Home | Blog | What it takes to be a great trainer (with the Enneagram); Use variety (Part 2)

What it takes to be a great trainer (with the Enneagram); Use variety (Part 2)

There are three key areas to consider if you want to be a great, not just a good, trainer, particularly with the Enneagram: Be prepared, use variety, and answer the why (why the client wants this and why you are doing this)! This 2nd  blog overviews what it means to use variety. There are multiple reasons to use variety when teaching the Enneagram. These include the following rationales: (1) increases participant engagement; (2) aligns with concepts taught; and (3) keeps trainers stimulated.

Use variety

Increases participant engagement

Think about the importance of instructional variety from the perspective of participants. Essentially, they don’t want to be bored, and lack of variety in instructional design is boring. For example, lecturing most of the time puts participants in a passive learner role. The more passive learners are, the less engaged they become over time. The less engaged they are, the less they learn and the less they retain. Teaching through the panel method over and over again or putting participants in a never-ending sequence of type group discussion also becomes predictable, monotonous, and lowers engagement.

As you think about your training programs and what you want to cover, consider that there are always multiple ways to teach the exact same information and concepts. Here are just a few examples that go beyond lecture, type panels and type-group discussions – individual assessments; working in pairs (same type of different types); simulations; case studies; demonstrations; group activities such as projects to develop or tasks to complete; music; art; short videos; animated slide shows; role plays; the Enneagram map; guided imagery – and these are just a starting point.

Too much of any good technique will lose its ability to engage participants over time.

Aligns with concepts taught

Some concepts we teach lend themselves to certain instructional strategies because participants can learn them more easily using that methodology. Perhaps the most obvious is that we have to share information about the system and the nine types for people to learn something they know nothing or very little about. This suggests using lecture and PowerPoint slides as a way to convey information. Type panels can work as well, with some content infusion through lecture, but type panels can be hard to do in organizations or even in public offerings when there are not enough people for the panels. Think nine panels with three people for each panel because fewer than three panelists run the risk of more idiosyncratic responses to questions. Themes more easily emerge with a minimum of three people, with the panel leader noting common themes or theme variations.

But type and system information can also be interspersed with great interactions as a way to engage participants and make learning more dynamic. It doesn’t all have to be lecture and slides. For example, some trainers are really adept at embodying the nine different types and act each type out in front of everyone. These trainers have a sense of being actors and often do it quite well, but it is an art. The trainer has to convey accurate content and the speaking style and body language of the type they are embodying.  For others of us, being spontaneous and accurate could be a challenge as well as not acting out the types in a way that stereotypes them. Other trainers give participants a short task right after the type descriptions that demonstrates the type. An example would be after type One is described, participants are asked to look around them and to notice every mistake or flaw in the room. After type Seven, participants would engage in the seven “monkey mind” where their minds move from thought to thought and idea to idea in rapid succession.

There are additional ways to add variety in ways that align with the content. Give them an experience first, then draw from their experience to teach the concepts. Take, for example, the concept of Centers of Intelligence. Yes, participants do need some cognitive input on the three Centers of Intelligence. But instead of teaching the concepts first, which of course you can do, you can also offer them a somatic experience of the three centers before they get cognitive information. I have several way of doing this, but here’s one that is particularly informative and engaging. Participants walk around the space they are in first from their Head Center, then their Heart Center and finally, their Body Center. Placing their hands on each center as they do this can help them enhance their experience. They then process how easy or challenging it was to access that Center.

By contrast, some concepts are best first taught through experience. For example, if you want to teach how each type functions on teams, lecture is not the best method because there are many variations and it does depend on the team’s stage of team development, as well as the participant’s level of self-mastery. However, put them into teams, give them a task, and then have them debrief how their type-based behavior manifested within the team. This they will remember far more than a more abstract lecture of types on teams.

Keeps trainers stimulated

As a trainer, it is so important to try new ways of teaching concepts we have taught many times. If we keep trying new ways, we’ll keep excited and energized about what we do and how we do it. And we just might learn new aspects and insight about the nine types! Our enthusiasm becomes contagious.

Enneagram in Business Certificate Programs

We offer best-in-class Train-the-Trainer programs to teach you how to teach the Enneagram and have been offering these since 2004. We are also an IEA Accredited School with Distinction, the IEA’s highest school designation.

“Power of the Enneagram at Work” – Enneagram’s core business applications March 4-15, 2024  (virtual)

“Build Wise, Talented, and Humble Leaders with the Enneagram” – Enneagram and leadership  June 3-14, 2024 (virtual)

Enneagram Global Survey Report

Do you want to know the key benefits of the Enneagram’s use in organizations? Take a look at the Enneagram in Business Network’s 2022 Global Survey, which has been translated into eight languages. EnneagramSurvey.net

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, author of nine Enneagram books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs and training tools for business professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications. TheEnneagramInBusiness.com | ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

Comments are closed.