What is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram (pronounced “any-a-gram”) is a personality system with roots in ancient Middle Eastern spiritual traditions. "Ennea” is the Greek word for nine, and “gram” means drawing or graph.
Many people first come to learn about other personality systems like Myers-Briggs, Strengths Finder or the Big Five. Each of these personality systems are modeling a different of our complex, multidimensional human selves.
In short, Myers-Briggs primarily models how you process information and make decisions, Strengths Finder and Big Five identify your strong and weak traits and the Enneagram models the core fears and desires of your personality structure, identifying why you are the way you are at a very deep and insightful level.
The core structure of the Enneagram is a system of 9 different personality types, each of which possess a distinctly different way of interacting with the world.
The modern Enneagram’s origins stem from Oscar Ichazo's Arica mystery school in South America in the 1970’s. Then a number of his senior students and their followers decided to disseminate the teachings more widely in the decades that followed.
The Enneagram has continued to evolve by the work of many great scholar-practitioners in the years since and has become by some measures the world’s new most popular personality typing system. Its popularity can be attributed to its potent descriptions and prescriptions for how people work — often likened to discovering a hidden self-manual — that unlocks untold self-discovery, personal transformation and relational mastery.
What is your Enneagram type? Take our free Enneagram test!
The 9 Enneagram Types are divided into 3 Centers of Intelligence: Head, Heart and Body. Each center has 3 Types and represents a different way of expressing the energy of that center of intelligence.
Heart types depend on their emotional intelligence to understand their own reactions and connect with others.
Head types depend on their intellectual intelligence to make sense of things and navigate the world around them.
Body types depend on their instinctual intelligence to follow their "gut" and respond to threats and opportunities.
Heart Types of the Enneagram
The three types in the Heart Center are 2, 3 and 4. These types lead with their emotions and much of their personality focus, attention and unconscious strategy is on human relationships. They value things such as emotional support, recognition, and inclusion.
Fours are a deep, intuitive, self-aware person who strives to be unique and individualistic. Your passionate nature, incredible sensitivity, vision and emotional intelligence affords you the ability to see things in an entirely original way which is inspiring to others.
Read more about Fours
Head Types of the Enneagram
The three types in the Head Center are 5, 6 and 7. These types lead with a mental relationship to the world. They connect with other people on an intellectual level, and make sense of the world by understanding the systems and theories that underlie what they observe.
Fives are a perceptive, observant and analytical person who strives to be wise and knowledgeable. You are an original, strategic thinker that can easily master complex concepts and solve difficult problems. You value self-sufficiency and privacy and may be reclusive and secretive to protect yourself from intrusions by others or the demands of the world.
Read more about Fives
Sixes are a conscientious, loyal, and dependable person who strives for certainty and security in a world that can be unsafe and unpredictable. You are cautious and have a knack for knowing who can be trusted. You seek reliable authorities, trusted friends, credible systems of reference, and valued traditions.
Read more about Sixes
Sevens are an upbeat, spontaneous, and energetic person that strives for stimulation by focusing on what is new, novel and exciting. You are eternally optimistic about life’s possibilities. Your creative problem solving skills can make you a grand visionary, breakthrough inventor and inspiring leader.
Read more about Sevens
Body Types of the Enneagram
The three types in the Body center are 8, 9 and 1. These types lead with an instinctive relationship to the world. They make sense of the world by tuning into their body’s instinctive reactions. The primary drive for this triad is to maintain their independence and limit control from outside influences.
Eights are a powerful, decisive, and action-oriented person who strives to overcome adversity by righting wrongs and seeking competitive advantage. You can be a charismatic and compassionate leader that champions others by fighting injustice and protecting the weak, downtrodden and underrepresented.
Read more about Eights
Nines are an easy-going, kind, and accepting person who strives to be in harmony by accommodating and supporting what is essential to others. Your gift for seeing many sides of an issue enables you to mediate differences and bring peace to people around you.
Read more about Nines
There are 9 different Enneagram Types and 45 different Relational Combinations of those types. We’ve created detailed relationship profiles that describe the unique dynamics that arise between each personality types in relationship, (e.g. between a Man Enneagram Type 1 and a Woman Enneagram Type 4).
One of the most powerful ways to use the Enneagram is in relationship. Most people run a default program of expecting the other person to be and act like them. Much of our interpersonal conflict is a result of assuming people will be like us. to see deeply within our own character structure and assist us in developing healthy relationships with our partner, family members, friends, clients and co-workers. We encourage people as an exercise to read the profile out loud with someone close in their life.