The Enneagram is a model of personality which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. The exact history of the model is unknown. However, it is known that contemporary Enneagram theories arise from the work of Oscar Ichazo in the 1950’s and Claudio Naranjo in the 1970’s.
The Enneagram model refers to nine different types of personality styles that describe patterns in how we conceptualize the world, manage our emotions, how we respond to both stressful and supportive situations and how we can self-develop.
The basis of the Enneagram is a nine-pointed geometric symbol. On the outer circle are nine points, which represent the nine personalities types. This outer circle represents the wholeness and unity of human life, and the shapes the connect it represent how it is divided. The nine enneagram types are:
- Type ones are principled, purposeful and self-controlled. They strive for perfection and have the belief that everything must be in order.
- Type twos are caring, generous and people-pleasing. They seek to be liked by others and find great satisfaction in helping others and feeling like they belong.
- Type threes are driven and success-oriented. They have a desire to achieve great things and want to be admired by others for their success.
- Type fours are sensitive, expressive and temperamental. They believe that they are different from other people and as a result, they long for a deep connection that will make them feel whole and accepted.
- Type fives are perceptive, innovative and independent. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and as a result, they can become detached, yet high-strung and intense.
- Type sixes are engaging, responsible and committed. They are profusely preoccupied with security and often scan their immediate environment for danger.
- Type sevens are fun-loving, spontaneous and versatile. They enjoy new experiences and tend to see the world in terms of all the exciting things it has to offer.
- Type eights are powerful, dominating and self-confident. They see themselves as strong, powerful and able to protect others. However, they can come across as intimidating to others.
- Type nines are receptive, agreeable and easygoing. They strive for peace and harmony and, as a result, are often very accepting of others around them.
Each of the nine core types have ‘wings’, which are the types on either side of them. These wings represent the related personality styles which we can transition into. Many of us will find that we relate strongly with the description of one or both of our wings, in addition to the primary type. This can help us to understand ourselves better and aid self-reflection and growth.
Is the Enneagram any good?
Like all personality assessments, the Enneagram test has both strengths and weaknesses. Some small scientific studies have found support for the Enneagram model and its application. However, the model does lack scientific exploration; yet, this has been put down to a biases in the field.
However, what has been noted time and time again, is that the Enneagram model is an excellent tool for self-reflection, self-exploration and self-development, making it an excellent personal, spiritual and business tool.
Taking the Enneagram Test
The Enneagram personality assessment is comprised 105 questions and takes around 10 minutes to complete. The assessment is pretty straightforward and the instructions are clear and concise. You are asked to mark how accurately each statement describes your personality, from ‘inaccurate’ to ‘accurate’. Statements include things such as “I am an unusual sort of person“, “it is important for me to be prepared for any emergency” or “I set ambitious goals for myself“.
After taking the test, you get your results. You will learn which Enneagram type you share the most interests with, and how you match with the other Enneagram types. On the free test version you will also explore your ‘personality superpowers’, where you will touch on what your biggest assets are.
If you upgrade, you will explore your Enneagram type in more detail. The upgraded version covers areas such as: your challenges, core weaknesses, core beliefs, core desires and core strengths. You also look at how you may behave in relationships, childhood factors influence your behaviour and what kinds of emotions you may be more prone to feeling. The upgraded report also covers how you behave when you’re stressed, when you’re doing ‘averagely’ and when you’re thriving!
The upgraded report will also takes a brief look at how you may perform at work, mostly focusing on what you might specifically need in the workplace. Finally, you will also look at areas for self-development, all based on your Enneagram type.