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What is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a system that studies the differences between people. It classifies human beings into nine personality types. These nine types are organized around a nine-point diagram. We all have the traits of the nine types, but in different proportions, and one type is usually dominant. This dominant type is our Enneagram personality style. Individuals in each of the nine types possess a unique set of psychological mechanisms and characteristics that unconsciously influences how they view the world, how they think, how they feel, and ultimately how they behave.

The competitive behavior of Threes is derived from a set of beliefs pushing the Three to attain success and recognition at all costs. The cautious behavior of Sixes is derived from a set of beliefs that shapes their thinking, feeling, and acting in a world they perceive as dangerous. And so on: as a product of the filters of its type, each type arrives at a different subjective version of reality. Identifying these mechanisms, becoming aware of them, is thus fundamental if we want to produce change.

A basic goal in every coaching process is to help the coachee to proactively take charge of his or her own life. Since each of the nine types has a unique set of mechanisms that shape their choices, we must help them uncover those mechanisms if they want to proactively pursue their dreams. In the words of R.D.Laing:

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds

Therefore, in order to begin to produce a lasting change in our lives, we must distinguish what is currently shaping our judging and our decisions. We must uncover our Enneagram type’s dynamics.