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  • Personality Profiling
  • Team Development
  • Focus Groups
  • Executive and Life Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Workshops
  • Strategic Planning
Personality Profiling1 Team Development2 Focus Groups3 Executive and Life Coaching4 Mentoring5 Workshops6 Strategic Planning7
 

HISTORY OF THE ENNEAGRAM

The Enneagram is an ancient tool for personal understanding, development and transformation. Its origins are mysterious, with some evidence that it was originally written about in about 331AD, by Evagrius of Pontus. Some authors claim it dates back to as far as 2,500BC.

In any case, it has been around a very long time – much longer than other systems used in modern organisations to assist in understanding the unconscious influences upon ourselves and others. The Enneagram is a fabulous tool for personal (and sometimes spiritual) transformation and for improving working and intimate relationships, communications and the functioning of families, organisations and other groups in society. “Ennea” is the Greek word for “nine” and grammos means ‘point”. Its symbol is a nine-pointed star around a circle. The symbol has its own mathematical derivations and internal significant connections.

While users “attribute” Enneagram types (numbers from one to nine) to themselves and others, it is vital to remember that we are really typing a set of influences (habits, tendencies, survival strategies) that are on the person – NOT the person themselves. People are too complex, too different and too unique, to ever be fully described by any one system. For ease of understanding, we use the language of she or he is a Type Six, or Three and so on.

However, if we know the “E” Type of ourselves and others we are dealing with, we have vital knowledge about how we and they may feel, think and do, or not do, in different situations. This is because we all behave automatically, or habitually at times, in response to the unconscious push from our own set of influences. The more self aware we are, the less they continue to affect our thoughts, feelings and actions. Except for those few people on the planet who are enlightened, our unconscious habits continue their influence on us in relatively predictable ways.

Understanding this predictability increases our understanding of others, which can lead to greater tolerance and forgiveness and less blame. It also helps others understand us and helps us develop greater self understanding and be more forgiving of ourselves when we go off track.

There are three different energy groups around the Enneagram circle. They represent gut instinct, feeling and thinking perspectives. Each one has its own special, intelligent, filter through which its members view the outside world of things, events and people. These filters provide incredible insights that may not be picked up by members of the other groups at all, or perhaps not till much later. These insights help us to survive and thrive in the world, but unfortunately, they sometimes throw us off track and we damage ourselves, key relationships and others in the process, often without realising.

Three Categories

  • The Gut Instinct, or Instinctual group includes the Leader (Type 8), the Peacemaker (Type 9) and the Perfectionist (Type 1). This group is concerned with practical action, responsibility and behaviour of themselves and others and are usually blessed with commonsense. It is often called the “Instinctual Triad”. Control of self and others is important and the unconscious motivators help to create order in the world. The control of the anger can take its toll on the Instinctual group and on those they deal with. The Instinctual types seem to have the wisdom of the ages embedded in their centres of intelligence – their bodies. They have exquisite Instinctual Intelligence.
     

  • The Feeling, or Emotional, or Heart group includes the Giver (Type 2), the Achiever (Type 3) and the Individualist (Type 4). This group is concerned with gaining the approval of important others. It is often called the “Feeling Triad”. Deeply sensitive to the feelings of themselves and others, they can modify their approach, their look and their behaviour to suit the circumstances and achieve their goals. They are highly skilled in establishing and maintaining key relationships and using them as the foundation to achieving their goals. Sometimes their feelings may be suspended in order for them to achieve their goals and others can paradoxically experience them as being cold. Their centre of intelligence is said to be their hearts. They have exquisite Emotional Intelligence.
     

  • The Thinking, or Mental, or Head group includes the Analyst (Type 5), the Questioner (Type 6) and the Optimist (Type 7). This group uses thinking to escape anxiety caused by fear. Often called the “Thinking Triad”, the members frequently suspend feelings in order to be able to function effectively through mental processing, their first point of reference to the outside world. Skilled in gathering data and its analysis, thinking types add intellectual rigour and perspective to the world. The drive to ensure completeness can cause procrastination as they wait for more data. They have exquisite Mental Intelligence.