Are you ready to loosen your straightjacket?
Minister, civil rights activist , theologian professor (1899- 1981)
Working with the Enneagram
The Enneagram is an incredibly powerful tool enabling both personal and collective transformation. It provides a framework for piercing self discovery, guiding us out of our inner prisons towards new doorways to freedom.
What is the Origin of the Enneagram?
The origins of the Enneagram are mysterious but ancient. Fragments can be traced back to Classical Greece, to Pythagorus, 600BC, who was inspired by Homer’s Odyssey – 800 BC, the ancient Egyptians teachers, and the Eleusinian mysteries. From here to Plato in 450 BC, and Plotinus in 250 BC. Other fragments and aspects come from early Sufism, ‘The Brotherhood of the Bees’ in 1290 CE; the Jewish mystics of the same era who developed the Kabbalistic tree of life with its ninefoldedness, and the Early Christian Desert fathers. The earliest appearance of an Enneagram – like symbol, the ‘ Enneagon’ appears in the work of Catalonian monk Ramon Llull in 1305, who was trying to unite the various disciplines of the knowledge of the day. It reappears at the turn of the 20th century in the teachings of an Armenian mystic, Gurdjieff, and Gurdjieff, known for his philosophy of the 4th way, brings this sacred tool to the west. It evolves in the hands of Oscar Ichazo, a Bolivian philosopher who in the 1960’s placed nine types of personality onto the Enneagram, and the framework was further synthesized and developed by Claudio Naranjo, a Chilean psychiatrist and a pioneer in depth psychology.
What is Enneagram Coaching?
I use the framework of the Enneagram to help people gain in-depth insights about themselves as individuals, in groups, and as part of a collective. Emerging out of the structure of our Enneagram type is a path out of restriction into inner freedom and expansion. The process can be rather like gradually removing a straitjacket.
The basic Enneagram framework consists of nine different core archetypes, and therefore nine different paths. It’s not a one size fits all model, which is why this framework is so effective: Once you have decided which shoe fits , the insights from the Enneagram into our gifts and stumbling blocks are stunningly accurate. Each person is such a unique representation of humanity that typing oneself isn’t always easy or obvious. It can take a bit of mapping and some deep diving, but that is the beginning of the liberation process. Ultimately we embody all the archetypes but tend to lead with one.
Different schools of thought define the types with different emphases. I like these definitions:
- The Idealist/ Reformer
- The Promoter/ Giver
- The Performer/The Achiever
- The Creative Seeker/ Individualist
- The Thinker/The Investigator
- The Loyalist/ The Guardian
- The Optimist/ The Enthusiast
- The Asserter/ The Challenger
- The Mediator/ The Peacemaker
How can I Discover what my Enneagram type is?
There are a number of online tests and descriptions of the types that are easily accessible and this can be a good place to start. IEQ9 have a very well researched test, and David Daniels paragraphs in ‘The Wisdom of the Enneagram’ are a good starting point. However, a verbal typing interview with an experienced Enneagram practitioner really is by far the most helpful way to arrive at a place of clarity. A clear knowing of which typology you lead with is the starting point of a new path in your life.
Each type leads with a different center of intelligence; head, heart or body; has its own strengths and weaknesses, and its own defense system. And then, there are the types within the types… it unfolds.
The psycho-spiritual and somatic guidance that comes with exploring the Enneagram in a coaching session helps us discover our superpowers and uncover our blind spots. It’s an extraordinary road-map for personal discovery, helping us to understand the motivation for behaviors that either help to keep us imprisoned or set us free
Enneagram coaching is a guidance system that will help you to understand how to live more fully and will help you build and improve emotional intelligence and interpersonal relationships.
Each Enneagram personality type has a different style of management, communication, and code of conduct in their environment, be it professional or at home. Enneagram training offers you the tools to unlock your full potential.
The Enneagram can be misused to box people in, and stereotype. The point, the aim and the gift of using this tool is to move out of the boxes we can’t see.
Enneagram training offers you the tools to unlock your full potential. We are all a mixture of all of the Enneagram types. Enneagram Typing is just the beginning of a process of unfoldment. Once you have discovered which type you lead with, you can move into an ever deepening comprehension of the core that defines your subconscious behavior patterns, allowing you to identify with the self that is much vaster than any psychological pattern.
Why Do You Need Enneagram Coaching?
If you find yourself on the hamster wheel of repetition, caught in the throes of the same pattern over and over again, or just completely stuck, there may be something about yourself or your circumstances that you are missing. Something you cannot see. The Enneagram is a tool that is incredibly helpful for uncovering blind spots .
We can all benefit from perceiving ourselves in a new light, seeing how we impact other people, and how we very often unconsciously shape our own environments. Relationship dynamics are often challenging and working with the Enneagram can really help you to be more conscious of your behavior and more compassionate toward yourself, as well as helping you understand someone else’s way of being, often bringing surprising revelations about how others tick. This work promotes empathy.
New awareness is Step one toward breaking habitual unwanted neural pathways. But awareness alone isn’t enough .To actually break habitual neural pathways – self-acceptance, somatic awareness and actually acting upon changing your behavior is key.
Many people were jammed up against the wall during Covid lockdowns and unable to escape patterns of behavior in themselves and others that are excruciatingly painful . Enneagram coaching is massively helpful in terms of suddenly being able to hear the beat of someone else’s drummer, and to be cognisant of one’s own defense system.