Friday, January 10, 2014

Break the Rules

People with Enneagram style One typically abide by rules, and a coach could unwittingly reinforce that limiting worldview with new skills that also carry rules. A way to break through this pattern is to draw out and reframe, modify and/or break the rules. 

My client Jesse had created the rule that if she used the feedback guidelines we'd practiced, she'd always get the reaction she wanted. I used humor and reframing to break that assumption. 

When planning to mail a cake for a friend's birthday, Jesse had asked a postal clerk about the packing criteria and cost of mailing the size cake she planned. Based on his information, when she came back to mail the package she discovered she'd over-packed and consequently overpriced her package. 

She asked to speak to the supervisor and explained how the clerk had misinformed her and would benefit from some instruction. Instead of thanking her, the supervisor said, "You asked him to price a hypothetical package? That's silly!"

Jesse came to her next coaching session asking, "What did I do wrong? I used the feedback guidelines, but she still attacked me!"

"Who says you did anything wrong?" I countered.

"Well, it didn't work," Jesse replied.

"No, some people will be defensive no matter how well you communicate your wishes."

"But... but, where is the line?" Jesse asked.

"We all have different lines. There's no way to know for sure when you'll cross someone's line."

"But, but... how can I predict when it will work and when it won't?" She was beginning to see the humor in her plea.

"You can't." By this time we were both laughing. Jesse was learning that sometimes there are no rules.

(from pages 50-51 of Out of the Box Coaching with the Enneagram).