Why a Coach and the Enneagram help
If you wish to improve your performance in an area that is rewarding or difficult but necessary, a coach can help. I think the understanding of “coach” is important, especially if you have been to school. In school, the standards were standard. Everyone had to learn the same material and the implicit pattern was that you worked the longest and hardest at what you either didn't like or couldn't do well. “Remedial” was the byword and you didn't get to do what you cherished until you learned what you were told. No music until you learned multiplication tables.
Coaching is almost the opposite. An Enneagram coach can help you develop your talents and make your strong suit stronger. Anyone who thinks that “Following your bliss,” is easy has never watched a superb athlete or musician and felt their effort and noticed a coach in the wings. Coaching focuses on helping you do what you want to do and want to do it better.
Many people come for coaching who have a shelf of self-help books. They are some help, but coaching is about you—your undeveloped resources, specific issues and, it must be said, your Enneagram style.
Why is your Enneagram style so important? Let me list the ways.
Practically every inspirational or directional self help book finds it necessary to tell you to focus. If you listen to sports events, the announcers talk to the coaches about focus and the interviews after the game frequently mention focus. If you are a professional athlete and playing in front of thousands, do you really need to be encouraged to focus? Apparently. An Enneagram coach knows why. No matter what your conscious focus—money, specific goals, recognition, medals – you also have an Enneagram focus and when you are not able to focus on what you say you want to focus on, you ARE focusing on what your Enneagram style relentlessly focuses on. A Nine will have all the conscious resolve to finish some project, but if it is going to involve conflict that project might not get done. His focus on harmony trumps his need to finish the task. A Three will say she wants a better relationship with her husband, but if her important job requires long long hours, she will work from dawn to dusk. You can take it for gold that when you are not working toward or accomplishing the goals you say and consciously want, you are doing what your Enneagram style wants to do. You ignore your Enneagram focus at considerable peril. You harness it for mastery.
You can make all the resolutions you want, but unless you have the energy to carry them out, you stay at mediocrity or even failure. Energy always flows from a focus of attention. If you want to know yourself, ask what augments or drains your energy. Except in extreme cases, we always have energy to do the things our Enneagram style suggests. Sevens are “up” for novelty and variety, Twos can take care of others even if they can't find the energy to take care of their own needs.
Model of the world
Do you believe in UFOs? What about Scientology or Astrology? Whether you do or not depends on what information you allow into your world. We all have a model of the universe that filters out and allows certain information. We may think we are using “common sense,” but a good definition of common sense is the set of filters we routinely employ. It makes common sense to an Eight to take command and it is equally apparent to a Six that the important thing is to work for the good of the community. “Common” is common to our Enneagram style bias. When a coach can expand and enrich your model of the universe, things that we find difficult or even impossible now become just common sense. A style Four discovers that balancing his checkbook is just really common sense, even though it is mundane and boring.
Successful people often get asked, “What's your secret of success?” The assumption often is that if something worked for them, it will work for the rest of us. Not so. The successful person usually answers with their Enneagram strategy. Threes credit hard work, Eights credit boldness, Fours credit creativity and Fives credit knowledge—all in some form or another. A coach will teach you what your unconscious or partially conscious Enneagram strategies are and how they empower or sabotage you. Your “secret” to success is often merging your conscious public intention and efforts in harmony with the desires and strategies of your Enneagram style. You don't plow with a Porsche, but there are places in which that machine is highly effective. An Enneagram coach can help you align your personal goals with the energies you have used all your life.
Help when you are stuck
You don't read many self-help or management books before you understand what you "should" do to be successful in anything you do: focus, work hard, affiliate and keep your integrity. That and a bit of luck should just about get you there.
Yes, but. An Enneagram coach understands why you don't, and in one sense, can't do the things you know you should do. Take something as simple as focus. An Enneagram coach knows that whatever your conscious focus is, you have a powerful rudder just below the surface of your awareness that has its own focus.
Life can be hard. That's why it is interesting. A coach can support you, gently re-direct you and help you with your self-understanding. From an Enneagram depth of self-understanding (and understanding your boss or spouse or banker) you can discover more options and resources than you have all by yourself.
And the best part is that when I do my job right, you will be convinced you did it all yourself and you and everyone else will give you full credit for your success.