What is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram (any-a-gram) is a powerful personality system that helps individuals to understand themselves better and bring insight into their professional and personal interactions. By learning and using the Enneagram system, they gain an appreciation of the fundamental motivation behind behaviour, both their own and the behaviour of those close to them.

With understanding comes the power to work through difficult and even apparently impossible situations. The result is improved and healthier relationships in all areas of life; at work, within the family and in their most personal relationship.
Divided into nine basic personality types, the Enneagram describes the unique ways that people think, feel and act to make sense of their world. It’s a system that offers a guide to:

  • Overcoming challenges
  • Understanding and realizing unique gifts and strengths
  • Discovering our deepest purpose in life
  • Understanding what motivates others

Please take a few minutes out to watch this video introducing the Enneagram Personality System. I provide a brief background, what it can teach us about interpersonal communication and how to find out more.

Please click here to access the most recent Enneagram in Business Benchmark Report.

What Makes the Enneagram System Different?

Unlike many of the other personality typographies, the Enneagram does not focus on behaviour but instead on what motivates an individual from the inside out. Different people may exhibit very similar behaviour patterns however it is the motivation behind the behaviour that is the key to understanding.

While its origins date back to 2500 BC, over the last 30 years the Enneagram has been brought into the main stream by psychiatrists, business leaders and teachers. Today it is taught in universities, private schools and studied by businesses all over the world. Top Fortune 500 companies consult experts in the field.

The name, Enneagram, comes from the Greek word for nine “ ennea “ and “grammos” for diagram. The nine-pointed diagram below represents the Enneagram symbol.

Basic Description of the Nine Personality Types

  1. REFORMER: Principled, purposeful, self-controlled & perfectionistic. I feel my best when I have accomplished a project or task and it meets my standards.
  2. HELPER: Generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing & possessive.  I feel my best when I am helping others and being acknowledged and appreciated for my support.
  3. ACHIEVER: Adaptable, excelling, driven and image-conscious.  I feel my best when accomplishing goals and being acknowledged for my accomplishments
  4. CONNOISSEUR: Expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed & temperamental.  I feel my best when others appreciate my creativity and uniqueness and make me feel special.
  5. INVESTIGATOR: Perceptive, innovative, secretive & isolated.  I feel my best when I am privately researching or working on something that I am highly interested in.
  6. LOYALIST: Engaging, responsible, anxious & suspicious. I feel my best when I am in a group where I feel appreciated and secure or when I’m proving I can stand on my own.
  7. ENTHUSIAST: Spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive & scattered.  I feel my best when I am doing something that gives me a lot of stimulation and enjoyment.
  8. CHALLENGER: Self-confident, decisive, willful & confrontational.  I feel my best when I am meeting challenges; being courageous and feeling I am in control.
  9. PEACEMAKER: Receptive, reassuring, agreeable & complacent.  I feel my best when everything is going smoothly and there are no problems.

Copyright: 2001. The Enneagram Institute

To learn more or to register for an upcoming Enneagram Workshop, please click here.