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The enneagram path to developing your coaching potential | head center coaches 5, 6 and 7

The Enneagram is used in so many aspects of coaching beyond its application to our client’s core development areas. The Enneagram, as you can read in this blog, is a vehicle to identify a coach’s strengths to be honored and development areas to be understood and then worked on. In this blog series, starting with coaches formed from the Head Center of Intelligence (types 5, 6 and 7), you’ll read about their strengths and development areas plus more. You’ll learn how the coaches of these types can use the actual coaching relationship for their own development. This takes the Enneagram’s use in coaching to new levels!

Strengths | Objective, calm, analytical, think systematically
Development Areas | Appear remote, detached or unavailable, overemphasize tasks over emotions

How Coaches Can Use the Coaching Relationship for Their Own Development
The objectivity that most Five coaches bring to coaching is a great asset, since clients – including Five clients – are rarely able to look at themselves and their situations objectively by themselves. Fives coaches do, however, need to pay close attention to their own display of warmth so that they do not appear overly cerebral or analytic to their clients. Coaching is a human interaction, and Five coaches need to be able to elicit and pursue the emotional reactions of their clients.

Paying attention to the feeling side of organizations is also important when Five coaches listen to or give advice to clients regarding interactions with others or work-related planning. Fives might err, for example, in emphasizing project planning but minimizing the importance of getting buy-in from those directly affected by the project. Fives should also remember to leverage their strengths, such as understanding cause and effect, seeing how the different parts of issues fit together, and remaining calm in times of duress.

Strengths | Insightful, truthful, dependable, anticipate and plan thoroughly
Development Areas | Appear contagiously anxious, convey a more negative than positive attitude, plan excessively

How Coaches Can Use the Coaching Relationship for Their Own Development
On the other hand, Six coaches need to pay attention to three areas in particular: (1) their worry or anxiety about something may spill over into their work with a client, (2) they may influence the client to plan excessively, and (3) they may convey a can’t-do attitude to their clients when, in reality, a can-do orientation would be far more helpful. Clients are usually anxious enough themselves when they pursue coaching, and they often need to have the coach guide them toward self reflection before developing action plans. Coaching thus provides Six coaches with an excellent opportunity to use their strengths and work on their own growth.

Strengths | Enthusiastic, creative, interested in others, optimistic
Development Areas | Unfocused, inattentive, talk more than listen, offer too many ideas or suggestions

How Coaches Can Use the Coaching Relationship for Their Own Development
While Seven clients may avoid or delay their coaching meetings, this is not usually the case for Seven coaches. Sevens often enjoy coaching, both because it provides variety in their work lives and because they often find their clients to be quite interesting. In return, clients may appreciate Seven coaches for their ideas and optimism.

A caution, however, for Sevens is to make certain that the focus of the coaching is on the client’s needs and development. Seven coaches, for example, may tell stories from their own experience as a way of demonstrating empathy or suggesting a course of action, but they may talk longer than needed, thus deflecting attention away from the client. Or, Seven coaches may make many exciting suggestions to the client, when instead they should ask clients for their own ideas first. Seven coaches are at their best when they use their strengths and also stay focused on the client and on the coaching goals.

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of six 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.com

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