Learning the Enneagram

The Enneagram is a key that unlocks new ways of perceiving yourself and others. It enhances self-understanding and increases your interpersonal proficiency.
Some of the benefits of studying the Enneagram are:
• understanding how other people see the world
• having insight into why you are misperceived in certain situations
• being more skillful with the people you live with, work with or manage
• building better rapport with clients, customers and colleagues
• understanding your strengths and weaknesses as a partner, parent or spouse
• seeing why certain relationships challenge you more than others
• increasing your ability to be empathic towards others
• building more intimacy and deeper connection with people that matter to youWhy the Enneagram? Because people matter.
Dealing with people is like playing music. It’s an art. Even if we are naturally gifted in music, it is still helpful to understand some of the theory behind music: how harmony, rhythm, melody and dynamics interact. We interact with people all the time, but not all of us study psychology or the theories that explain the structure of people’s minds, the ebb and flow of their emotions, the patterns we call character and the inconsistencies of behavior.
The Enneagram is, by far, one of the best theories for understanding people AND one of the most useful systems for improving your self-awareness and your interpersonal proficiency. It is immediately practical as well as being elegantly theoretical. You will be playing better music with people after just one class.
The Enneagram is able to distill the diverse human spectrum into nine universal patterns or ways of seeing the world. Thus the name Ennea=nine and gram=drawing. [See the symbol below]. It describes nine mental-emotional patterns that are familiar to us all. While we share some knowledge of and use characteristics of all nine patterns, we tend to favor a few of these to the exclusion of the others. It is like playing music having only one or two notes to use. You can do it. It just doesn’t make for great music. The Enneagram opens new harmonic possibilities.
How to learn the Enneagram

Like most things, learning through personal experience is usually best. There are now hundreds of books on the Enneagram as well as websites, blogs, DVD’s, on-line tests, etc. These can be very useful. However, the best way to implement the Enneagram and make it come alive is still through classroom learning. You need to be around people to understand people. The classes I provide are highly experiential. You will not be hearing me talk about or lecture on the Enneagram. You will be experiencing it firsthand through peoples’ stories. You will be living IN the Enneagram laboratory rather than studying it. After one class, you will be seeing yourself and others differently.
Stages of Learning

The Enneagram is something that is absorbed over time. In teaching it through the years, I have found experiential learning to be the best. This way you discover that the Enneagram is not really new information. You know a lot of this intuitively. By taking the information and then asking, “How is this true for me? How is this true for the people in my life? What can I add to this?” makes the Enneagram very practical.

Level 1: An Introduction to the Enneagram (1-day class)

Level 1 begins with a brief nine-question test taken before the all-day introductory class. This way you come in with an initial exposure to the material and with a curiosity about your own type.

The introductory class provides an overview of the system as a whole followed by an exploration of each of the nine types through multi-modal means (quotes, descriptions, famous people representing the types, music, guided meditations, type vignettes, cartoons) and mostly through personal sharing about each of these nine perspectives. I highly value the method of hearing information “from the horse’s mouth” rather than lecturing on the types. The class relies on listening to people’s stories, perhaps you own.

Level 1A (90-minute Follow-class)

While many students come away from the introductory class with some clarity about their type, it usually takes a further discovery process to be sure. The questions at this point are:

“I am still not sure what type I am. I could be several. How can I find out for sure?”
“I think I know my type, where do I go from here?”
“I know my type. How do I figure out what type everyone else is?”

Level 2: Moving into The Enneagram (4 three-hour weekly classes)

If you are still curious about the Enneagram, this is the best way to learn more. Using my Field Guide to Humans, you will learn how each personality type is constructed inside: the beliefs, assumptions, desires, motivations and behaviors that shape each of the nine personalities. You will also learn about the many variations within each type that will explain why people of the same type can look so different from one another. We also look at how everyone’s behavior follows predictable patterns when they feel comfortable and when they feel threatened.
You will be learning about your own personality type at the same time.

Level 3 Study Group: Interacting with people in your life using the Enneagram

One of the greatest values of the Enneagram is learning to get along with other people better, how to see the world through their eyes and how to bring out their best. In Level 3, we spend time in role-plays and discovery processes. You will learn about:
• dynamics between the various types
• how we miscommunicate or are misperceived
• why some people rub us the wrong way
• how develop the skills to get along with any type

Learning how to figure out what personality type others are comes through becoming more curious about the people in your study groups. As you get to know the other types close up, we use an interview process so you can learn more. Often I have heard people ask, “I think my husband is the same type as you. Can you explain . . .?”

Level 4: Lifelong Learning
Once you have learned some of the fundamentals and the structures of the Enneagram and can see them in yourself and others, the learning continues through the process of living. At this point, studying the Enneagram becomes more integrated into your life. Repeating the classes or study classes or doing one-on-one coaching allows you to see more subtle levels of truth and wisdom in these remarkable teachings. Life becomes your classroom.

Why the Enneagram?
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3