Enneagram Expert Beth McCord Offers Help on How We Can Better Ourselves, Others & Our Relationships

beth mccord

Passionate about coming alongside individuals and helping them rewrite their story, Enneagram Coach Beth McCord helps people see that lasting change and a life of deep purpose are possible. The Enneagram (Ennea=9, Gram=Diagram,) a simple map for self-discovery and growth, outlines the nine valid perspectives of interpreting circumstances that clearly describes why each person thinks, feels, and behaves in particular ways based on their core fears and desires. As a bonus, it also helps all Types grow in compassion toward themselves and others. 

In her new series of books, The Enneagram Collection, McCord shows how to transform self-limiting behaviors into life-enhancing personal empowerment. With the growing popularity of this self-assessment tool, McCord has created interactive books that are perfect for anyone newly interested in the Enneagram or the longtime Enneagram enthusiast.

In a series of 9 books, The Enneagram Collection gives each Type personal insights crafted precisely for their personality along with space to journal and reflect-a first in the market.

Q: What is the Enneagram? 

The Enneagram is a personality typing system and self-awareness tool. While other personality tests are fun, and useful in helping us pinpoint our particular strengths and preferences, they usually stop there. They don't get to the root of our Core Motivations, and they certainly don't help us grow in our relationship with God and others.

However, the Enneagram works differently. It reveals not only what we do, but why we do it. From the Greek words for nine (ennea) and gram (diagram), the Enneagram is a nine-pointed symbol. Each point represents a basic personality Type and a specific pattern of thinking. We study the Enneagram to learn why each Type thinks, feels and acts in specific ways and what that looks like when they're in a healthy mental state or if they're struggling.

Q: How and why did you get interested in the study of the Enneagram?

I was introduced to the Enneagram by some friends back in 2000, when my husband, Jeff, and I, along with our two small children, were living in a tiny apartment on our seminary's campus. I began studying this tool, not as a teacher or coach, but as an overwhelmed wife, mom, and Christ-follower who desperately needed it!

At that time, I was struggling to let the truth of the Gospel fully settle into my heart and life. I kept falling into the same ruts, and felt stuck year after year. This caused me to experience great fear and shame. I couldn't grasp the freedom I knew I already had, so I was lost, lonely, and very sensitive to the words and actions of others. My marriage was fraught with frustration and challenges. Because I had not done my own deep self-discovery work, I fundamentally believed that only my perspective was the right perspective.

The Enneagram was an incredible gift that helped me to understand not only myself (I'm a Type 9) and why I do what I do, but also how to accept and extend grace and forgiveness to all parts of my life. I finally had a tool that brought clarity to my inner world, something I couldn't have understood on my own.

The Enneagram also gave me a path of personal growth and relational development. After hundreds of hours of training under Enneagram experts and advanced certifications, I realized my calling to come alongside individuals and help them experience the same life transformation. This passion is what drove me to create the Your Enneagram Coach community, a safe place for people to explore the Enneagram and experience the growth, purpose and freedom in Christ their hearts are longing for.

Q:  How does understanding the Enneagram help us understand ourselves and our own stories?

The Enneagram clearly describes each Type's thoughts, feelings, actions, and unique perspectives based on their Core Motivations (Core Fear, Core Desire, Core Weakness, and Core Longing). This powerful tool can help us harness and transform self-limiting behaviors into life-enhancing personal empowerment. It reflects the current condition of our heart, revealing if it's in or out of line with the truth of the Gospel. We can then learn to notice when we're drifting away from Christ, so we can confess and return to our best path of becoming more like Him. 

Q:  How does it help us understand others?

Becoming aware of how each Type ticks, as well as the ways they feel most loved and supported, is a game-changer when it comes to understanding and being in healthy relationships with others. Studying the Enneagram fosters a culture of compassion in every area of our lives, showing us how to exercise more balance, self-control, and grace in everything we think, say, and do. It also helps us experience more relational intimacy and satisfaction, enhancing mutual curiosity, respect, and connection. 

Q:  How does using the insights from the Enneagram help us to succeed at work?

Whenever you bring people together of different ages, backgrounds, and personalities, there are challenges. Work dynamics can be especially complicated, but the Enneagram provides a framework for not only honing in on group members' skills and preferences, but also improving team relationships, cooperation, and productivity. 

When we better understand ourselves, we can overcome defeating tendencies, rise to our abilities, and fulfill our personal and professional callings. We all have different preferences and talents, and having a deeper insight to our co-workers, managers and teammates can help us better communicate, play to our strengths, and do more meaningful work. As a result, we can more effectively carry out our organization's vision and values, and further impact the world around us. 

Q:   And how does it help us in negotiation and conflict resolution?

Much of the time, the root of conflict stems from not truly understanding one another's perspectives, hearts, and Core Motivations, and insisting that our point of view be seen as right. The belief that "we are right, and they are wrong" keeps us in unhealthy relational patterns. It's like an old dance where we fall into the practiced steps of false thinking, resentment, and condemnation. Our thoughts, feelings, assumptions, and reactions seem stuck, and we don't see another way. But when we shift our focus from being right to being restored, we can finally free ourselves from our old dance steps. 

Imagine how relationships would change if we all really trusted the amazing news of the Gospel, believing that we were each intricately created by God and that He is restoring us! He uses relationships of every kind to accomplish His purposes. Conflicts are inevitable, but when we navigate them using the Gospel and the powerful tool of the Enneagram, we learn to have more patience, compassion, and forgiveness for one another. It gives us the opportunity to experience transformational grace and abundant life.

Q:  Tell us more about your series of books on the Enneagram Collection.

The Enneagram Collection includes 9 Type-specific gift journals. These books are broken down into 21 daily readings, helping the reader unpack their story using the powerful tool of the Enneagram. Each book is designed almost like a daily devotional, walking the reader through their personality's Core Motivations, how Christ answers their Core Longing, the impact of their childhood messages, and more. Each day includes reflection questions designed to accelerate growth, hope, and freedom. 

I wrote these books to give every Type greater insight into their unique personality, and learn how to walk in fulfillment, purpose, and authenticity. Once we know ourselves more intimately, we will be able to understand the Gospel in deeper and richer ways. The Enneagram can help us hear the Gospel and its truths in our "mother tongue," or our personality Type's language, helping our heart to better receive it. This brings tremendous power to our walk with God!

Q:  How has applying such Enneagram insights help you in in your own life. Can you give us a couple of examples?

My husband, Jeff, and I don't have a perfect relationship by any means, but we've noticed a huge shift in the way we relate to each other as we've combined the Gospel and the Enneagram over the last two decades. Understanding how our personality's perceptions can negatively impact our behaviors can stop unhealthy patterns. This powerful tool empowered us to reject the lies of our internal wiring that don't match up with what the Lord says of us. We learned to accept that we each view the world from completely different perspectives (I'm a Type 9, he's a Type 6), but we can choose to harness our differences for good. By the grace of God, our relationship has been completely transformed! 

The Enneagram also impacted the way we raised our two children. Even when our kids were little and had not yet identified their Types, knowing our own hardwiring helped us avoid common parenting pitfalls and negative tendencies. It also helped us identify the positive attributes we wanted to pass on and leverage to become the best parents we could be. Our kids are adults now, but no matter the age and stage, parenting is not for the faint of heart! While it's impossible to do the task of raising well-rounded, well-adjusted, emotionally-healthy children perfectly, the Enneagram can give us some really helpful self-awareness, as well as tools for understanding and shaping the hearts of the kids with whom God has entrusted us.

To purchase Mccord's books and resources, click here.


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