The Enneagram According to Pooh

Although I write almost exclusively on the business applications of the Enneagram, I also get many requests for a small piece I wrote about Winnie the Pooh and how the characters fit into the nine Enneagram styles. Here is an updated version.

It started when my son, Tres, was four years old (he is now 18), and he became obsessed with the Pooh characters from the Disney's Winnie the Pooh video series (Disney-Buena Vista Home Videos). As is common with children of that age, he insisted on watching them over and over, with his mother (me, in this case) held captive as a way to keep him company.

By the twentieth viewing of the many tapes in the series, I realized that most of the Pooh characters clearly fit the nine different Enneagram styles, which is one of the reasons these stories are both charming and memorable. Here is the list of characters and their corresponding Enneagram types:

The Enneagram According to Pooh
Enneagram Style One: Rabbit
Enneagram Style Two: Kanga (mother of Roo)
Enneagram Style Three: Gopher
Enneagram Style Four: Eyore
Enneagram Style Five: Owl
Enneagram Style Six: Piglet (phobic rather than counter-phobic Six)
Enneagram Style Seven: Tigger
Enneagram Style Eight: Gorilla (although he's a minor character, his character is central to the stories he is in)
Enneagram Nine: Pooh

I have yet to figure out Christopher Robin, even after going back to the original books to determine if there were more insights to be gained. Unfortunately, I could not find any more information that was helpful to me. I sometimes think it may be that his character is either not sufficiently developed by author or he might be a hybrid of two or more styles - that is, the author mixed a few types in this case such as Styles Two and Three or Styles Nine and Three.

After my son became very familiar with the many characters, I would ask him "Which one is most like mommy? Which character is most like daddy? Which one is most like Uncle Martin? Which one is most like you?" By the time he was five, he had his immediate family accurately typed. At six years old, he knew who he was (a Three).

As he became older and my list of questions became longer, he was able to identify the Enneagram types of others who were central in his life. When he was eight years old, he was able to substitute the Enneagram numbering system (One through Nine) for the Pooh characters. He learned how to type his friends, teachers, dogs, cats, and even the newscasters and politicians on television. At this point in his life, my son can teach adults and peers the Enneagram system in 15 minutes, and he is quite adept at helping people type themselves.

Those of you interested in the Enneagram and fictional characters might enjoy one or more of the following books: The Literary Enneagram: Characters from the Inside Out by Judith Searle (Metamorphous Press) and The Enneagram Movie and Video Guide by Tom Condon (Metamorphous Press).

- Ginger

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Date posted: Wednesday, 25th November 2009 Category: Fun

Coaching Book Out Early!

Hong KongMy new book, Bringing Out the Best in Everyone You Coach (McGraw-Hill 2009), came out a month early (an amazing event in the publishing industry) and is doing great in every way! It is highly ranked on Amazon; after just one week, it was ranked between 2000 and 5000. Translations rights have already been arranged in Thai and Danish.

Book endorsers have been highly enthusiastic about it. Major Enneagram teachers - Don Riso and Russ Hudson, as well as Helen Palmer and David Daniels - were effusive and generous, and Pam McLean from The Hudson Institute and Karen Kimsey-House of the Coaches Training Institute, both CEOs of their respective coaching institutions, were incredibly supportive. Although neither Pam nor Karen were highly familiar with the Enneagram or knew me personally, they really liked the book and the way the Enneagram can be used in coaching. There were additional endorsers from senior leaders at big companies like Best Buy, Agilent, Cartier, and Genentech, and from CEOs of non-profits such as Room to Read, an organization that creates literacy around the world and has been featured on Oprah.

This feels like a big movie unfolding, and I am so excited to see what materializes. And I am sensing my role, but not exactly clear about it. Am I the screenwriter, the director, the producer, the actor, or a bit of each?

My first two Enneagram-business books, Bringing Out the Best in Yourself at Work and What Type of Leader Are You?, also published by McGraw-Hill, are still doing well and have been translated into multiple languages. It looks like continuing the work from these two books and the programs for the new coaching book - particularly the new 5-day "Coaching with the Enneagram" certificate program - will take me even further around the world, where I get to meet great people, try new foods, accumulate frequent flyer miles, and make an international contribution.

- Ginger

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Date posted: Wednesday, 18th November 2009 Category: News

The Enneagram is Everywhere!

Hong KongIt seems the Enneagram is everywhere, and I had a wonderful time in Hong Kong at the International Enneagram Association-China Conference in Hong Kong, where I gave the endnote as well as three presentations. One of the three sessions was impromptu - "Leadership Presence" - which I did with Russ Hudson. All events went well, and I especially liked the session with Russ because we had never, ever worked together before. The situation, however, called on us to do this, and no one would have known that it was not highly preplanned or that this was our first time co-presenting. While in Hong Kong, we also went to an excellent restaurant called The Red Pepper, and I had several great foot reflexology massages at a massage franchise next to the Cosmopolitan Hotel. I think it was called "The Happy Foot."

Hong Kong, by all accounts from who live there and know it well, has an Enneagram 3 culture, full of people going somewhere with a results focus and a need to succeed. In this first picture, you can see a reflection of this: the fireworks celebration honoring 60 years of the Chinese Communist Party combined with the Autumn Moon Festival. The fireworks were highly designed and refined, horizontal rather than vertical, and were very beautiful. But they certainly make a splash!

Hong Kong After the conference and a 5-day Consulting with the Enneagram program, I went to Hangzhou on the mainland of China. In contrast to Hong Kong, Hangzhou has an Enneagram 4 culture; it is a wistful, artistic, slower moving city that is full of spaciousness and romance. Situated on the West Lake, most of the city revolves around this beautiful body of water, complete with weeping willows, places for couples to sit, stand, and embrace, and walkways for simply strolling with no rush, demands, or burning deadlines. While in Hangzhou, Gloria Hung and I had the chance to see and experience a water show on the lake directed by one of the creators of the film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," with music from one of Japan's leading contemporary composers. It was very different, beyond categorization, and more akin to Cirque du Soleil than anything else. It had a basic storyline: boy meets girl; girl is taken away from boy; boy mourns and yearns; boy comes to terms with his emotions and moves on. But the beauty of the show is that it walks on water -- literally 300 plus cast members acting and dancing on the lake -- and the experience brought most in the audience to tears. Anyone who gets chance should try to see this incredibly artful show.

Traveling is one of the best parts of the Enneagram-business work I do, spending time with people from all over the world, learning about their cultures, and helping them discover how much more there is to ourselves and to life than we thought possible. The eating is good, too.

- Ginger

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Date posted: Thursday, 22nd October 2009 Category: Travel

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