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What it Really Takes to Be a Great Enneagram Teacher!

At first, I was going to title this blog “What it Really Takes to be a Great Enneagram Teacher in Organizations” when I realized something important: a great teacher is a great teacher, no matter the venue.

What does make a great Enneagram teacher? It should be easy for me to answer this question because I train many people all over the world to do exactly this through my Train-the-Trainer programs. So I could say it’s Enneagram knowledge, training design and facilitation skills, and go on with detailed lists of skills and attributes. But when it comes down to greatness, I really believe it is an attitude towards the work more than specific skills and knowledge that makes the difference (although skills and knowledge certainly matter).

What is that attitude, the one that makes an average teacher good and a good teacher great? I believe it is all contained in this email I recently received from someone who was teaching his first ever day-long Enneagram program in an organization. Here is the email, followed by some comments. The email’s author is an Enneagram One.

“Dear Ginger,
The training went really well and the participants have followed on with me to share their interest, engagement, curiosity and desire to understand themselves and others better. The smiles I receive as I walk around to various buildings have been warm and enthusiastic. For me personally, I was really nervous and felt the need to grab all my books and tools to refresh myself. Recognizing the anxiousness, I decided to avoid my perfectionist nature. Instead, I decided to rely on my 9 and 2 wings to bring harmony and care to the situation. My main intention was to make it fun and be fine with not knowing. During the program, I read the room and turned on the charm with confidence and kindness. The experience has spilled over to other areas of work allowing me to show up with greater impact.”

The Email’s Meaning
As you can read, he was quite anxious and deeply concerned about teaching a full day of Enneagram typing and business applications. Although conscientious (and rightfully so) about serving the Enneagram well, he is also a high level manager in the same organization, which also raised the stakes involved: What if he didn’t do well? What would be the impact on his reputation? Would he be accepted as a teacher, given that he is known as a manager? Add to this his being an Enneagram One (putting a great deal of pressure on himself to do it right the first time).

But as you can read, he overcame his anxieties and ego, an ego structure that was creating impossible expectations for almost anyone to meet. Instead, he did his own inner work, acknowledging his feelings and recognizing (a) the source of his responses, and (b) that these reactions were not serving either him or the program participants. Even more, he used the Enneagram (wings) to help himself get over “it.”

What is more remarkable is that in doing the above he accessed what makes greatness in a teacher: a contagious love of the work (the Enneagram itself, the insights it brings, the development it offers); the integrity that comes from taking your own development work seriously (participants recognize this); the palpable enjoyment and pure pleasure that comes from doing something you love (participants can feel this); and being organized and focused while also giving up control, thus offering participants the freedom to explore. It’s really about being ready, then going with the flow.

I don’t think we can bottle these qualities. They have to come from within!

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