The Enneagram is one of the newest personality systems in use and emphasizes psychological motivation - everyone has a bias of attention that narrows their focus so they experience only an immediate slice of reality and thus often react to different “triggers” than others.

Does the phrase "hidden agenda" ring a bell?

The modern version of Enneagram personality types is credited to Bolivian-born Oscar Ichazo. Proponents believe it provides a framework that allows you to clearly observe your hidden motivations, restrictive beliefs and habits of mind. Through it, you discover your natural gifts, your challenge areas and your own unique path of development.

Proponents further believe the Enneagram differs from other assessment tools by going beyond surface level behaviors to underlying motivations, emotional drivers and limiting core beliefs. Additionally, they believe you can “climb out of your box” to a larger reality, a path to a richer experience of the world.

What are the Enneagram
Personality Types?

Wikipedia describes the nine different personalities as follows:

One: Reformer, Critic, Perfectionist. “I do everything the right way”. This type focuses on integrity. Ones can be wise, discerning and inspiring in their quest for the truth. They tend to dissociate themselves from their flaws, perceived or actual, and can be hypocritical and hyper-critical of others. The Ones greatest fear is to be flawed and their ultimate goal is perfection. Their “deadly sin” is anger and their “holy idea” is Holy Perfection. Famous Ones: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, Confucius, and Ayn Rand.

Two: Helper, Give, Caretaker. “I must help others”. Twos are compassionate, thoughtful and astonishingly generous, but can also be prone to passive-aggressive behavior, clinginess and manipulation. Twos want to be loved and needed and fear being unworthy of love. Their “deadly sin” is pride and their “holy idea” is Holy Will. Famous Twos: Princess Diana.

Three: Achiever, Performer, Succeeder. “I need to succeed”. Threes are highly adaptable and changeable. Some are confident and authentic, others wear a series of “public masks”, acting however they think they should to gain them approval. Threes are motivated by the need to succeed and be seen as successful. Their “deadly sin” is deceit and their “holy idea” is Holy Law. Famous Threes: Jimmy Carter, Paul McCartney and Tom Cruise.

Four: Romantic, Individualistic, Artist. “I am unique”. Driven by a desire to understand themselves and find their place in the world, Fours fear they have little identity or personal significance. They embrace individualism, are profoundly creative and intuitive. But they can withdraw into themselves in a search for something that’s not there, leading to depression. Their “deadly sin” is envy and their “holy idea” is Holy Origin. Famous Fours: Peter Tchaikovsky, Wynona Ryder and Dennis Rodman.

Five: Observer, Thinker, Investigator. “I need to understand the work”. Fives are motivated by the desire to factually understand the world around them. They believe they’re only worth what they can contribute so withdraw and watch, speaking only when they have something they believe is earth-shaking to say – and sometimes they do. Some Fives become hermits and fend off social contact with abrasive cynicism. They fear incompetency, wanting to be capable and knowledgeable above all else. Their “deadly sin” is avarice and their “holy idea” is Holy Omniscience. Famous Fives: Calvin Coolidge, Ludwig van Beethoven, Harry Houdini, Steven Hawking, Sigmund Freud, Dan Marino and Larry Byrd.

Six: Loyalist, Devil’s Advocate, Defender. “I am affectionate and skeptical”. Sixes long for stability above all. They are unwaveringly loyal and responsible, but if betrayed, are slow to trust again. They are prone to anxiety and their greatest fear is to lack support and guidance. Their “deadly sin” is cowardice and their “holy idea” is Holy Faith and Strength. Famous Sixes: Ulysses Grant, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, Adolf Hitler, Mel Gibson and Bill Gates.

Seven: Enthusiast, Adventurer, Materialist, Epicure. “I am happy and open to new things”. Sevens tend to flit from one activity to another energetically and enthusiastically. They embrace life for its varied joys and wonders, truly living in the moment. At their worst, they dash frantically from one new experience to another, too afraid of disappointment to enjoy themselves. They fear being unable to provide for themselves or to experience life to the fullest. Their “deadly sin” is gluttony and their “holy idea” is Holy Wisdom. Famous Sevens: Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Mozart, Conan O’Brien and Warren Buffet.

Eight: Leader, Protector, Challenger. “I must be strong”. Eights are motivated by justice and the desire to be right. They worry about self-protection and control. They are natural leaders, who can be either capable and passionate or dictatorial, manipulative, ruthless and willing to destroy anything that gets in their way. Eights want control over their own lives and destinies and fear being harmed or controlled by others. Their “deadly sin” is lust and their “holy idea is Holy Truth. Famous Eights: Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, George W. Bush, Josef Stalin, Pablo Picasso, Carl Sagan and Muhammad Ali.

Nine: Mediator, Peacemaker, Preservationist. “I am at peace”. Nines are ruled by their empathy. At their best, they are perceptive, receptive, gentle, calming and at peace with the world. But they prefer to dissociate from conflicts, going along with others’ wishes or just withdrawing. They fear conflict caused by their ability to simultaneously understanding opposing points of view and seek peace of mind above all. Their corresponding “deadly sin” is sloth and their “holy idea” is Holy Love. Famous Nines: Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Martin, Albert Einstein, Carl Jung and Tiger Woods.

What is the Enneagram Used For?

It is mainly a diagnostic tool of one’s emotional outlook on life. It has become particularly popular within the self-help and personal growth movements, but is starting to see use by therapists, teachers, managers and other business people. The Enneagram has been taught in the Stanford Business School, in management training programs in Fortune 500 companies and in executive development programs in the Silicon Valley.

Is There an Enneagram Assessment Instrument?

“The Essential Enneagram” by David Daniels is considered today’s authority on the Enneagram so I would refer you to his book to learn more. Or “Google” the word to find a number of assessments available.