Introducing the Enneagram for Coaching

The Enneagram is a system for comprehensively assessing your personality type. Many people would be familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality testing, often used in the workplace, which classifies each of us into sixteen personality types based on four dichotomies. In recent times the Big Five character assessment, based on the 5 key traits of openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism, has been a popular self assessment tool. The Enneagram, however, provides a much broader and versatile personality assessment.

What makes the Enneagram unique is that, as well as promoting self-understanding through personality typing, it also explains the ‘why’ behind our traits and behaviours and provides a map for future growth and development.

While relatively new to Australia in it’s current form, the Enneagram dates back thousands of years to early Asian, Middle Eastern and Celtic cultures. The modern version was developed in recent times in the US by Don Riso and Russ Hudson who established the Enneagram Institute.

Businesses use the Enneagram to gain insights into team dynamics and improve working relationships. Some people use it in their spiritual growth as a pathway to enlightenment.  Individuals can use it to increase Emotional intelligence (EQ) through better understanding the relationship they have with themselves and how they interact with others.

As a counsellor, I find it to be an excellent tool for improving communication and conflict resolution and in promoting healthy personal growth. The Enneagram helps us identify our response patterns to situations, what drives and motivates us, and our fears and avoidance behaviours. This information is an important ingredient in any mentoring or coaching process.

There are different schools of thought among Enneagram teachers, therefore their ideas on some theoretical aspects are not always in agreement. In Australia there are now local trainers who probably bring a unique local perspective, though the basic premises are still the same.

Click on this link for a brief and simplified explanation of the Enneagram that I have used with adolescents and parents.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I  do not claim to be an Enneagram trainer. However, I am an experienced therapist who uses the principles of the Enneagram to help clients become more intuitive about their personal style, to promote more effective growth and change.

For information about the Enneagram, training and formal assessment, please check the following links:

The Enneagram Institute

The Enneagram in Business

The Australian Institute for Enneagram Studies


What is Life Coaching?

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life

Coaching is a unique and individual experience that targets the growth and development needs of the client. The client’s goals are clarified and developed in partnership with the coach, who then provides a broader perspective, offering relevant knowledge, insight, and feedback.

While coaching once belonged to the work sector for professional development, now individuals can embrace life coaching to identify their personal needs, establish goals that are practical and realistic, and to maintain motivation through ongoing feedback and support.

It doesn’t matter who you used to be; what matters is who you decide to be today.

There are three types of coaching:

Short term – just a few sessions, often weekly, to work on a specific goal

Long term – regular mentoring sessions, often for professional development. Most commonly these clients are professionals seeking leadership opportunities or new graduates wanting to develop career goals. However, longer term coaching can be useful for anyone planning retirement, moving back into the workplace, returning to study or seeking a career change.

Crisis (for previous clients) – one or two sessions to problem-solve and plan in response to an unexpected, stressful event. Coaching is not suitable for individuals with acute or chronic issues or mental health concerns. Referral to an appropriate counsellor would be the most useful intervention in these cases.

What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet.

Steve Maraboli

So what can you expect in a coaching session? In her book “Bring Out The Best In Everyone You Coach”, Ginger Lapid-Bodga identifies four main steps in the coaching process.

The first step is to establish your motivation to change. Why is it important to you? What will happen if you do not achieve your goal? What other things will change if you follow this pathway? How much energy do you have to do this?

Sometimes procrastination is a decision that you have already made, but not yet admitted to yourself

Secondly, your goal(s) need to be clearly identified and scaffolded into smaller goals.  The more specific your goal, the greater the likelihood of longer lasting change. It is important to test whether your goals are realistic yet challenging.

Your speed doesn’t matter; forward is forward.

Thirdly, an action plan is developed which should include realistic time frames and positive reinforcement. At this stage the coach will also help you identify and master the skills and cognitions(self-talk) needed to achieve success at each stage. An introduction to the ideas of positive psychology can be useful at this point.

A great attitude becomes a great mood, which becomes a great day, which becomes a great year, which become a great life.

Finally,  before embarking on any change, it is important to explore any resistance to new change. What has stopped you before ? Why is it there? What weaknesses and fears get in the way of doing something new? How will you recognize them? What purpose do they serve? How can they be overcome or reassured? It is important to be prepared and on the lookout for familiar obstacles and have solutions ready to take on these challenges.

Maybe the thing you are most scared of is exactly what you should do

The Enneagram personality typing model enhances the coaching process. Each unique personality type has a specific style –  whether it be patterns of behaviour, motivation or fears, strengths and challenges. The opportunity to fully understand an individual’s personality type, using an established tool, allows the coach to design personalized activities and feedback that are best suited to the client.

To find out more about the Enneagram read my article  Introducing The Enneagram. For information on Positive Psychology click on the link.

The best life coach for you is someone you can relate to easily, who has broad and direct experience in personal growth and development, understands your individuality, can be creative and informative but also someone you can trust to challenge you respectfully. I believe that I could be that person for you. To help you decide this for your self, I offer a 25% discount on your first session.

Just remember…

There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.

Dalai Lama