Enneagram specialist Barb Ranck joins us this week for an insightful conversation about personality types. 

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to better understand yourself and others, which is where the Enneagram comes in.Barb gives us a breakdown of the motivation of each Enneagram type and how they respond under stress when triggered. 

Whether you’ve heard of it before or it’s your first time learning your type, everyone can benefit from this episode. Keep listening to help improve your relationships, communication, and life.

In this week’s episode, we discuss:

[1:35] About Barb Ranck

[2:53] Barb’s pathway to coaching 

[5:40] What is the Enneagram?

[9:02] Using the Enneagram in relationships 

[14:11] Are men more willing to ask for help in the workplace?

[17:59] Moving towards a “neutral” place

[20:30] How the Enneagram helped Barb in her life and relationships

[26:00] Trauma’s impact on our patterns

[29:18] Are we more attracted to people similar or opposite to us?

[32:37] How the 9 Enneagram types are at their best, under stress, and what their triggers are

[58:08] Using your Enneagram type to improve your life

[1:01:24] Barb’s favorite date

About Barb Ranck

Barb Ranck is an iEQ9 Enneagram-Certified coach helping individuals and teams become more productive, collaborative, and self-aware. She offers 1:1 coaching, speaking engagements, and professional development. 

Barb’s pathway to coaching 

Instead of becoming an English teacher like she planned, Barb decided to go into corporate America as a trainer and facilitator for improved leadership. She started to learn tools that she didn’t have growing up like stepping into conflict, managing stress, and how to communicate. She thought to herself “I want everyone to have these tools”. 

She then became a certified coach and started to learn that there were even more tools to help people become better communicators and improve their relationships. When she took the Enneagram quiz, it felt like someone was following her around with a camera. The test showed her habits but it also showed her parts of herself that she didn’t want to know. It helped to empower her and now she uses the Enneagram to empower others. Through Barb’s experience, she thinks that the Enneagram is one of the most effective tools to learn about yourself, develop empathy, and improve your communication.

What is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a nine-pointed personality type model. Each type has different motivations and finding which type you are helps you notice what patterns come up when you are at your best and when you’re stressed. Barb lets us know that we may relate to other types as well but our main type is our starting point. It’s complex but it also explains why we have so much trouble relating to each other because we’re all just going through our own stuff at the same time.

The free tests can start to become confusing so Barb recommends taking the iEQ9 test, and you can email her at Barb@CiLifeCoach.com to get a 15% discount. This comes with 20-50 pages of information that you can dive into.

Using the Enneagram in relationships 

The Enneagram is a special tool that brings a new language to relationships. This is not to put people in boxes but to help us navigate stress in a positive way. Barb found it super helpful in her relationship with her son. They’re both alphas but she realized that for them to connect better, she needed to dial down her need for control.

Even if someone doesn’t openly talk “Enneagram,” the way they naturally express themselves can reveal so much about what they care about and what drives them. It’s not about labeling them without their consent but about understanding their motivations and speaking in a way that truly resonates with them. When people feel understood and validated, it’s like a key to unlock better connections. The Enneagram is like having an instruction manual for effective communication. It’s about really hearing each other and finding ways to communicate that resonate individually. 

Are men more willing to ask for help in the workplace?

In her coaching practice, Barb has found that men are more willing to ask for help sooner in a workplace setting. Women seem to be more hesitant to get vulnerable and want to exhaust all of their resources and tools before they reach out for support. Celeste shares that in a personal setting, it is much more difficult for men to say that they need assistance. 

Moving towards a “neutral” place

Each one of us has internal dials and we want them in neutral. We can think of it like a car thermostat where we don’t want things too hot or too cold. When we understand ourselves then we can recognize our triggers and move towards a neutral space. Understanding these internal dials is a powerful tool for keeping relationships in balance and making the necessary tweaks for better interactions. 

The Enneagram can also help you see how different types interact and what will help you to get to your neutral space. It’s about embracing your unique qualities, whether you’re a man who values doing your best without being overly ambitious in a corporate world, or a woman seeking meaningful connections outside of societal expectations. It’s all valid.

How the Enneagram helped Barb in her life and relationships

Six years ago, Barb discovered the Enneagram after trying various corporate assessments. She realized that she didn’t have many genuine connections and when she took the Enneagram test  it showed that as a Type 3, she was in the pattern of just wanting to get things done. Although she values her gifts of self-starting and ambition, she also needed to embrace her humanity.

She noticed that her friendships revolved around casual outings with alcohol so she started working on becoming more vulnerable and creating genuine connections. She started small by opening up to a few friends and having conversations about feelings. Now she helps others with the wisdom that she gained through this.

Trauma’s impact on our patterns

Trauma may freeze us in certain areas of life and we may need extra work to get beyond the repetitive patterns that have been lodged even deeper because of it. The Enneagram gives you a language to say “You’re not broken, you’re just starting from this point, and here’s your path forward by type.”

Are we more attracted to people similar or opposite to us?

In romantic relationships, opposites attract because there’s something about that other person that is natural to them but not natural to you and vice versa. Over time this becomes annoying and we start to think “Why aren’t you more like me?” Barb’s definition of a healthy positive relationship is one where each person is still able to positively influence the other one, even with small things like ordering food.

It’s important to understand ourselves the best we possibly can to be successful in long-term relationships. We can get along with each one of the Enneagram types, whether different or similar but you can start to be more intentional by asking which ones you would want to invest more time and energy into. 

Celeste has noticed with her clients that they would sometimes rather live their lives a little bit more miserable because that was what they knew and it was easier for them. 

How the 9 Enneagram types are at their best, under stress, and what their triggers are

Type One is The Improver and they want to improve themselves, their relationship, their situation, or the world. They are the most self-disciplined of all the types. They are triggered when they feel like things aren’t done right with precision. This looks like them going from giving information to micromanaging. 

Type Two is The Helper and they are one of the three natural empathetic types. They want to serve others and will do it sacrificially. They get triggered when they don’t feel appreciated since that is their love language. When they feel like no one needs their help, they are going to end up over-helping and having people depend on them. Then they get resentful but are scared that they are going to disappoint someone else.

Type Three is The Goal Getter and they are goal and achievement driven. They value efficiency which is great in a work environment but can be problematic in relationships. They get triggered if a conversation isn’t productive. They can get angry because they aren’t taking care of themselves. 

Type Four is The Creative and they are the second more empathetic type. They can bring something to the world to experience through beauty or artwork. They get stressed when they are misunderstood and feel disconnected. They have to have meaning and purpose in everything they do. 

Type Five is The Investigator and they want to stick with the facts. They love learning and knowledge but they can be misunderstood because they want to be alone or have intellectual conversations. They get triggered when they have too many dependencies or when people encroach on their territory. They will start to become condescending and critical.

Type Six is The Anticipator and they are constantly assessing risks and creating a plan. They are about security, safety, and support. They are one type that needs an external authority figure because they are naturally self-doubting. They get triggered when things don’t go according to plan.

Type Seven is The Optimist and they are always looking forward to something. They will try as hard as they can to reframe a negative to a positive. They are going to try to get through difficult things fast and will be triggered when someone interferes with their optimism. 

Type Eight is The Challenger and they are the most obvious of the types. They know exactly who they are and they don’t care if you like it or not. They have an internal sense of what needs to be done and are always trying to protect the innocent. You’ll see a different side of them around pets or children. When they are stressed, they go from assertive to aggressive. 

Type Nine is The Peacemaker and they naturally get other people and their perspectives. Their greatest gift is their ability to find common ground but their biggest challenge is having a safe space to bring their voice. They get stressed out when people don’t hear their voice but they’re also stressing themselves out because they aren’t expressing their voice. They build up their anger and then explode. 

Using your Enneagram type to improve your life

Barb shares that we have aspects of every single one of the 9 Types in us but your highest score is your starting point. As you start to notice how you react to stress or what triggers you, you can dial yourself in. Once you start to notice your patterns, you can make adjustments and start to experience better outcomes. Start to observe other people as they get stressed out because then you can see if you are compatible and how much time you want to invest in that relationship.

Barb’s favorite date

Barb and her husband are always down for an adventure so they went on a hot air balloon ride. On the date, Barb found out that her husband was scared of heights. This opened the door to a conversation they would not have otherwise had if they both did not get out of their comfort zones. 

Connect with Barb: 




Email Barb to get a 15% discount on the Enneagram test at Barb@CiLifeCoach.com


Using the Enneagram in Your Relationships with Barb Ranck

August 28, 2023