Monday, January 26, 2015

Do More of What Works

A coach I mentored said a style Nine asked her for some coaching because he was stuck in indecision about a career move. He'd specifically asked her to "tell him what to do so he could get on with his life and live happily ever after." 

She'd suggested this was an opportunity for him to take initiative in discerning and acting on what he chose, to muster the courage to believe he was important enough to figure it out. She encouraged him to remember earlier times in his life when that clarity came for him and he did indeed act. She asked him to visualize getting in touch with his own knowing that came from valuing himself, to spend time considering exactly what his priorities were, and to list them. Then she asked for my comments on her approach, adding that she would be glad to learn from this.

I agreed her suggestions were logically on target, and asked if the client was able to respond to them. She said he seemed a bit confused.

There's a deep-seated belief in Enneagram Nines that they're not important, not visible. This becomes a life stance of not wanting to be visible — when they make a key decision, then they have to be responsible for it. This is scary.   

So realizing her client wasn't ready to respond to her logical suggestions, she and I discussed ways for him to observe other, easier opportunities in his life to choose (e.g., which of two Sunday services to attend) – choices that weren't as loaded as a career decision. After he was able to see where and how this showed up in his life in small ways, he then practiced choosing without any particular criteria, just to break the pattern of saying, “Whatever."

When style Nines practice making less monumental choices and getting a little more comfortable with it, they can then begin to look at their true priorities. It was a helpful suggestion that her client review a time when he'd made a choice. If he couldn’t quite bring back that personal power, the coach could give him a little more structure. 

We don't want to make decisions for our style Nine clients, but we can lead them through the process of how they've made previous choices by asking questions. For example,
“What was going on before that moment of clarity?”
“What were the pros and cons of the choice you eventually made?”
“What did you do to contribute to that moment of clarity?”
“How did you get yourself to act on it?”
The premise? Do more of what works