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5 ways learning the Enneagram is essential for HR leaders and teams

The Enneagram is a model of the human personality (our conditioning), which is principally taught as a personality typology of nine interconnected structures of egoic conditioning.

A lot of us in the People & Culture or L&D space have tried many of the personality profiling methodologies out there, and may have a favourite.. or not. For me as an HR Director, the Enneagram has been deeply transformational, in the way the many other personality profiling tools have been only interesting. Personally, the first time I read my Enneagram report I had a moment of seeing one of my defence strategies of numbing and realising “oh, that’s why I do that”… and reframed “calm is my superpower” to “numbing reduces my capacity to build rapport and relationships”.

Here’s 5 ways why learning the Enneagram is essential for HR professionals

1. Understanding what drives human behaviour is core to HR roles

Humans can seem complex and unpredictable at times, the Enneagram helps you simplify and understand more about the different types that show up.

If you work in the field of People & Culture chances are you are about actualising potential … the potential of individuals, teams and organisations, in an ever changing environment.  What makes this work fun, endlessly fascinating (and let’s face it sometimes exhausting) is that it’s not black and white as finance, or as logical as strategy or product.  

The more you can deeply understand what drives human’s behaviours, in relating to their roles, their teams and their organisation, the more you’ll be able to have impact and influence as a P&C professional.

2. Learn how to facilitate deep change

Real change happens “below the surface” not at the behaviours and competencies “above the surface” level which we have traditionally focussed on in HR.

The Enneagram leads to deep and sustained transformational change for many people.  If you recall the iceberg model of personality and behaviours as visible or above the line; the Enneagram helps you bring awareness to the “below the surface” core motivations, beliefs, defence mechanisms that drive the above the line behaviours. 

This is also the difference between performance coaching and developmental coaching, but that’s a topic for another day.  Deep change occurs below the surface.  Are you ready to look?

3. Discover leadership training that sticks

How many leadership courses have you arranged, only for leaders to return to the office… and not demonstrate any changes in their leadership approach or habits?   I know I have.

The Enneagram focuses on why you do what you do; not what you do.  Historically many leadership development approaches focus on what leaders should do to lead others. Teaching people what to do doesn’t translate to lasting leadership change.  Showing people why they do what they do opens up different choices for them.

The Enneagram focussed on self leadership at a deep level first, before focussing on others.  Individuals can access different self awareness of their core motivations and drivers and therefore different choices or possibilities in how they show up – for themselves and others.

4. The Enneagram can be applied to your People & Culture role in so many ways

Improving performance organisation-wide requires expert communication and team management skills. HR and L&D Professionals can use the Enneagram to lead the self-development, communication, culture and performance throughout an organisation.

How can the Enneagram be applied in your role?  Here’s what I came up with when I asked myself that question

  • Being a more inclusive leader, by enhancing my ability to take multiple perspectives (and value all perspectives without being caught by them, rather than get frustrated by those that don’t align with mine!!)
  • Being able to more deeply support the growth and development of my teams potential
  • Having a different lens or understanding to support individuals resolving inter-personal(ity) clashes or team dynamic issues.
  • Being more influential with others, by being more skilful in speaking to their worldview
  • Coaching leaders to understand the why behind their unresourceful leadership habits
  • Understanding how different types across the organisation may respond differently to the HR initiatives I’m rolling out, whether that be a new recognition program, a performance development approach or a vision or strategy I’m communicating.

5. Be the change you want to see in the organisation

How often are you or your team organising development opportunities for others in the business? Is it time to find a development opportunity to stretch your team… or yourself? 

What’s unique about The Coaching Room’s Enneagram course, compared to other Enneagram courses out there, is that it is grounded in The Coaching Rooms development psychology and meta coaching approach. To give an example, I discovered I run the Type 9 as an Ennea type, and that the habituated thinking patterns that go with that are global thinking, over-responsibility, and being other referent, with a side serve of mind reading & optimism. This was gold for me, and has provided me with some specific areas to focus my self development work around.

Here’s where you can find out more about the Enneagram course, or find out about The Coaching Rooms approach to HR coaching and consulting. 

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