The Enneagram is a powerful liberating personality typing system
Out of all the personality typing systems that I’ve learned over the years, including Myers-Briggs, I love the Enneagram the most. As a professional MCC coach, as a trainer, business owner and as a mom, the Enneagram is one of the most important tools that I use.
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If you want to change lives, the Enneagram will give you a structured easy to implement system to understand why we do what we do.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that the Enneagram is all about behaviour, but it’s not.
The Enneagram is about the “reasons” for our behaviours. And this is what makes it so useful.
When we know the reason for behaviour we can transform the behaviour.
When we know the reason for behaviour we can motivate and inspire ourselves and others.
When we don’t know the reasons for our behaviour, and others, we are blind to the underlying cause. Unconscious, and trapped by our personality.
The Enneagram with its 9 types can teach you exactly why the people you care about do what they do. It can show you why you make certain decisions and take certain actions.
It can show you the why behind limiting habits. It can show you the reason behind thinking patterns that restrict us.
With this knowledge you can change your own life and the lives of others.
Just remember that there are several very big mistakes that people make when learning and using the Enneagram.
Here are 3 of the biggest most costly mistakes, please don’t make these mistakes.
Mistake number 1:
Behaviour based Enneagram.
Thinking that the Enneagram is based on behaviour is a big mistake.
Every class that I teach the Enneagram to, whether it’s in a boardroom full of senior managers, or an online class of life and business coaches when I ask them if they enjoy helping others—nearly all of them will raise their hand saying, “Yes.”
If we make the mistake of thinking that the Enneagram is based on behaviour, we would look then to descriptions of each of the 9 types and find the one that has helpfulness as behaviour. We might then make the mistake of thinking that most of the students were all type 2 on the Enneagram.
Many people are mistyped because of this single error.
All of the 9 Enneagram types can be helpful. But each type helps for different reasons. The underlying cause that drives behaviour is hidden. That’s why InnerLifeSkills Enneagram Coaching, calls the hidden reason “the grain of sand in the personality pearl”.
This is to remind you to always look deeper than the surface for the grain of sand that causes the personality pearl. To remember that the most helpful empowering aspect of the Enneagram is not the behaviour, but the reasons for behaviour. If you remember this you won’t make the mistakes that so many Enneagram practitioners make.
Mistake number 2:
Believing that Enneagram tests are accurate.
I know I go on about this a lot, but even the best Enneagram tests that are available in the world today, only have a 50-60% accuracy rate. And what is worse, is that most of the providers of these tests, do not tell the people that tests are not accurate.
The only Enneagram provider that openly declares that their Enneagram test has 60% accuracy, is the Enneagram Institute founded by Riso and Hudson. The Enneagram Institute’s test is the only one that I would recommend because of the integrity that they show by declaring that the tests are not 100% accurate. Also, it is one of the best tests available.
Because the Enneagram is based on the reason for behaviour, and not on the surface behaviours of personalities, testing with software becomes extraordinarily difficult. If I ask you “Why you do what you do?” you might not have a clear answer.
An incredible amount of self-awareness is required to answer questions about the reasons for our behaviours. That’s why I strongly recommend a coaching approach.
Also, the Enneagram is dynamic and not static. Every Enneagram type is evolving and growing, so that the lowest expression of each of the 9 types is radically different to its average expression, and to its highest enlightened expression. Enneagram online tests tend to test at an average level.
Traditionally, the Enneagram was taught as an oral tradition. The InnerLifeSkills approach to the Enneagram and specifically to typing the Enneagram, is that we prefer to coach and teach the Enneagram, to help someone to determine their own type. This way, not only is the accuracy of the typing dramatically higher, but also we are empowering others with this incredible knowledge.
Compare this to spending 2 hours and paying money to do a test that may or may not be accurate, and ends up giving you a report, but not teaching you about the Enneagram.
Once you understand all 9 types and the InnerLifeSkills Personality Pearls, you will be able to work out your own type, and have the gift of the knowledge of the Enneagram.
I understand why most people have avoided teaching and coaching as a way to type the Enneagram, and preferring what looks like a quicker and easier testing approach, because the Enneagram can be overwhelming and complicated.
That’s why I’ve spent the better part of the decade, creating a system to declutter the Enneagram.
I want to teach you the Enneagram in a way that avoids all common mistakes, and quickly gets you to a deep understanding.
Our ILS Enneagram Coaches, have a lot of success. They are able to coach the Enneagram in a 90 minute session, using worksheets, 3 Personality Pearls and the 8 Step Enneagram Coaching Method – with a 95% accuracy rate on the first typing session. Their clients leave the session not only with a much more accurate typing, but also with the gift of the knowledge of the Enneagram.
Mistake number 3:
Not utilizing the Enneagram’s map for personal growth.
Perhaps it’s because so many people are mistyped that the real power of the Enneagram is underutilized. The real power of the Enneagram lies in its map for personal growth.
I want you to get past the typing phase as quickly as possible, because the real value of the Enneagram lies after you know your type. When you are coaching clients, I also want you to be able to help them to type themselves as quickly as possible, so that you can offer them coaching to grow their type and reach their highest enlightened expression.
The Enneagram has a very clear useful map, that shows us exactly when we disintegrate to our lowest expression and how we can help ourselves to integrate to our highest enlightened expression.
As coaches this becomes an incredible coaching tool, because we can help others to grow in self-awareness.
If you think of the Enneagram as being like an operating system on a computer, we are learning about our own operating systems, so that we can make the best use of them and even upgrade them.
8 reasons to seriously consider learning to be an ILS Enneagram Coach
#1 The Enneagram doesn’t put you in a box!
The Enneagram doesn’t put you in a box! It shows you the box that you are already in so that you can get free.
I understand you might feel resistant to a personality typing system that labels and defines you. When I first came across the Enneagram, I was very
After a few years of studying the Enneagram and applying it to my own growth, my relationships and my work, I realized that this system doesn’t put you in a box; it actually shows you the personality box you are already in! We just don’t know it. By seeing the personality box clearly, we gain distance from it, and with some work can be free of it.
Every wave in the ocean is unique, that is true.
We are all also unique, an individualized expression of the ocean of life. And it is also true that we could study the patterns of the waves, and see these patterns.
Carl Gustav Jung the famous Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology made popular the word “archetypes” for the patterns of human personality and character that arise from the collective unconscious. When we study the Enneagram, we are studying the archetypal patterns of personality.
#2 The Enneagram gives you the keys to understanding yourself and others!
If you enjoy understanding what makes people tick, then you will enjoy how accurate and in-depth the Enneagram is. In a way, the Enneagram gives us a blueprint for personality AND a map for our growth.
Think of each Enneagram type as a personality operating system. If we don’t understand our operating systems, we might struggle and suffer. By learning how our operating system works, we can get the most from it, and can even learn how to upgrade it.
#3 The Enneagram shows us the REASONS for behaviour!
Many people make the mistake of thinking that the Enneagram is based on behaviour, but it’s not. In fact, this leads to many mistyping mistakes and can also make the Enneagram far too confusing.
The ILS way of teaching the Enneagram emphasizes that the Enneagram types are formed around hidden factors that we are born with. InnerLifeSkills calls these the grains of sand in the Personality Pearl. We label them as RED, BLUE and GREEN. This is our way of showing that the 9 types all arise from the primary 3 grains of sand.
The oyster coats the irritant, the grain of sand with mother of pearl, to eventually form a pearl. Just so, the grain of sand in the personality is the REASON for the personality.
To understand the Enneagram well, and to declutter it (because it can seem so complex), we need only study and deeply understand the grains of sand. Each type is a movement from the grain of sand.
Here is an example of why this is important. If I ask my students to raise their hands if they enjoy occasionally helping people, they all put their hands up. Helping is a behaviour. Now, type 2 is often called “The Helper” or “The Giver” which is a behaviour. And so everyone thinks “I might be a 2”. But here is how the grains of sand come into play. We all can help, but WHY do we help?
The reason is hidden and is different for us all. All 9 types can be helpful, but each of the 9 types has a different underlying hidden reason for their helping.
- A type 1 might help to do the right thing.
- A type 2 might help to feel needed.
- A type 3 might help to prove that they can.
- A type 4 might help to feel special.
- A type 5 might help to share their knowledge.
- A type 6 might help to be of service.
- A type 7 might help to alleviate pain.
- A type 8 might help to be in charge.
- A type 9 might help to create peace.
So learn the grains of sand, and then you will see why each type does what it does. This is a powerful insight into people, relationships and personal development.
Would you like our free 90 Minutes 9 Types introduction course? LEARN MORE
#4 The Enneagram shows us the REASONS for behaviour!
People really do love the Enneagram. That’s why we started including the foundation studies in our courses. As life coaches and trainers, it’s essential to understand our clients and the Enneagram really helps with this.
Also, if you want a lovely authentic way to help people, and to get them interested in being coached, then the Enneagram is a very helpful icebreaker and entry point into life and business coaching.
Don’t forget to download the free Enneagram Coach ebook here.
#5 Learn to type people without needing to use unreliable tests!
Not many people are aware of the fact that even the best Enneagram online tests have 50-60% accuracy. It’s not like a Myers Briggs test for example that is highly accurate. Compare these 2 scenarios.
1 – TESTS to determine the Enneagram are not accurate:
A person does an online test and has a 50/50 chance of being typed properly. They get a report which tells them their type and explains what that means.
2- ILS 8 Step Enneagram Coaching Method 95% accuracy:
A person learns the Enneagram foundation in 1-3 hours. ILS have created a method for teaching this in a simple format using our 3 Personality Pearls and our Enneagram guide and cards. They now have the gift of the knowledge. And then they are coached, by an ILS Enneagram Coach, to work out their OWN type. So they are part of the entire process.
This produces approximately 95% accuracy in the first session, and future sessions usually iron out any early mistyping.
The client leaves with an accurate type that they understand well, a map for their growth and the gift of a foundation Enneagram knowledge. We prefer this method and our ILS Enneagram Coaches learn to offer this.
#6 Improve relationships at work and at home.
When we understand our personality operating systems we gain compassion, insight and understanding for each other. This is key to building healthy happy relationships.
By learning about the ILS Personality Pearls, we see why our loved ones and work colleagues do what they do.
Can you imagine what a gift that is? To really see why someone is speaking or acting in a certain way.
It can be humbling and helpful to realize that others do things for very different reasons than our own. If you want to motivate change you need to be able to speak directly to others “reasons”, not from yours.
#7 Grow your Apple Tree Purpose.
The ILS symbol for our natural self is the apple tree.
The Enneagram is a very helpful tool for growing our apple trees—true self based purpose. It gives us a map for our blind spots and how to reclaim our wholeness. To be all we were born to be.
#8 Offer Enneagram Coaching Professionally!
We train people just like you to become professional ILS Enneagram Coaches. To offer Enneagram typing sessions and Enneagram coaching.
Summary of how to become an Enneagram coach
Avoid the 3 biggest mistakes –
- Thinking that the Enneagram is about
behaviour, when it’s based on the reasons for behaviour.
2. Believing that the Enneagram tests are accurate when they only have 50-60% accuracy.
3. Not using the Enneagram completely as a powerful map for growth.
Consider using the InnerLifeSkills 8 Step Enneagram Coaching Method to accurately help people to type themselves whilst giving them the gift of the Enneagram knowledge.
Understand all of the 8 important reasons for learning the Enneagram — the Enneagram doesn’t put you in a box, it gives you keys to understanding yourself and others, it focuses on the reasons for
If you are interested in this, let us know. We offer 3 online live Webinar courses per year. Email to