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The Enneagram and Executive Coaching: Engaging an Appreciative Perspective to Enrich the Use of Enneagram Wisdom

W Bergquist, M Goldberg International Journal of Coaching in Organizations 2005

The Enneagram is becoming very popular. Those who use the Enneagram as a training, counseling, or consulting tool are finding that it can be of great value with regard to the insights they can provide to the people with whom they are working. They can also often make a living as Enneagram interpreters, charging impressive fees for the workshops they conduct or the private services they provide. This is good news for the field. However, as is the case with any popular success, the good news also contains a cautionary tale. Enneagram interpretation may become quite superficial and many of those using the Enneagram may be guilty of over-promising and under-delivering. The Enneagram may become a “fad,” despite its long history and rich heritage. Furthermore, many of the people with the deepest understanding of and appreciation for the Enneagram are unable or unwilling to ’package’ it into a brief presentation or trade it on the open market. They have not yet found a venue for the use of Enneagram wisdom that is both financial viable for themselves and true to the cause and tradition of the Enneagram. In this article, an experienced executive coach and one of the most successful authors to write about the Enneagram combine their knowledge and experience to propose a process of executive coaching that is informed by both an appreciative perspective and the ancient wisdom inherent in the Enneagram. This process helps to insure both that the Enneagram is not treated in a superficial manner and that the executive coach will be able to engage her coaching client in an exploration that is rich with insight and application.

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