The Nine Domains are the nine essential components of any complex system. Each Domain is an equally necessary element of the whole and all nine together are sufficient to describe an interdependent system. Without one or more of the Domains, the system would be incomplete and if more Domains were present—they would be redundant and unnecessary. The Nine Domains are therefore fundamental as well as archetypal, practical as well as abstract, particular as well as universal. They can be seen in every complex system on a huge range of scales from the natural world of plants and animals to the human world of individuals and groups—from the microcosm to the macrocosm.

1. Where did the Nine Domains come from? Who originated them?

The phrase “nine domains” originally was coined by Oscar Ichazo, although Don Riso has taken this concept much further and given the nine domains very different meanings. Don and Russ Hudson have been teaching the Enneagram from a “nine domains” framework for many years, using them as a “checklist for completeness.” For example, in the mid-nineties, during a Part III Training, Don and Russ brainstormed with students the question “What would the qualities of a complete Enneagram teacher be?” By eliciting 10 or more qualities for each type, it became clear that a well-rounded Enneagram teacher would have to possess these qualities and that the various qualities would balance each other. It also became clear that if a teacher did not have many qualities in a particular “domain,” this would reflect on the teacher’s ability to be an effective and inspiring teacher. Over time, Don saw that the Enneagram could be used to enumerate the “necessary and sufficient” qualities of any whole, and that being explicit about the Nine Domains was the way to do this.

2. Are the Domains related to the Enneagram? In what way?

Yes, the Nine Domains are based on the Enneagram of personality, although in a very specific way. In brief, the Nine Domains operate at a higher level of abstraction than the behaviors found in the personality types. The Domains tell us what each type is really about, on a high level of conceptualization. For example, Twos may cook for others and feed them, be host to them and be thoughtfully concerned and generous about others’ needs. These qualities belong to type Two on the personality level of the Enneagram. However, the Second Domain is about nurturance, kindness, concern for the growth and support of others, service, and so forth. Any well-rounded group must have some degree of the Second Domain in order to survive and thrive even though there may be no one on the team who is a personality type Two.

3. How can the Domains be used beyond what we know about the personality types?

For many years, people have mixed using traits of the personality types with qualities of the Nine Domains. They have intuitively sensed the need to refer to a higher, more abstract general concept—more general than would be found in the behaviors of a type. For example, people would often say things such as “There is not enough Eightness in this group.” Or “This class is becoming too Sevenish.” This kind of statement had meaning and was pointing to imbalances in groups as well as the need for having a balance of the qualities that each type possesses. It was not clear, however, what the demarcations between the behaviors of a type were and the universal qualities of that type. For example, individuals can be “fair” or “unfair” in their given behavior. But the quality of “fairness” is the more abstract, universal concept that those particular behaviors are reflecting irrespective of personality type. To put this another way, “fairness” needs to be a part of the picture in relationships of all kinds, irrespective of type. Awareness of the Domains provides this.

4. Do I need to understand the Enneagram to be a Nine Domains Facilitator?

Yes. The Nine Domains are a development of the nine fundamental categories of human personality that are delineated by the Enneagram, and so an understanding of the fundamentals of the Enneagram is necessary. However, it is possible to get a great deal of benefit from the Nine Domains without going into details that are taught at the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Training Program. Much of that work is intended for insight and personal growth—which would be helpful in the business world, of course. There are many useful areas of information in the regular Enneagram Training program which would be relevant for using the Nine Domains in business and organizational settings.

5. Are individuals “typed” during this process or in some way singled out as being the problem person on a team?

No. The TOLATsm has specifically been designed to NOT type individuals or to stigmatize anyone as being the cause of problems. The team as a whole is the focus of these surveys, not individuals. Of course, it is often the case that one or two individuals may be the source of stress or negativity on a team, but the act of measuring the team as a whole and of putting “on the table” issues for discussion (mediated by an experienced Facilitator) can have extraordinary effects in mitigating or entirely changing the negative behavior of most individuals. Further, if there is a need to type individuals on the team (and there is consent from the individuals), the Facilitator can administer the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI, version 2.5). Knowing the personality types of team members, knowing the Level of Functioning of the team as a whole, and knowing the profile of the Domains can be an incredibly rich source of information both for the Facilitator and team members.

6. What makes the Nine Domains Approachsm different and useful?

Because the Nine Domains operate on a high level of abstraction, this does not make them difficult to understand. Just the reverse, by stepping aside from the confusion of particulars, the Nine Domains help us see a situation or a problem from a larger, broader, and more encompassing point of view. One of the main uses of the Nine Domains Approachsm is that it allows us to consider whether or not all of the main factors of a problem have been addressed in a potential solution. The phrase we have borrowed from philosophy to express this is that the Nine Domains provide the “necessary and sufficient” components of any whole system. In other words, in the search for a complete solution to any problem, everything that is necessary for a solution needs to be present. For example, the Nine Domains as categories are necessary for a solution to occur, and the Nine Domains are sufficient so that there are no missing categories or qualities. For real solutions to take root, all elements must be present and nothing essential can be missing. The Nine Domains provide an understandable and practical means of solving problems.

7. How do the Nine Domains improve employee and management productivity, communication, and retention?

There are several answers to this important question. The first is that communication, productivity, and retention cannot be significantly improved, especially in the long term, until both management and employees know where they are regarding their strengths and weaknesses. The TOLATsm is focused on discovering at which Level a team (or even an entire organization) is functioning. Until one knows not only the Level of Functioning but how well or ill each of the nine Domains are functioning, it is difficult to know exactly what needs “improving.” Furthermore, if there are several things requiring improving, the TOLATsm can become the basis for a comprehensive strategy for working on the whole situation. The TOLATsm provides trained Facilitators with precisely this kind of information in each of the Nine Domains so that management has a finely tuned way of measuring what needs improvement and in which order.

8. How long does it take to make a difference in a team or organization using the Nine Domains?

This depends on the size of the organization or team that is being worked with. Smaller teams (between 10 and 15 people) will most likely be able to show measurable change more quickly than larger ones. Another factor is which Domains need working on, and how many Domains are weak or imbalanced. In short, the worse the overall picture of a team, the longer it may take to work on the elements that need attention. However, we have found that the TOLATsm and the whole Nine Domains Approachsm helps raise the Level of Functioning of teams simply by “putting on the table” problems and issues that have not been talked about openly before. In short, this Program immediately increases productive communication, and that alone has a positive effect on teams, irrespective of their other issues or needs. Of course, all of this is dependent on the skill of the Facilitator and, second, the willingness of the team to actually embrace real change.

9. There are many different “performance improvement” programs available. How is the Nine Domains program different?

The Nine Domains Approachsm is different because it takes the whole range of human behavior into account. Other, longer-established improvement and satisfaction programs have their strengths and are helpful in various ways but may be limited in the long-term good that they can do. The reason for this is that their conceptual underpinning does not include many major expressions of human nature as does the Nine Domains Approachsm. Of several well-known engagement and satisfaction programs, it can be shown that they are “loaded” in certain Domains, while missing or almost entirely missing, several others. In short, their optic is flawed, and so distortions in their results occur. With the Nine Domains Approachsm, this is not the case: all of the fundamental needs of human nature are represented by the Nine Domains. Further, once Facilitators and team members become aware of the Nine Domains, it becomes clear very quickly if one or more Domains are dominating the culture of an organization. A dominant Domain may be due to the strong personality type of the Founder or the agenda of a new team of top managers. Another reason for a dominant Domain may be due to ever-changing insights and fashions in the HR world. The result is that there is often an extreme swing of management values and styles as one Domain after another becomes adopted as the all-encompassing solution to management problems. As we see, the Nine Domains gets away from limited approaches by holistically introducing an understanding of the full-range of human nature. We see at once what the root of problems are and how they can be dealt with. Fortunately previous management programs and insights do not have to be left behind: good ideas of all sorts can be mapped to the Nine Domains and retrieved when the time is right.

10. In what way are the Nine Domains Surveys different from others in the market?

Nine Domains Surveys are the first “trigger” for change in groups or organizations. The questions used in the survey start the developmental journey or group process. Team members often comment that responding to the 9D instruments is a cathartic and energizing experience in itself. Thus, the Nine Domains Approachsm when working with teams can be defined by three steps: first, the questions themselves are a powerful but often unconscious tool for opening the mind and emotions to change. Completing any of the 9D surveys “kick starts” the process for individuals. Second, the team and Facilitator review the results of 9D survey they are working with. This usually has a positive effect on the development of the group’s emotional and social intelligence. Third, specific proprietary Interventions and Practices are applied by the team (working with the Facilitator) to develop the team’s ability to work with their own dynamics and Level of Functioning.

11. What kind of professional background is ideal for being a Nine Domains Facilitator?

We do not deny access to the Nine Domains Facilitator Training to anyone assuming they have gone to the Part I of the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Training. They may wish to attend for their own personal enrichment and to gain a deeper understanding of the Levels (which are taught when using the Nine Domains horizontally across all nine types). The Domains themselves are also highly informative and useful for a wide range of intellectual and practical work. However, in terms of using the 9D Approachsm in businesses, we assume that a business participant is already at ease working with teams and with organizations. The 9D Approachsm, surveys, and materials will make their work easier and more potent, and this will be especially true for those who have had several years of experience working with groups. The Nine Domains Facilitator’s Training is not intended to train people to become business consultants, but to provide experienced business consultants with a hugely insightful, new tool for their work.

12. How do I find out more about the Nine Domains Approachsm?

There are several ways to find out more about this new program. First is to read about the Nine Domains on this website. There is a substantial amount of material about this new approach on this website which will help you understand not only what the Nine Domains are but how to use them. You will learn more by taking the TOLATsm questionnaire on this website; when you do so, you will receive two written reports which will provide you with more information about your Level of Functioning as well as a longer report about the Levels in more depth. Of course, the best way to learn about the Nine Domains Approachsm is to come to a Nine Domains Facilitator’s Training. In addition, if you need personal instruction and on-going guidance, you can arrange for a consultation with a Nine Domains. Facilitator, listed on this website at the “9D Facilitators” tab.

13. Once I am a trained 9D Facilitator, when can I start using the TOLATsm and the Nine Domains Approachsm? What if I need more help in teaching or interpreting the Nine Domains?

Once you have gone to the Nine Domains Facilitator’s Training, taught by members of the Nine Domains Group, you can start using the TOLATsm and other surveys and materials in your consulting and other work as soon as you feel ready to do so. There are no more requirements or accreditation courses (unless you become an Affiliate Teacher which does require further training). Your sense of your own mastery of the material will be your guide, as well as your ability to use the material in the workplace. After attending the Training, however, if you feel that you still need help to work with the TOLATsm, other surveys, or any.htmlect of the Nine Domains Approachsm, you can return to the Training as a “refresher” which would deepen and clarify your understanding. Taking the Training over can be done at a 25% off discount of the then-current price. Second, you can arrange for a telephone or Skype consultation with any of the Nine Domains Group teachers (Don Riso, Joyce Stenstrom, Monika Adelfang, Joni Peddie, and Barry Coltham; Russ Hudson is not available at this time). E-mail to set up a consultation or contact one of those listed above directly; you may find their e-mail addresses on the “9D Facilitators” tab on the “Contact” page on this website. There is a price per hour for this consultation depending on the nature of the consultation.

14. Why is the Riso-Hudson Part I Enneagram Training required for attendance at the Nine Domains Facilitator’s Training?

Part I of the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Training is, among other things, an in-depth exposure to the vertical Levels of Development within each personality type. The Levels of Development are a core concept which must be understood before individuals can effectively work with the elements of the Nine Domains Approachsm. In the Nine Domains Facilitator’s Training, we make use of what we call the Levels of Functioning to delineate the 5 central Levels (of Development) of a team’s or organization’s functioning. In the 9D Approachsm, we describe the behaviors found at each Level horizontally, across all nine types simultaneously. In other words, a person needs to understand what Level 4 is about across all nine types-and must be able to distinguish that from Level 5 across all nine types, and so forth. This can only be done with confidence by coming to a Part I of the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Training. (That being said, however, there can be exceptions for people who have had private, in-depth exposure to the RH Levels concepts outside the Training itself.)

15. When will other 9D surveys be coming out?

In the Facilitator’s Training, participants are trained primarily in the use of the TOLATsm. They learn what it is, how to administer and interpret it, as well as how to use the TOLATsm as the basis for practical interventions and intensive and transformative work with groups. There are currently three more 9D surveys which have already been written but which need more field testing before they can be released. The richness of the TOLATsm will allow Facilitators to give clients foundational information; future surveys will build on the TOLATsm and pinpoint other elements of team performance and sustainability that are part of the full picture. The three other Nine Domains Surveys will be briefly discussed at the Facilitator’s Training and taught in depth in future Trainings. For more about what they are and what they test for, see this website under the “9D Surveys” tab.

16. If the 9D surveys are available only in English, how do I get them translated into another language?

Please contact our office to get prior permission to translate any of the Nine Domains tests and materials into another language. We will need to enter into a formal, written Licensing Agreement for you to do so.

17. Can I become a 9D Facilitator for another country in a language other than English?

Yes, but to do so, you must first come to the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Training (Part I) to learn about the Levels and our orientation to the Enneagram itself. After that, you must attend a Nine Domains Facilitator’s Training (which is scheduled approximately three times in any given calendar year). It is highly recommended that you also be an experienced business consultant or someone who has worked with groups on a regular basis. Beyond the above requirements, you must be able to translate the required Nine Domains materials yourself at your own expense. You must also enter into a License Agreement with The Nine Domains Group LLC for permission to do a translation prior to making your translation. The Nine Domains Group LLC reserves the right to approve or deny permission to anyone to translate our materials or to teach them in a non-English speaking country. You will also have to come to the Nine Domains Facilitator’s Training several more times so that you acquire a mastery of the materials. Your readiness to become a 9D Facilitator in another country will be determined by the Nine Domains Group. We will also have to make an Agreement for royalty payments for your on-going use of our materials in your country.

18. Would managers benefit from attending a Nine Domains Training or is it only for HR Professionals?

Managers interested in working with the Level of Functioning of their team or organization will find the Nine Domains Approachsm a useful framework which provides insight into 1) behaviors and their interrelationships, and 2) how to work with healthy, average, or unhealthy team dynamics. In addition learning about the Nine Domains provides insights into broader leadership and management challenges. Distortions, absence, underuse or overuse of Domains provides insights into the sustainable or viable functions of complex systems. Managers will find that the Nine Domains Approachsm is a useful lens to make sense of the complex world of human nature and change. In particular, this Approach supports a coaching style of leadership.

19. Will Nine Domains Training only be offered in the United States?

In 2010 -2011, Training will take place at The Enneagram Institute training facility (The Barn) in Stone Ridge, New York. Over the next 2 to 3 years, the Nine Domains Group plans to expand offering Nine Domains Facilitator Training at other international sites. Details will be published on the Nine Domains website.

20. Can an Organization enroll as a whole to conduct 9D Facilitator Training?

It is possible for organizations to develop their own capability to facilitate and apply the Nine Domains Approachsm in-house. For more information, and to talk about an organization’s specific needs, contact the Nine Domains Group.

21. What “hallmarks” of success is the Nine Domains Approachsm attempting to achieve?

We could answer this by using the Nine Domains themselves as a guide. We are attempting to achieve fairness in the workplace (First Domain), as well as a sense of personal connection (Second Domain), opportunities for self-improvement (Third Domain), safety to be oneself—self-expression (Fourth Domain), knowledge development (Fifth Domain), the enjoyment of working with others on a team (Sixth Domain), sustainable and productive energy (Seventh), meaningful and attainable growth (Eighth Domain), and a sense of ease and balance among team members and other parts of the organization (Ninth Domain). If these hallmarks (and other related ones) are achieved, there will be employee satisfaction, retention, and increased productivity. The workplace will be one of joyous activity and deep personal satisfaction.

22. Concerning the TOLAT Validation

To date, the TOLAT has not been statistically validated. However, neither was the Enneagram for over 30 years–which did not prevent millions of people from deriving benefit from it.

What the TOLAT Does

The TOLAT has been designed to test two concepts that were discovered and articulated by Don Riso beginning in 2006. The two concepts are: the five distinct Levels of Functioning pertaining to group behavior and the Nine Domains of complex systems—including groups.

The combination of these two concepts have a high degree of conceptual unity as well as practical specificity. The Levels of Functioning and the Nine Domains are simple, sophisticated, and interrelated. Because of its unique construction, the TOLAT requires the interpretation of a skilled Facilitator. Of course, elements of this new approach are amenable to traditional validation methods but other parts will be difficult to validate. An analogy may help, while medications certainly can be tested objectively for effectiveness, safety, and other criteria, the skill of a physician is far less easy to test. Real effective healing of a disease requires both the correct medications and a skilled physician for a good outcome to occur. In a similar way, the Nine Domains Approach requires both solid test construction and skillful use of complex information by the trained Nine Domains Facilitator.

Thus, in summary, the TOLAT is a tool that helps a team—with the guidance of a trained
Facilitator—understand their unique pattern of functioning. In addition to the pattern of
functioning, the TOLAT helps to discern the overall Level of Functioning.

Psychometrics and Strong Face Validity

To date, the TOLAT has shown strong face validity in hundreds of takes of the test and in scores of teams
in many different countries and cultures. During the development of this test, the focus has been on
creating a practical, multi-dimensional tool that produces a workable amount of actionable information
from just 45 statements.

Standard psychometric methods have been taken into account in the development of this tool. These include
survey statement construction, the selection of a 5–point Likert Frequency Scale, standard methods of
analysis, and a new method of presenting descriptive summary statistics that is both easy to understand
and richly informative.

While comprehensive statistical validation studies have not yet been conducted, the TOLAT has matured to
a stage where it can be subjected to statistical validation and reliability tests where appropriate.
Barry Coltham, of the Nine Domains Group, is working on a PhD at Cape Town University that is focused on
.htmlects of TOLAT validation. We are interested in hearing ideas about academic proposals to test
elements of this instrument and we encourage creative thinking in this direction.

It should not be forgotten that the TOLAT is based on the Enneagram which has been subjected to several
validation studies and interested people should read these studies on the Enneagram Institute website.

Who is the TOLAT for?

The TOLAT has been designed to be used by experienced business consultants who already have long-term
trusting relationships with clients. In this context, consultants are encouraged to administer the TOLAT
to a small group (10 to 20 people) to see what group dynamics it would uncover in that team team. In
effect, the TOLAT is meant to prove its efficacy in the field before scaling it up to larger groups.

The Nine Domains Group is moving ahead to give the best possible instruction to Facilitators in the use
of the TOLAT and our three other related surveys. We believe that the practical results that people
experience on teams in the field will be, by far, the most meaningful indicator of the validity of the
TOLAT and Nine Domains Approach.

Feel free to print the Nine Domains FAQs and share them with friends,

coworkers, or any team you are working with. 9D FAQs