the next several minutes, the conversation went on to support her in fleshing out the description of this path and what she found as she moved along it. As coach, I didn’t need to understand or suggest any part of the metaphor. Within days, her block had dissolved and her business is now thriving.