When coaching Nines about goals, spend most of your time finding out as clearly and specifically what they really want. If they can acknowledge what they want, they can take powerful action, but their goals have to be made specific, and they find that difficult. My favorite example of a Nine’s vagueness is a lovely Nine, full of honest zeal and enthusiasm who was doing good work, who had as her stated mission “to transform humanity.”
Enneagram Eights usually know what they want and are willing to go after it. What the coach can do to help them is to notice the effects their goal will have on others. Their subtext –as long as– is “as long as I can be in charge and have my way.” They need to include the consequences for others and the price everyone may have to pay. This is more important than it may seem because style Eights do very well in the external forum, but they can be blind about inner realities. Their external goals may not include any emotional or spiritual considerations. “Just do it,” can be toxic for them.
When coaching an Enneagram style Seven, remember they are gluttons. The form that proclivity assumes when they set goals is a habit of making lots of goals or huge goals. They glance briefly at the costs of time and effort for a goal and decide they can do that goal plus several more. It is garden season in most of the country, so let me recommend a horticultural metaphor: pruning. When a Seven sets a a goal, the coach usually has to prune either the size or the number. Their enthusiasm is contagious, but so is the common cold. They won’t like small incremental goals, but that is a good place to start.
When coaching Fours about their goals, you will likely notice that they will be reluctant to set goals that need recognition. Getting a promotion, writing a book, setting a financial goal — all of these might have a condition attached …as long as… as long as I don’t have to compromise my uniqueness. Fours can be whipsawed by the belief that if they act from their true self, they will not be accepted. Their book won’t be accepted, they won’t get the promotion and they can’t make money without compromise. So a shrewd coach will make the goal pared down to the quality of effort, not the effect, especially of acceptance (of either an authority or the crowd. Sometimes the authority will be trusted and can be included, but the crowd – even peers – will not be).
“Let’s set goals.” You can practically predict the drill. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Whether the context is financial, corporeal (weight loss) or temporal (beating your best time), the goal is what will make it happen.
Unless of course it doesn’t.
Our conscious goal is clear and conscious. Our Enneagram goal…not so much. However, we usually meet our enneagram goal, or at least its agenda. So I will refer you back to our reality check phrase: “as long as.”
We’ll start with style Nine because they so often get overlooked. Nines agree to meet their goals…as long as it doesn’t disturb the peace. Nines are “nice,” at least that’s their presenting aura. They love harmony, they see all sides of the question. But they do that with an unacknowledged agenda of peace and harmony. So when they agree to a goal, it better harmonize with harmony. Otherwise they will forget, overlook, procrastinate and get all confused about what the goal was and go take a nap.