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Uncovering type thru lucid probing | mistaken identity for Sixes

Those of us who want to identify our Enneagram types correctly, as well as those of us who guide others, have a common intention: accuracy! But too often, one phrase or statement reminds us of one of the types in particular. As a result, we end up thinking This is it! A closer examination or inquiry into such statements often reveals a type other than what we first imagined.

In this series of 9 blogs, I take one statement we might easily associate with a particular type, but then use a lucid probing technique, which involves two specific questions that uncover the true meaning of the statement. It works like this. First, ask a question to explore the meaning of the statement, rather than making an inference from the statement. Second, explore the underlying drive or motivation beneath the statement.

Lucid Probing
1st Explore the meaning of the statement
What does ____ mean to you?

2nd Explore the underlying motivation for the statement
What causes you to _____?

The Statement | “It’s important that I really trust someone.”
This statement sounds like a type 6, but is it? Yes, Sixes have a deep need to trust others, but so do several other types.
Type 6
1st Explore the meaning of the statement
What does “It’s important that I really trust someone” mean to you?
What a Six might say
“I don’t trust many people, although I want to trust others. Sometimes I can even be naïve about trusting someone. Trust is just really important to me”

2nd Explore the underlying motivation for the statement
What causes it to be so important for you to “really trust someone”?
What a Six might say
“I’ve never been sure who I can trust and who I can’t. I have some close friends who I trust a lot, but there are others who I know are not trustworthy. I do have an antennae for people who have hidden motivations or hidden agendas. If I can’t trust someone, how can I be sure they will be there for me and support me? I need to feel support from people in my life; otherwise I get anxious, very anxious. ”

Yes, the answers appear to suggest this person might be an Enneagram Six. However, without the inquiry of Lucid Probing – that is, if the initial statement “It’s important that I really trust someone” was taken at face value and it was assumed to be a Six statement – an unintentional wrong typing identification is possible. Here are some other types that might easily have made the statement “It’s important that I really trust someone.”

The Statement | “It’s important that I really trust someone.”
Type 4
1st Explore the meaning of the statement
What does “It’s important that I really trust someone” mean to you?
What a Four might say
“I need to trust someone emotionally. If there is no trust, there is really no relationship.”

2nd Explore the underlying motivation for the statement
What causes it to be so important for you to “really trust someone”?
What a Four might say
“I am very relationship focused in my personal and professional life. It’s crucial in my relationships that we trust one another, and part of trust is based on really understanding and being there for one another, particularly in time of duress. I just really need to be understood by people in my life. I also want to understand them. I also want to know that they won’t leave me during difficult times.”

The Statement | “It’s important that I really trust someone.”
Type 5
1st Explore the meaning of the statement
What does “It’s important that I really trust someone” mean to you?
What a Five might say
“I don’t trust that many people in my personal life; maybe I trust fewer than five, but I’ve known these people for a very long time. At work, I prefer to trust people, and this generally means that they do what they say they will do, turn in work on time, and don’t expect more of me than I offer.”

2nd Explore the underlying motivation for the statement
What causes it to be so important for you to “really trust someone”?
What a Five might say
“I really like having people in my life that I trust and can be myself with. When I find these people, and time is often the best test of what someone is like over time and in a number of circumstances, I value them. I can be freer, more relaxed. I don’t really need a lot of people close to me, so this is fine. I’m very independent.”

The Statement | “It’s important that I really trust someone.”
Type 8
1st Explore the meaning of the statement
What does “It’s important that I really trust someone” mean to you?
What a Eight might say
“I either trust someone or I don’t. If I do, I really do and there are not many people in this category. If I don’t I really don’t, and there are many more people in this category.”

2nd Explore the underlying motivation for the statement
What causes it to be so important for you to “really trust someone”?
What a Eight might say
“There are not many people who are big enough to be there for me, people who also take responsibility for their own lives. Having people I really trust in my life is a big deal. I know who I can trust from my gut, and I’m seldom wrong. I mean, I have sometimes trusted someone and this turned out badly. I learn my lessons!”

The above three examples are simply samples. Many Enneagram types might say they “It’s important that I really trust someone,” but their reasons would be different!

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of seven best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com. ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.c

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