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Archetype One: The Consultant & the Piddler

If you have any familiarity with the Enneagram and its 9 archetypes you likely have not encountered this naming convention. You may know the first number on the Enneagram, the One, by many names like the Good Person, the Reformer, the Perfectionist or even the Strict Perfectionist as Integrative Enneagram describes it. While these titles are all descriptive of this personality type, I have taken up the cause of renaming these types for some specific reasons which I will explain.

Getting Past Go

When I am given the opportunity to work with leaders I have noticed that some of the names typically associated with the Enneagram types can be offputting to those in leadership roles. For example, I once spoke with an executive after they had completed their Enneagram type assessment. They confessed to me, “I am supposed to lead this group of people and I just got labeled “the Helper.” They were embarrassed, even distressed, by the label. This was not my only observation of how initially offputting these labels can be.

Addressing the Power of Each Type

My desire was then to create names for each of the 9 types that speaks to their inherent power. The Two, sometimes known as the Helper, I call the Benefactor. While being helpful is a virtue, helpfulness does not speak outright to the power that the Archetype Two possesses. It is my experience that we all would like our Benefactor and we all aspire to serve as Benefactors. Benefactor is a word that invokes a powerful image.

Illuminated & Eclipsed Archetypes

Another difference you might notice is the presence of 2 labels for each type. The first name is the Illuminated Archetype. This is the part of ourselves that we wish to own. We aspire to embody the resourceful parts of our personality. Conversely, there are parts of our personality that we would rather remain in the shadows. We don’t want to admit they are a part of ourselves and when they remain in our blindspot, can cause great harm to us and to those around us.

The Eclipsed Archetypes

While we would prefer not to dwell on our Eclipsed Archetypes, I would argue that they are equally as important as their Illuminated counterparts. We rely on the interplay between the two if we are to advance on our journey. And just as I attempted to ascribe the Illuminated Archetypes with names that we find universally attractive, I have ascribe the Eclipsed Archetypes with names that I trust you will find universally obnoxious. But perhaps you might find one name more odious than the others. When you have done that, you may have discovered your own Eclipsed Archetype.

The Half-Lit Path

To illustrate the Half-Lit Path I invite you to imagine a planet orbiting a white-hot sun. To observe the planet from the side you see that one side is light and the other side is dark. Anyone attempting to traverse this planet on its dark side finds themselves in pitch darkness and wander aimlessly. But the light side is no better. Anyone who has experienced snow blindness knows that a brightly illuminated landscape can be just as bewildering as wandering in extreme darkness. I submit that the only way forward is what I call the Half-Lit Path. This path draws upon the strengths of our Illuminated side with full ownership and contact with our Eclipsed side. The Half-Lit path gives us enough light to see without getting blinded and hopelessly lost.

The Consultant

Strategy: Reforming existing systems and frameworks

Motivation: Creating an ideal reality

Gifts: Principled and Objective

The first Archetype of the Enneagram is also my own Archetype. I chose the label of Consultant because of the uncanny ability of the One to walk into any room and reflexively notice what is wrong. Not only do they notice what is wrong, they feel an overwhelming instinct to share what they have observed, along with the exact steps it will take to make things right. When we bring a consultant into our organization, this is exactly what we are paying them to do. We may not like what they have to say but sooner or later we will admit that they were right.

The Piddler

Blindspot: Micromanaging details while missing the big picture

Fear: Being irresponsible or imperfect

Defense: Judging self and others

If the strength of the Consultant is the ability to see what is wrong writ large, and do something about it, the downfall of the Piddler is in the details. The Piddler will fuss over the font size and fail to see that the presentation has an embarrassingly wrong title.

A Consultant is only as strong as their connection to and healthy respect for their inner Piddler. When I can step back and humbly accept my own tendency to “piddle” over unimportant details, I can more fully embrace my role as Consultant. The Consultant and the Piddler both remain close by as we traverse the Half-Lit Path.