What impact does your personality have on your leadership? How can learning about your inner motivations impact your outward leadership? And what does knowing your Enneagram type have to do with creating and sustaining healthy relationships?
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In the third episode in the Healthy Relationships series, I chat with Beth McCord, founder of Your Enneagram Coach. Beth is a wife, mom of two college-aged children, and leader of her own business. She gives us a brief overview of the Enneagram, a quick description of each of its nine types, and insight into how knowing about our personality and those of others impacts how we lead and relate to to those around us.
Beth’s Leadership Journey:
Beth’s leadership journey is one about her own inner work. Her personality lends itself to wanting to fade into the background and support others, but God has asked her to step out of her natural tendencies to lead a business.
Beth has had two incredible mentors in her life: Michael Hyatt and Megan Miller. As their personal assistant, Beth was able to listen to their podcasts and interviews with incredible leaders while also watching them lead in real life and behind-the-scenes. From Michael and Megan she learned that you don’t have to be bossy to be a leader, but that you can lead from a place of encouragement and affirmation while still getting the job done.
What is the Enneagram?
Beth likes to think of the Enneagram with its nine personality types as our internal GPS. This tool helps you know why you think, feel, and behave in particular ways. The Enneagram cares not so much about what you do, but why you do it.
Each of the nine types may exhibit the same type of behavior (for example, all may desire that the office be kept straight and clean), but each type has its own reasons for the behavior. For Beth, the Enneagram offers a clear way for her to know how she’s doing: is she clinging to the cross or doing things out of her own strength?
How does knowing the Enneagram help us nurture relationships and lead others?
Beth explains that whatever is happening with and in the leader trickles down to those she leads. If a leader is willing to examine her own heart, it will flow down into the staff and environment. This leads to a more compassionate workplace.
She reminds us that when we understand that not everyone wants what we want or fears what we fear, we can give grace and compassion to others.A team is not about a leader being perfect but about pointing people to resources that everyone needs. - Beth McCordClick To Tweet
Basic Overview of the Nine Enneagram Types
To find your type, you’ll need to know four core elements:
1. Core fear – what you run away from
2. Core desire – what you’re running toward; what you think will make you happy if you have it
3. Core weakness – the thorn in your side
4. Core longing – what you long to hear
In the podcast, we cover the core fear and desire of each type. If you’d like to learn more about the Enneagram, head to Beth’s site, yourenneagramcoach.com.
TYPE 1 – The Moral Perfectionist
- What you fear: Being wrong, bad, inappropriate or irredeemable
- What you desire: Integrity, balance, being right + the “good girl”
TYPE 2 – The Supportive Advisor
- What you fear: Being worthless, rejected, needy, inconsequential, dispensable, and being unworthy of love
- What you desire: Appreciation, affirmation, love, and being wanted
TYPE 3 – The Successful Achiever
- What you fear: Failing, inefficiency, being incompetent, worthless, exposed, or unable to succeed
- What you desire: Admiration, respect, and being highly regarded
TYPE 4 – The Romantic Individualist
- What you fear: Inadequacy, being plain or emotionally cut off, not having unique significance
- What you desire: Uniqueness, feeling special and like your most authentic self
TYPE 5 – The Investigative Thinker
- What you fear: Annihilation, being ignored, intruded upon, depleted or found incapable
- What you desire: Capability, competence, and feeling like you know enough
TYPE 6 – The Loyal Guardian
- What you fear: Being without support, guidance, security or being physically abandoned
- What you desire: Security, guidance, and support
TYPE 7 – The Entertaining Optimist
- What you fear: Feeling bored, deprived, trapped in emotional pain, being limited or missing out on fun
- What you desire: Happiness, success, and contentment
TYPE 8 – The Protective Challenger
- What you fear: Weakness, powerlessness, being harmed, controlled or manipulated
- What you desire: Protection
TYPE 9 – The Peaceful Mediator
- What you fear: Conflict, being unloved, shut out or overlooked
- What you desire: Inner stability and peace of mind
What does Beth recommend if you’d like to discover your type?
Start by knowing that Enneagram tests are only 75-85% accurate because they type us based on what motivates us. If we don’t know what motivates us, it’s hard for a test to determine our type.
Beth has a free test on yourenneagramcoach.com, but to truly discover your type, she recommends that you follow these three steps:
(1) Take the free assessment
(2) Verify through the free PDF
(3) Take the “Discovering You” course
Where does transformation come from?
Remember that the Enneagram is your personal GPS and your type has a healthy destination. In the journey to becoming more healthy and whole, you may veer off course. Beth likens the Enneagram to “rumble strips” on the freeway — it helps you check yourself and ask, “Is this really what I need to do or is this an unhealthy habit I’m living out?”
The Enneagram is simply a tool that alerts us to our coping behaviors, but Jesus is One who transforms.
The Enneagram is not the transformation; it is just a tool to illuminate what is happening. Christ and the gospel is going to bring us the transformation. -Beth McCordClick To Tweet
Beth shares that all 9 types reflect God in their own unique ways. We can glorify God through our diversity. We all have weaknesses, but having a weakness or a vulnerability is actually a good thing if we cling to the cross.
By understanding each other’s gifts and talents and how we’re shaped by God to glorify Him, it allows us to spur each other into being the person God created us to be.
How can a leader nurture her most important relationships?
In marriage, understand your own self (what you’re running from, your triggers, etc.) so that you can free others from trying to meet your needs. Capture the lies you believe and give them to Christ so that you’re not desperate for others to fill you up.A key to healthy relationships is being filled up with your relationship with Christ. -Beth McCordClick To Tweet
Ask yourself if you’re asking others to do what only Christ can do. Shift your core longing so that it’s filled by Christ.
In parenting, remember to give your child time to discover his/her own type. You may be able to eliminate several types and hold two to four types loosely. As a parent, create a safe space to talk about motivations and how you can help and support your child. Give your child space to be themselves, but hold them close enough to be their guide.
With teams, the Enneagram allows you to cultivate an environment of compassion, understanding, empathy, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.To be like Christ would mean to understand one another and support one another in their amazing attributes. -Beth McCordClick To Tweet
Be sensitive to your team. Is someone in a role that doesn’t fit? If so, can you shift that person to a new position? If not, how can you support him/her?
We have to check ourselves instead of forcing people to come through for us the way we think they should come through. This is especially challenging for leaders.
Having good conversations, talking about our inner world in a non-threatening and non-accusatory way, listening well, and affirming one another is really key.
What are habits or routines that help you stay healthy?
For Beth, it’s getting in the Word and reminding herself hourly what is true. She listens to Indelible Grace hymns and loves hammocks and bonfires.
Leaders Are Learners:
- From Fear to Freedom: Living as Sons and Daughters of God* by Rose Marie Miller
- A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23* by Phillip Keller
- Anything by Michael Hyatt (books, blog, podcast)
Other Episodes Mentioned:
Episode 8: The Key to Becoming a Better Leader
Connect with Beth:
- Free download of the 9 Types
- Online courses of Discovering You and Exploring You
Your Enneagram Coach was founded by Beth McCord, an Enneagram speaker, coach and teacher for over 15 years.
Beth is passionate about coming alongside individuals and helping them re-write their story, allowing them to see that lasting change, meaningful relationships, and a life of deep purpose is possible. This passion is what drove her to create this community, a safe place for individuals to explore the Enneagram.
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