The Nine Enneagram Types

Worldview and Motivation - What the Enneagram looks at:

The Enneagram brings the way we view the world into sharp, clear focus. Our particular worldview impacts the unique way each of us brings our own thoughts, feelings and motivations to any situation. The Enneagram is like the perceptual glasses that we wear. It is also about our patterns of thinking and the places where we “hang out” more – our patterns of belief and our inner motivations.

The Enneagram provides a clear map for us to see who we are, how we fit into the scheme of things and how we interact with others. This is a model, which goes beyond the superficial aspects of behaviour and delves into the underlying motivation that gives us a look at “why” people do what they do.

How it is used:

It is important that each of us self-identify our Enneagram type. People can mistype themselves especially if they rely solely on information taken from a book or other form of text. The best way to learn this model is by listening to stories from people who know their type in a workshop setting. While this may not be the easiest model to identify our individual type, it is the model that has had the greatest impact on my personal development. It is fluid and dynamic and because it is linked to core motivation explains a great deal and puts things into a framework that helps to eliminate judgment and blame. Behaviour is both understood and appreciated.

Originally these teachings were used for spiritual growth and personal transformation. Because the Enneagram is so complete it has found its way into mainstream use in educational, therapy and business applications

About the model:

The Enneagram consists of a circle and nine lines and is therefore named ennea for nine and gramma for model. It is a dynamic model of both process and transformation.

There are three types in each of three triads: head heart and gut. Within each triad there is an assertive type, an accommodating type and a withdrawing type. While these two distinctions provide a lot of information, there are deeper levels of refinement that those who respond to this model can use to continue their learning and application of emerging insights.

The Nine Types: Worldview, Motivation and Focus of Attention

N.B. While I have included names for each type, the name may distract from the essence of the whole and therefore I use the type number. Each major Enneagram theorist uses different names with some more accurately reflective of the type.

One -- The Idealist
There is a right way. Let me show you.

Toward: Getting things right. Improving self and others
Away from: Making a mistake
Focus of attention: What’s right or wrong? Inner standards of perfection

Two -- The Supporter
Relationships are most important. I support others. If those I love are happy so am I.

Toward: Being appreciated feeling important to others.
Away from: Being seen as needy.
Focus of attention: What others want. How to gain their approval?

Three -- The Achiever
The world likes winners. My worth depends on what I do.

Toward: Being and appearing successful. Working hard. Leading. Winning.
Away from: Failure.
Focus of attention: Tasks, goals, recognition.

Four – The Individualist
Feelings and being authentic are most important.

Toward: Being unique and special finding the meaning of life.
Away from: Being ordinary.
Focus of attention: The past, the future, the absent, the hard to get. On what is missing

Five -- The Thinker
The mind and thinking are the highest values. I can only rely on myself.

Toward: Knowing, understanding, being self-sufficient.
Away from: Not having the answer or looking foolish.
Focus of attention: Thinking. Disengage from feeling in order to observe.

Six -- The Questioner
There may be hazards that lurk behind everyday appearances.

Toward: To be certain.
Away from: Avoid doubt by seeking approval, questioning or confronting.
Focus of attention: contradictory evidence, inner questioning, hidden intentions.

Seven -- The Enthusiast
Life is a banquet. Explore it all.

Toward: Be happy, plan fun things, contribute to the world.
Away from: Pain and suffering.
Focus of attention: Best case possibilities, pleasant plans, options.

Eight -- The Leader
You have to be strong to survive.

Toward: self-sufficient and strong making an impact on the world.
Away from: Being weak, vulnerable, at the mercy of others.
Focus of attention: Power and control. All or nothing.

Nine -- The Mediator
Everything will work out. Every point of view has value.

Toward: Keeping the peace, and merging with others.
Away from: Conflict.
Focus of attention: Other people’s position or point of view.

Take a mini-quiz to get an idea of what your type might be.

See also: Other Assessments.