If you don’t know what the Enneagram is, here’s a quick summary. It’s a personality test that instead of just categorizing people based on behavior, looks at the motivation behind it. There are 9 types, with wings, subsets, and healthy vs. unhealthy states, so it’s more complicated than just figuring if you are a 1 or a 9. There are free tests online that you can take to get you headed in the right direction to figure your number out.
Experts often say if you’re offended by the description of the number you, then you have the right one. While I was reading up on my number (6 if anyone was wondering), I started to realize that the things that were tough for me in terms of being a coach’s wife could be explained by my Enneagram number.
If I had been able to recognize and verbalize a few things the Enneagram was revealing about my personality from the beginning, it would have helped tremendously with my relationship with coach, our families, and even some well-intentioned parents and fans. So, I decided to see what might be hard about this life for each number.
Type 1- The Perfectionist wants balance. They are hard-working and principled. When someone is saying something about your coach, a one can’t let it go. They want fairness and will stand up for what’s right, and it’s usually the opposite of what a bleacher coach is yelling. Ones like routine and don’t readily embrace change, so figuring things out on the fly or last-minute changes don’t go over well. But we all know that being flexible and adaptable is a must in this lifestyle. You’re probably a 1 if the uncertainty and unpredictability of job changes are difficult for you. And if you have an issue when things like playing time, referee calls, and hirings or firings aren’t fair and logical.
Type 2- The Helper wants to be appreciated. They tend to live their lives for others. Twos care a great deal about what others think of them, and by extension, their coach. They won’t be able to not take it seriously when someone criticizes their spouse. They want other people to think that they love everybody. This is next to impossible in a competitive culture. It won’t be easy for a two to get over it if a player or parent thinks she is favoring someone else. You’re probably a 2 if you run yourself ragged trying to help every player, their families, and the other wives, all while trying to keep your attention equal for all. And if you have a hard time with the players that value the name on the back of the jersey above the name on the front.
Type 3- The Achiever wants to be successful. They strive to accomplish extraordinary things. They are go-getters and can even be workaholics. A loss just hits a three differently than most other numbers. They can be competitive to a fault. Threes want to be seen as successful by others. They keep a close watch on how other people are responding to them (and their coach) at the moment. Negative comments in the bleachers are their worst nightmare. You’re probably a 3 if you want everyone to think you’re the picture-perfect coach’s wife. And if you want to win more than even the players do.
Type 4- The Individualist wants to be unique. They feel all the highs and all the lows, and love talking about their feelings. Fours are very sensitive to criticism, and take a while to get over it. Fours value deep connection, honesty and want to be understood. They are introspective, authentic, empathetic, and usually very creative. You’re probably a 4 if the surface level “how are you”s at every game bother you. And if you spend more time after a win or a loss talking to coach about how he feels about it instead of the next steps.
Type 5- The Investigator wants to understand. They crave alone time and solitude, especially to think. Communication can be difficult, and they don’t like long social events. And sharing personal information can be challenging. Fives are problem solvers, love to learn, and are usually experts in their fields. They tend to be independent and withdrawn. You’re probably a 5 if you need a whole week to recover from going to a game or spend most of it observing the fans instead of watching the game. And if everyone knowing who you are and being all up in your business bothers you.
Type 6- The Loyalist wants security. They are always thinking, planning ahead, and second-guessing their decisions. Sixes are committed and loyal. They value security and safety. They strongly dislike unreliability. You’re probably a 6 if the unpredictability of the recruiting season, playoffs, or job security occupies almost every second of your thoughts. You worry about any and everything and are prepared for literally any situation that might arise. And if you have a hard time letting go of an old team/school.
Type 7- The Enthusiast wants adventure. They need freedom and have a hard time staying in the moment. Sevens are happiest when they are productive, busy, and active. They are task-oriented. They don’t like boredom and repetition. Sevens are extroverted and full of life. Facing emotional pain is difficult. You’re probably a 7 if the idea of moving often doesn’t bother you, because you see it as a new adventure. And if you aren’t overwhelmed by all responsibilities and the long to-do list that comes with the move. And especially if you say yes to all the events and activities because you tend to have FOMO.
Type 8- The Challenger wants to be in control. They are independent and strong-willed. They have enormous willpower and energy. Eights are opinionated, driven leaders, passionate and assertive. They are always self-assured and confident. Eights are direct, decisive, and protective. You’re probably an 8 if you can have a confrontation with anyone, say what you think and then move on. You go right to the person in the stands or the wife who is being rude or a bully and tell them to stop. And if you always have issues with the players (or anyone else really) that need constant praise, are always making excuses, and/or try to assert power in a situation where they have none.
Type 9- The Peacemaker wants to go with the flow. They don’t want to rock the boat and need a peaceful environment. Nines need to feel settled and comfortable. They avoid conflict and want everyone to get along. They are extremely understanding and are able to view situations from multiple sides. Nines are kind, people-pleasers, patient, and calm. They do not like having to make decisions. You’re probably a 9 if do not do well with a cliquy coaches’ wives crew where there’s a lot of drama and gossip. And if you avoid any conflict with anyone at all cost, as well as making any decisions for anything large or small.
It’s not enough to just figure out your number though. It will make this coach’s wife’s life so much easier if you acknowledge and try to come to terms with your number’s tough things. Maybe even give important others in your life a heads up.