4 Most Frequently Asked Questions About The Enneagram (4/4)
Here we are, the last post of the series!
First, we discussed whether a person can have the traits of all 9 Types in them, why 2 Types with different motivations can behave the same way, and does a person’s core Type change.
Now that you know more about the Enneagram, can you use this new skill to type the people around you? After learning this new skill, there is of course a temptation for us to apply this on others and to ‘type’ them.
Frequently Asked Question #4: Can I Use The Enneagram To Type Others?
How would you feel if someone tells you:
“You are such a Type 7!”
“See, this behavior shows you that you are such a Type 3.”
“Stop processing, you are such a Type 5!”
“Why are you so emotional? Aargh! You Type 4s are so draining to be around!”
“Losing your temper again huh? Way to go Type 8!”
If just reading the above comments makes you feel lousy, frustrated and boxed-in, why would you do that to someone else?
No one likes to be stereotyped, put in a box or worse, feel judged by being told that they are a certain type – especially so if they don’t even know what the Enneagram is!
The Enneagram’s beauty is in the way that it allows a person to understand who they are and why they do what they do because of their worldview and ego structure (yes, we are talking about their core types). It also shows them the positive traits of the other Types, through the connecting lines and their wings, that they can exercise in order to grow in the mastery level of their core type. In this way, the sole purpose of knowing you’re your core type is to get out of the box, not to be boxed-in.
Typing others in itself is tricky as well. It is not that straightforward because a person’s core Type can be ‘masked’ with overlays that could be part of the upbringing, or the culture of where they live and work. It takes a lot of observing and frankly, a lot of practice of using the Enneagram and interacting with people for someone to be able to Type another person with a reasonable amount of accuracy. Unless you are a trained coach, with a minimum of 100 coaching hours under your belt, don’t try to type (or mistype) people, as you would be doing them a huge dis-favor.
I have often said that if it is easy to identify a person’s type, then they are of a lower mastery level as their shadow traits show more prominently and hence, make them more easily identifiable. But, I also am very aware to not judge them for where they are. We all have to start our journey of self-discovery from somewhere, right?
But what if someone asks you to type them?
The best way to deal with that sort of request is to first, speak of your experience of using the Enneagram in your life: how it has changed how you see yourself and how it has changed the way you see and treat others with more compassion. Then, tell them that you would love for them to experience the Enneagram for themselves (by enrolling into one of our Level 1 classes – hint hint). No one would be able to appreciate the Enneagram fully if they have only ‘heard about it in passing’ without fully immersing themselves in the exploration.
There you have it – the four most frequently asked questions that I have had people asking me over my years as an Enneagram practitioner. Let me end this off by saying this: The power of the Enneagram must be harnessed and used in a responsible way so that everyone who gets to know this tool has a positive and fruitful experience for themselves. This in turn helps to inspire and edify others to come on their own journey to know themselves through the Enneagram as well.
Interested to know how the Enneagram can help you? Then come and join us for our next Enneagram course! Contact us today to find out more and how you can use your SkillsFuture credits to offset the course fees!