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Unlocking the Answers to Leadership Potential: an Enneagram-based case study

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Imagine you are a senior level leader who experiences these challenges:

  • You have to choose between 4 good internal candidates for a promotion and feel anxious about turning 3 of them down. After the news is broken to the unselected candidates you immediately send them an email offering to take them out for lunch and offer to help them with their development
  • A long term colleague you considered to be a good friend, all of the sudden stops communicating with you. You obsess about what you could have possibly done to offend her, and leave repeated messages on her voice mail to check in yet get no reply. 
  • You spent a large part of your weekend editing your boss’s presentation for a shareholder meeting without getting so much as a thank you. You vow to start looking for a new job where your boss will appreciate your above and beyond assistance.
  • Your employee tells you about a decision they made for their daughter’s college choice. You know this school well and find yourself vehemently voicing your opinion about what a mistake they are making and tell them about a much better option. 
  • You have taken the day off and run into your company president at a restaurant in your work out clothes. Even though your time off was approved, you feel embarrassed not to be seen in your typical professional garb and feel compelled to explain yourself.

These were examples a client gave me today about the kinds of things that she is aware of doing,  doesn’t feel her best doing but doesn’t know how to stop repeating them.  On the surface, any one of these scenarios are not necessarily such a big deal.  But accumulated over time, this leader shared that they cause her wasted energy, stress and at times put pressure on her relationships. 

Unlocking the Answers to leadership potential with the Enneagram:

As part of an executive coaching process, I introduced this leader to the Enneagram personality system. She discovered her type to be Type 2, also known as the Considerate Helper.  The Enneagram is an amazing system to understand how we are motivated and with that awareness, how to free ourselves from self limiting beliefs and behaviors.  


This leader identified with several of the habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting that are common for Type 2’s.  She could see her behavior in the challenges described as motivated by needs:  to be appreciated, to be liked, to be helpful, to appear all together, and to feel  deeply connected.  She also learned some strategies for how to relax these habits and to let go of the belief that her only value comes from how much she does for other people. 

imagine a future:

Now imagine a future for this leader with more choices available for…. when to be helpful, who to help,  and best of all, how to be of help to herself. 

This leader is just beginning down this path of freedom through self awareness via the Enneagram.  I know it is not always going to be easy for her to catch habits before they take hold.  But I can imagine if she keeps working at it, how much she will enjoy having less stress, more selective use of her helpful energy and more easy going relationships.

Having a tool like the Enneagram can radically change your day-to-day and radically improve your personal leadership development plan. For more Case Studies on using the Enneagram in your business, click here, or on the button below!


Have you used the Enneagram in your business? Tell us below!

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