The Communicating Enneagram; #2 Developing Awareness

Developing Awareness

Matching another person who is behaving in an unhealthy manner doesn’t mean that you behave likewise. That would lead to both parties dropping to the level of conflict and would only confound the situation.

Matching in this case would be in terms of their thinking process. When we ask ourselves what kind of beliefs or values have to be true for the other person to be behaving as they are.

One very effective way of doing this is by matching the kind of language patterns people use.
Our language patterns, the use of certain words, the way we use them and say them (our voice) are all behaviours that are influenced by our internal representations.
Our Emotions – our internal state, feelings and values; and our Thinking – the beliefs we hold, internal process and the nature of our internal dialogue. Concomitantly, our emotions and thoughts are influenced by our actions.

img TeaEnnea figure 1;
T.E.A shows how our Thoughts, Emotions and Actions feedback on each other. In NLP circles this is also known as the Mercedes model, for it’s obvious likeness to the German car symbol. The model demonstrates the link to The Enneagram triadic centres of Instinctual, Heart and Thinking centres.

You could think of it as a jelly in the shape of a three sided pyramid, with each face representing  the aspects of Thinking, Emotions and Actions. Any disturbance to one of the three sides would reverberate around to the other two.

Paying particular attention to kind of words and patterns of language a person uses, offers

valuable clues to how that person is thinking at that time. This is information that will help you to match your language to their preferred thinking style.

Meta-Programmes and their source

The thinking patterns that influence our language and behaviour are known as Meta-programmes.
Meta-programmes emerged as part of NLP in the late 1970s as result of research by Leslie Cameron Bandler (together with David Gordon, Robert Dilts and Meribeth Meyers-Anderson)

As the name implies “meta” programs are about the programmes which guide and direct other thought processes. They define common or typical patterns in the strategies or thinking styles of a particular individual.(or group or culture) They are as much about how we perceive and filter our experience of the world, as opposed to the reality.

Noam Chomsky 1957 Phd dissertation on Transformational Grammar focused on how people modify the information they have gathered, in order to communicate the information to others. By the time the experience has been distorted, generalised and deleted, we only pass olong 1% to 2% of the experience.

Rodger Bailey, the developer of LAB Profile, applied the concepts that underlie Transformational Grammar , in that it reveals how  a person transforms their experience, and applied it to metaprograms to uncover what it means that a person transform their experience.

What we have discovered is that when a person uses particular syntax violations (in a given context), that person has some behaviour patterns (in that context) that are similar to the behaviours of other people who use that same syntax.  

As an example, when asked, one person might describe a particular room in terms of it’s exact dimensions, the different colours on the each wall and the exact location; a very “specific” description, whilst someone else, when asked to describe the same room, may just say “it’s large and airy” something of a “general” description.

The behaviour associated with a specific orientate person would be to attend closely to the details of a situation. They are more likely to use ten word when  two or three would do.

They may well seek clarification of a particular instruction before carrying out the job. And then pay great attention to minute aspects of the job, thereby taking longer to complete the work.

A General orientated person would only need to know the overall outcome to be achieved and would avoid getting bogged down in the details. There behaviour might be to act on the big picture and would offer information that was fairly ‘loose’ in nature – giving a fairly non-specific or even uncommitted response to questioning.

Of course this person may still take the same time and create the same work, although there may be some loose ends left un-resolved.

Meta-programs are mostly linear, so a person may be extremely or mildly “specific” or extremely or mildly General. They may also be both – somewhere in the middle. Furthermore, the context of a meta-program will vary.

LAB Profile studies reveal that people can be General in the context of receiving instructions, but then detailed when carrying out the work.
The idea that LAB patterns are context specific, would suggests there would be no link to personality types. Indeed, LAB Profile trainers are discouraged from suggesting that they reveal any aspect of personality type; and yet, certain LAB patterns of one type or another, are very associated to certain Enneagram types.

The most obvious example is that of Options v.s. Procedure. These two patterns lay at the polarity of what LAB Profile refers to as the “Reason” motivational trait.
The definition being “How does a person approach daily work? (note the context here is work) Is there a continual quest for others ways to do it, or is there a preference to follow established procedures?” (from Words That Change Minds hand book)

Coming Next #3 Curious Connections; the more obvious connections to Enneagram personality types.