Every day I meet professionals who have been introduced to the enneagram in some way, for example by reading a book or attending a workshop. They have a general perspective on the enneagram and the nine personality structures (the types).
I often hear them say: ‘interesting stuff, but what can I do with it?’
There are many books about the enneagram. Most of them come up with a theoretical explanation of the model and the types. Unfortunately, they do not mention how that knowledge can be applied in your professional life.
And that is exactly what coaches, counselors and other professionals want to know! Do you recognize this?
I have been working in this field for more than twenty years, and meet passionate colleagues with a genuine interest in others all the time. They love their profession and wish to keep on learning. The more you learn and experience in everyday practice, the more interesting the line of work becomes. Professionals are committed to expand their knowledge and skills. Though, after the enneagram is introduced, lots of them do not know how to implement it in their work and move on. Do you recognize this?
Well, do you know there are lots of methods, which allow you to work with the enneagram? Yes that is what I said: there is more than one!
This is what I would love to share with you in the upcoming blogs. While the origin of the enneagram might not be completely clear, the method is not that old (about 30 years) and very much alive worldwide! All over the world my colleagues and I are continuously innovating. Methods and instruments are tested and improved for usability on a daily basis. ‘Best practices’ are shared, and I would love to share them with you!
The upcoming six blogs I will share information about several ways to apply the enneagram.
In the last three articles I wrote about the inner transformative process based on the enneagram. Therefore I will now focus on something completely different: the usability of the model in conflict mediation. A sneak peak…
It is not because of me!
Many conflicts are not so much about content, but merely about the relationship (also business relations). For example, people feel pain because they experience not being seen, heard, recognized or appreciated by the other. This triggers emotions during the clash. Conflicts which connect with people on a emotional level are partly universal. However, for another (major) part they differ significantly per enneagram type.
The nine types each have their own specific sensitive point, a way how this is triggered and reactivity (an impulsive reaction, both on the inside as the outside).
People are primarily temped to act on their own standards, and idealized self-image. We tempt to see the ‘good’ things we bring, and at the same time the negative stuff the other puts in which causes the conflict. As blind as we are to our self, our perspective on someone else is often very, very clear.
In the next examples of idealized self-images you will probably recognize (unspoken) beliefs why people tempt to think that they are not responsible for the conflict:
- Type 1: I am a good human being (so I do not cause conflicts)
- Type 2: I am a helpful people-orientated person (so I do not cause conflicts)
- Type 3: I am a constructive human being (so I do not cause conflicts)
- Type 4: I am a sensitive feeling person (so I do not cause conflicts)
- Type 5: I am a ‘live and let live’ person (so I do not cause conflicts)
- Type 6: I am a trustworthy person (so I do not cause conflicts)
- Type 7: I am a positive person (so I do not cause conflicts)
- Type 8: I am righteous person (so I do not cause conflicts)
- Type 9: I am a peaceful person (so I do not cause conflicts)
The added value of the enneagram in mediation. The mediator can find a point of action by using knowledge of and insights in people’s inner mechanisms. Added value can be found on four levels:
- The other
- Me and the other
- Between the others
Next time I will tell more about this!
Jeanette van Stijn
But now I have a question for you!
Tell me which field of expertise interests you to work with the enneagram in your profession. Or, if you already work with the enneagram, how you use it and what it adds to your work.
Have you got any questions about this for me? Ask them here, I am glad to answer them!