Jeff Erbskorn, enneagram teacher, leadership coach and pastor

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I enjoy helping organizations, leaders and individuals communicate more effectively utilizing a tool called the enneagram. I can help you listen to the way others speak and tailor your speech to the way they listen. The enneagram has been used by 72 companies  (including Avon, Best Buy, Daimler/ Mitsubishi, Parker Hinneafen and Toyota) from more than 20 countries spanning 5 continents. It suggests that our life is made up of nine "folders" or "portfolios" that we can open at any given time, but that we habitually choose one over the others to expresses ourselves. It is likely that your particular portfolio has opened up many doors to you.  Yet at the same time an over investment in the thoughts, emotions and behaviors contained within your portfolio has likely shut many as well. You want to reach as many people as you can.  You want to reach into their head and their heart.  You want them to sense and understand deep in their gut that what you have to offer is what they need.  Some you will reach easily with the gifts, strengths and competencies within your own portfolio, your own style of speaking and being in the world.  And yet others will miss out for the reason that you were simply not speaking their language.  You missed or miss heard what they were saying.  They will frustrate you or be frustrated by you, and both of you will lose out. I can help.

As you seek to grow and change let me guide you to a deeper understanding of yourself and others through the Enneagram Spectrum of Personality Styles.  You will learn to "speak to their listening" and "listen to the way they speak.”

I am a trained Healthy Congregations workshop facilitator and a certified leadership coach within the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America through Coachnet Global.  I became certified to teach the enneagram in 2012 and in 2017 completed advanced certification training within the same program (Enneagram Spectrum of Personality Styles Certification Program).  My teacher, Dr. Jerry Wagner, was among the earliest students of the enneagram in the US, being taught by Robert Ochs, a Jesuit Priest and professor at Loyola University Chicago, who studied with Claudio Naranjo (the first person to teach the system in the US).  Dr. Wagner was recently recognized an honorary founder of the International Enneagram Association (IEA).

I became a professional member of the IEA in  2015, completing another certification program the same year, with enneagram teacher Tom Condon.  Tom has taught over 800 workshops in the US, Europe and Asia and focuses on helping people grow and change. As a Lutheran minister for 21 years, I've seen first hand what it costs an organization when things are taken personally.  Leaders make decisions born from their own anxieties and become reactive rather than responsive.  I have also seen the huge dividends paid when decisions are made by a team of persons whose commitment to their own health ensures the health of the organization.  Decisions are intentional, thoughtful and responsive. Whether it's our professional or personal life, sometimes all we need is the support and encouragement of someone who believes in us and is committed to our success. Let me guide you to a deeper understanding or yourself and others through the Enneagram.  You will learn to "speak to their listening" and "listen to their speaking."

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Christocentric View of The Enneagram that Stands In the Grip Of God's Grace

Tom Condon, one of my enneagram teachers, in a recent post
alluded to the proverbial devil we all have on one
shoulder and angel on the other. He goes on to say that
"In many ways the Enneagram challenges us to educate our
"little storytellers." It asks the question, "How do we
update our version of the world and begin to live a new

As I read his post I thought of the struggle of the human
condition to which St. Paul alludes in Romans 7 where
beginning at verse 15 he says, " I do not understand my
own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the
very thing I hate." Paul goes on to say that he can will
what is right, but cannot do it. He says in fact, "For I
do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is
what I do. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no
longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21So I
find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good,
evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God
in my inmost self, 23but I see in my members another law
at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the
law of sin that dwells in my members."

As folks get to know the enneagram they see this reflected
in the system. In fact in the same post Tom Condon goes on
to say, "People new to the Enneagram often wonder if it's
possible to completely change from one Enneagram style to
another. They'll ask, "I know I'm a Seven but can I
someday change into a Two?" Just as you can't change your
true nationality, your core Enneagram style stays the
same. You don't stop perceiving the world through the same
basic filter; your physiology and body chemistry will
express one Enneagram style over the others. Your thoughts
will incline in a specific direction and your strengths
and talents will arise from that fact. When the poet
Robert Frost was asked why he still rhymed his poetry when
rhyming had gone out of fashion, he replied that writing
unstructured poetry felt "like playing tennis without a
net." Frost added that "freedom means being easy in your
harness." When he embraced the constraint of rhyming,
Frost found great freedom. Even as you successfully work
on the excesses of your Enneagram style, there's no
escaping your personality entirely. There is little point
in my trying to get over being an American or "curing" my
Swiss friend Werner of being Swiss, but we both can become
much more than our nationalities. If you work at it, you
can transform (I would say that as God in Christ works on
you GOD WILL & GOD DOES transform) your Enneagram style
from a restrictive cage into a flexible harness. The gifts
and resources locked inside your most dysfunctional
behavior can be freed and used to improve life today. As
you loosen your personality defenses, you will develop a
wider range of behavior and become less compulsive,
defensive and "nationalistic" in your responses. As you
waken from the bad – or even good – dream of being only
your self-image, you can shed old roles and identities
that have little to do with who you are now. As you grow
easy in your personality harness, the essential "you" will
have more room to express itself. Your true individuality
and a sense of your own soulfulness will emerge and
thrive." - Tom Condon

I do not disagree and I do echo St. Paul who as he
continues to wrestle with these issues asks, "Who will
rescue me from this body of death?" and then answers his
own question by proclaiming, "Thanks be to God through
Jesus Christ our Lord!" And thank you Jesus for leading me
to and working on me through my work with my enneagram
style. Looking for a Christocentric View of the Enneagram
focused on discipleship development? I'd love to present
for you. Contact me at