Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Sweet Spot

Dr. Bast underscores how the Enneagram is an especially helpful tool in teamwork, helping team members to non-defensively appreciate each others' differences and communicate more clearly. Enneagram Applications.
A common U.S. business leadership type, described by Robert Kaplan in Beyond Ambition as the "striver-builder," is personality style Three in the Enneagram. According to Kaplan, "This type specializes in building up organizations (to gain) high regard from the world. Their parents expected a great deal of them, and they internalized those high expectations." Their key motivation is to distinguish themselves, and leadership is an integral part of their drive toward success.

People with this leadership style want to look good. On the plus side, they have a supreme focus on results and excellence. But this same quality can generate competitiveness and a tendency to disregard others' input. Because they typically may not be introspective, it's an important aspect of coaching striver-builders to nourish their interior life so they see how ambition, image-consciousness, and self-promotion are driven by unconscious patterns.
When you coach high-achieving clients to do this inner work, they retain their gifts of confidence and energy while becoming more communal. Kaplan adds, "In the best cases, striver-builders also come to a personal acceptance of their limitations; they learn to get satisfaction out of committing themselves fully to something or someone outside of themselves."
The paragraphs above are from one of my articles in Enneagram Applications, the originals written almost 15 years ago. As I read them now, from the vantage point of 15 more years of coaching experience, I find that summary overly serious.

I've used the metaphor of a "sweet spot" before -- a term commonly used in baseball but also holding a broader meaning. In one of my recent qigong classes, we learned a rather difficult form where the knees are bent and the body is turned so that one knee rests behind the other. In the beginning it felt a bit like the game "Twister," but suddenly I was outside the physical effort, experiencing a sense of "rightness" and "fit." When I tried to describe it afterwards, my teacher said, as if this happens every day, "Oh yes, you found the sweet spot."

Instead of framing as "serious work" your clients' efforts to release their unconscious patterns, help them lessen their burden and seek their sweet spot.


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