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Coaching: Enneagram Head Center Styles: Five, Six, and Seven


The three Enneagram styles that emanate from the Head Center of Intelligence, Fives, Sixes, and Sevens, each have a strategic response to the emotion of fear. Fives move away and retreat; Sixes anticipate, worry, and plan for possible negative contingencies; and Sevens avoid feeling afraid by engaging in something exciting, thinking about future possibilities, and reframing negative experiences into positive ones. Here are the five most important developmental areas for each Head Center style and a simple, profound question coaches can ask clients of this style.

Key Development Desires for Fives

  • To truly know themselves better using a systematic framework
  • To better understand and anticipate the feelings of others
  • To feel more comfortable and have more predictability when interacting with others
  • To be better acknowledged in the organization for their talents and skills
  • To experience and honor their feelings as much as they respect their thoughts

One Simple Question: What happens when you stop hiding (or retreating) and start showing yourself and being fully present?

Key Development Desires for Sixes

  • To feel more secure, certain, and confident
  • To be less reactive and more in control of themselves
  • To be able to truly believe in themselves and others to make good decisions and to effectively take care of situations
  • To not have to hide their anxieties, which includes not feeling anxious so frequently, thus having less of a need to hide their reactions
  • To be able to take conscious, deliberate, and effective action

One Simple Question: What happens when you stop worrying, planning or lurching forward and start relaxing and enjoying yourself: “free as a bird?”

Key Development Desires for Sevens

  • To learn something exciting and personally beneficial
  • To read others better and develop deeper and more consistent empathy
  • To transform their ideas into reality
  • To be taken more seriously by others
  • To feel more complete as a person

One Simple Question: What happens when you stop spinning, twirling, and thinking and start focusing and facing all of reality: the painful or difficult as well as the pleasurable and enjoyable?

You can read my new Enneagram-coaching book, Bringing Out the Best in Everyone you Coach (McGraw-Hill 2009), for comprehensive and subtle coaching methods, approaches, and techniques that work best with individuals of each Enneagram style.

This is the first of a three-part series on coaching with the Enneagram.

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