Break Out of the Box: Enneatype 9: Take A Stand

This series is dedicated to illustrate and explore every day human communications.  It is my desire by hearing breakthrough experiences of others it will present an insight or opening in how you can create conscious communications with everyone in your life.

First let’s start with a little about the Enneatype 9: The Mediator before I get into a real life example of how this type shows up in a work scenario.   There are more Mediator enneatypes than any of the other eight types.  They are also difficult to identify as this type naturally adapts, like a chameleon, to any one of the other eight enneatypes.   They have mastered the skill of blending in.  They do this because they downplay and minimize their own self interests.  They were not encouraged to express their own thoughts, wants or needs and as a result, do not know what they want.  The 9 is generally optimistic, positive and trusting and will put other people first, often deferring their own plans and instead will follow the ideas and wants of others.   They quickly grasp all sides of the issue and find merit in all of them.  This constant repression of self creates resentment and stress which they hold inside instead of releasing, and in turn creates internal conflict and more avoidance.  The repressed anger plays out as passive aggressive behavior and is expressed as resistance, avoidance, withdrawal, delay or forgetfulness and verbally as negative comments or comparisons and criticism.  A revealing trait of the 9 is their indecisiveness.  Because the 9 does not have a strong self identity, decision making is difficult and can cause extreme suffering as the inevitable is avoided or fate takes over and someone else decides for them.

Everyone wants to have 9’s as friends.  They are encouraging and supportive.  They appreciate people and have a high tolerance for the differences in every person.  They rejoice in others successes and are accepting, forgiving and generous.  This type is described as the Salt of the Earth and they work hard for peace, harmony and connection.

I promised to talk about a typical work situation for a 9.  I was coaching a client who was very distraught about her work environment.  Caught between being responsible and dedicated to her work and coworkers and a manager who were constantly projecting negative and non-constructive behavior.  Her days would end with extreme frustration not knowing what she should do.  She was miserable yet couldn’t decide on whether to stay or leave.  When stressed, a 9 has the tendency to freeze and get stuck in fear unable to act or can even become paranoid.  She didn’t really enjoy her profession, yet she held a degree and was professionally proficient.   If you recall, a primary trait of the 9 is indecisiveness.  My client was caught in the classic stress traits of the type:  conflict avoidance, being unclear of her own wants and needs, and not being able to make a decision.

A fundamental objective of coaching from a place of being stuck is to help the person to recognize they are in a hole, reveal the unsupportive mental beliefs and perceptions in play and guide the client to begin to visualize the life they desire.  The process is to explore what the person values, enjoys and has a passion for and then introduce the power of possibility thinking.  The enneagram is a great tool to reveal in a non-personal way, the holes we fall into.  Once my client saw how the stress traits of the 9 were e cause of her distress, she quickly became aware that the negativity in her workplace had a lot to do with her perception of the situation.  She practiced tools to accept and be comfortable with her work colleagues’ communication styles.  After a short time she was able to stay present and contribute in the conversation when earlier it felt like confrontation, problems and conflict.  She still has moments when she wants to retreat and not deal with it all, yet she is aware of her types’ behavior and the time it takes to shift to acceptance is getting shorter and shorter.


With this piece of my client’s life now unstuck, space opened to explore from a non-stressed position what she really wanted to do for her livelihood and we began to put into place a plan to move her steadily towards her goal.


Here are some practices to support developing to your higher self:

  1. When feeling stressed, reconnect with your body to help relax the mind from running away with worse case scenarios.
  2. The growth for a 9 is to discover who you are as an individual.   There are many great resources and processes to reveal your individuality.  I recommend Danielle LaPorte’s “Desire Map”.
  3. 9’s are naturals in creating a world that works for everyone.   The world needs 9 leaders to take a stand and shine your special traits.


Till next time, be well!

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