A Case Study in Emotional Intelligence Training with the Enneagram - [website] Email Print
Published: 8th of Sep 2017 by: Debbie Engelbrecht CEO

One of Staff Trainings’ sixty+ workshops is our two day Emotional Intelligence training that includes the Enneagram.

We were contacted by a team leader who was experiencing a number of problems within their team.

• They were totally disconnected from their senior manager, who they believed did not have their back and was in it only for herself!
• They were constantly running late on every project being delivered.
• There was very little trust amongst team members.
• The team leader felt that no matter what she did, the lack of accountability and lack of engagement from just about every person in the team was creating an atmosphere of gloom with much resulting dysfunction when it came to deliverables.

At the initial consultation, we asked if we would be able to take an independent survey of this team of nineteen members to try and establish what their main concerns and hurdles were.

The results of that survey presented as:

No trust in their senior manager.
Subsequent, no trust amongst team members as a few did work well with her.
Project scope changes that was not sufficiently negotiated and communicated.
Lack of resources due to late sign offs on procurement by the senior manager.
No trust in the organisation as every employee was on a twelve month fixed contract with no guarantee of renewal even though some had been working at the organisation for more than seven years.
A general feeling of discontent as the team (highly qualified individuals) felt they were not given sufficient autonomy.
Fluctuating levels of authority given to the same person at different times, resulting in the opinion that they were being “thrown under the bus” with every tiny error, but the few successes were taken as a personal win by the senior manager.

As you can see, this team was not in a fully engaged and happy place at all!

Staff Training returned to the client with the following proposal:

We present the Enneagram with Emotional Intelligence training, but we also do an hours debrief with each individual prior to the training, sharing the survey results with them, explaining the context of the training, and ensuring that each individual resonates with their Enneagram report.

The organisation was very reluctant to invest in the additional cost of the eighteen hours of consultation. Due to the immense negativity, we at Staff Training had to compromise on what would have been our ideal approach and therefore ended up doing eighteen email and telephonic interviews with the individuals to ensure that they were fully on board and if not, why not.

Our coaches felt that this initial communication was well received and that there was a large potential going forward, as from the conversations the following emerged:

1. There was a 100% success rate with the personalised Enneagram reports and many of the delegates were astounded at the accuracy. They were keen to learn more.
2. The delegates could see how unpacking the Enneagram in a team context could help them build trust with each other and how it could smooth collaboration and communication.
3. The delegates were comfortable that the survey was completely anonymous and in many instances, they had been so disgruntled that they didn’t care if it was anonymous or not! Many had reached a tipping point.
4. All eighteen of the team members felt that if there was not a quality intervention, the department would implode anyway, so they were open to the intervention.
5. More than 80% of them felt that given the opportunity, they would like to do the necessary to bring about the change that was required.
6. The senior manager was totally unaware of how or why the team perceived her in such a negative light, but was open to joining the group to move the programme forward. She did however ask how we would ensure that this did not become a personal attack on her.

With the dates set, the Staff Training coaches arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed only to find the doors to the office still locked and nobody in sight. To cut a long story short, we started the training about an hour late whilst we were waiting for the majority of the delegates to arrive.

As this was a fragile team, our coaches did not react to this behaviour, not immediately anyway.

This particular workshop kicks off with the Enneagram and this is what we did after ensuring a full agreement from all eighteen delegates that the training room was a safe space, that as they were all aware they were a team with many challenges to overcome, but also that each of them were ready for the challenge. We assured them that the feedback from the telephonic and email interviews was unanimous in every persons’ desire to move forward and towards better successes. We also gave them upfront the Kiss, Kick, Kiss method of feedback – ensuring that there was balance in the way they approached highly emotive and sensitive issues, asking them to be especially mindful to use this feedback method throughout the training.

With the agreement in place, some delegates vocalized their anxiety but reiterated that they were a tough team and they think they can all get through it. Our highly experienced coaches were able to give additional reassurances on the process and build some additional anticipation and excitement and with an early tea time we eventually got down to business at about 10h10.

When the Enneagram is explained to a larger group in a team context, we take the approach of firstly identifying the people in the room who identify with the Ennea lense of perception we are addressing and throughout our presentation we refer to these individuals, asking them questions, confirming their thoughts, buy-in and especially asking them for context within their working environment. We close each number out with a panel interview (sometimes this has taken place informally during the presentation anyway) and also with a video and then with the most useful of all exercises answering the question of “So how do we support you better?”

At the end of the first number, not one delegate wanted to take the body break! They were astounded at the insight they had gained of their first fellow team members already. They were chomping at the bit as such, ready to continue. At this point, the senior manager had already indicated how she had misread a situation just the previous week and this admission from her definitely broke the ice even more.

As we continued with the various Ennea lenses, the conversations were becoming lighter, the anxiety in the room decreased considerably and slowly but surely more messages of appreciation were starting to emerge. This was a team in healing.

Because of this progress and because our Staff Training coaches wanted to bring the best possible value to this team, we asked permission to start including the second half of the workshop which is the use of tools of emotional intelligence into the mix, simply pointing out the necessary page numbers in the delegate manuals. This method of facilitation gave us additional time to spend on the Enneagram, self-mastery and interpersonal communication which we could clearly identify as being one of the biggest challenges this team was faced with.

Just before closure on the first day, we addressed the issue of late coming and asked for a commitment from the team to please be on time the following day.

The morning of the second day, our two coaches arrived forty-five minutes prior to the start of the workshop and found at least half of the team in the room and chatting mostly about the previous day’s content!

This is always encouraging for facilitators. The second day we started fifteen minutes earlier! The mood in the room was anticipatory and light. The humour was emerging and prior to starting, one of the quieter delegates asked if they could say something.

The message was clear. She was delighted at the opportunity to bond with her team members in such a manner, she found that she had made many mistakes but she was committed to not making them again, she was delighted this particular morning as she had walked into a room with her work colleagues where it felt as if she were on holiday! Whilst they all knew that they were working, everyone was early, nobody let anyone down and they all greeted, smiled and exchanged a word or two before getting on with business. She indicated that this is how she would like to start every morning at work from now on as the personal touch played a large role in her happiness, whether at work or at home.

It is now two years later and I have just recently chatted to this team leader. Their senior manager has subsequently left the organisation but there had been a huge improvement in relations between them and her after the training. That manager had not been replaced as such as it was decided that the team was working autonomously and efficiently enough to self-regulate where necessary. Two team members had been given additional project oversight portfolios and they had increased their success rates considerably, she cannot remember when last they had missed deadlines, even though one or two projects had come in slightly over budget.

The level of trust and engagement was at an all-time high. She then asked me if we had worked with two totally unrelated clients. I said yes. She mentioned how delighted she was as she had referred them to us, assuring me that she would continue to do so as never before had they experienced such a quick and effective team turnaround despite the fact that they had invested much more money into team building activities in the two years prior to working with us.

I asked her why she thought that was. Her reply touched on two issues.

• Firstly, the Enneagram is an amazing self-mastery tool.
• Secondly, the value of Staff Training’s highly experienced coaches and facilitators together with the wisdom and humour in the delivery made us all feel that we could do better, be better and navigate our challenges better.

A wonderful result for all!

© Debbie Engelbrecht is the MD at Staff Training. Staff Training are a soft skills training company with more than 60 workshops on offer. View them here.

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