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Uncovering type thru lucid probing | mistaken identity for Twos

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 | “I care a lot about what people think.”
This statement sounds like a type 2, but is it? Yes, Twos care a lot about what people think, but so do many other types. Here’s what Twos might say, as well as a sampling of a few other types.
Type 2
1st Explore the meaning of the statement
What does “care a lot about what people think” mean to you?
What a Two might say
“I always care what people think, at least most of the time. I pay a lot of attention to people, what they might need, how they will respond to what I am saying or doing. I don’t care about what everyone thinks, but I do care about many, many people. I just tune into others naturally.”

2nd Explore the underlying motivation for the statement
What causes you to “care a lot about what people think”?
What a Two might say
“I’ve always done this. When I do something in my personal life, I consider the impact on others and immediately notice their responses. At work, it is the same. I can tell almost intuitively how someone is or how someone will respond. How people respond to me affects me pretty instantly and often deeply.”

Yes, the answers appear to suggest this person might an Enneagram Two. However, without the inquiry of Lucid Probing – that is, if the initial statement “I care a lot about what people think” was taken at face value and it was assumed to be a Two statement – an unintentional wrong typing identification is possible. Here are some other types that might easily have made the statement “I care a lot about what people think.”

The Statement | “I care a lot about what people think.”
Type 4
1st Explore the meaning of the statement
What does “care a lot about what people think” mean to you?
What a Four might say
“I almost always care about what others think. I also care how they feel. Feelings are essential to our being human so paying attention to this in ourselves and others is essential.”

2nd Explore the underlying motivation for the statement
What causes you to “care a lot about what people think”?
What a Four might say
“Doesn’t everyone care about what people think? Or, at least they should. Sometimes I care too much in the sense that I am often highly sensitive to how others are reacting to me and have a tendency to feel the negative more than the positive and to absorb a negative response.”

The Statement | “I care a lot about what people think.”
Type 6
1st Explore the meaning of the statement
What does “care a lot about what people think” mean to you?
What a Six might say
“You have to pay attention to what other people think. I often think I know what people are thinking, but sometimes I’m not sure. I also want to know where I stand with others, and even if it’s working on a problem, more minds – especially good minds – can often arrive at a better outcome.”

2nd Explore the underlying motivation for the statement
What causes you to “care a lot about what people think”?
What a Six might say
“You have to know what’s on the minds of others if you are working with them to figure out what is the best way to approach something. At home, it’s the same. Even better is if they share what they are thinking, although I’m pretty good at figuring it out.”

The Statement | “I care a lot about what people think.”
Type 7
1st Explore the meaning of the statement
What does “care a lot about what people think” mean to you?
What a Seven might say
“Of course I care, although I can get wrapped up in my own thoughts, but I want to know what others are thinking.”

2nd Explore the underlying motivation for the statement
What causes you to “care a lot about what people think”?
What a Seven might say
“If I am giving a speech or planning to do something that involves others, I definitely want to know. I am not sure how good I am at knowing, but I do try. Sometimes I can almost read other people’s minds; other times, I just can’t quite tell what they are thinking. But I do care.”

The above three examples are simply samples. Many Enneagram types might say they “I care a lot about what people think,” 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.com

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