The Enneagram

About the Enneagram

The Enneagram is a personality modeling system that is a highly accurate predictor of behavior because it focuses not just on what you do but on why you do it. It’s an insightful tool to build self-awareness and self-mastery; these qualities in turn enhance the way you lead, communicate, and relate to others at work and at home.

The word “enneagram” comes from the Greek words ennea (“nine”) and gram (“something written or drawn”) and refers to the nine points on the Enneagram symbol. The symbol dates back many centuries, but the application of the Enneagram in modern psychology started in the 1960s and then in business only in the 1990s. The nine different Enneagram types reflect distinct habits of thinking, feeling and behavior. Rather than just showing you where you are, the Enneagram offers a unique path of development for each type, allowing you to break through to new levels of performance and fulfillment. Each of us has only one point or type, although all the types live inside us. We have easiest access to four other types; these are called wings and arrows.

To understand more about the 9 types and begin the process of understanding your Enneagram type, click here and read about each type and start to rule out ones that don’t fit and build a list of those that might fit you and begin to rank them in order of most likely to least. Your Enneagram type does not change with age. As you think of what description fits you, reflect on the person you were at your early childhood, adolescence and young adulthood to track themes. Know that particularly stressful periods in your life are often not the best indicator of your type. Don’t let others type you and don’t rely on on-line tests as they are 60-70% reliable.


Leadership and Personal Applications

The Enneagram helps you understand the prime motive for your best and worst behaviors so you can make more conscious choices. The system also allows you to appreciate the motivations behind other personality types. As your understanding of your personality structure increases, you are free to interrupt old, unconscious habits and limiting aspects of your personality. You can break through to new levels of leadership and relationship effectiveness and well-being.

Team Applications

The Enneagram is a powerful system that helps teams effectively problem-solve, innovate, and align. It helps leaders learn how to communicate and make decisions collaboratively because team members stop resisting different thinking styles and instead access the unique insights and contributions of each member of the team. A deeper understanding of each other’s motivations increases trust and connection among even the most diverse group of individuals. The system also facilitates productive conflict that leads to increased team member commitment and accountability.


As the CEO of a small but fast-growing company, I’m spending more and more of my time
focused on how people are feeling and how we’re interacting with one another. When strong feelings can’t be acknowledged, they fester and get acted out, often in passive and aggressive ways. Over time, they drain energy, individually and organizationally.

With all that in mind, we decided to focus a recent company off-site on giving our people an
opportunity simply to talk openly about themselves. The goal was to improve communication, decrease misunderstanding and free up positive energy.

To facilitate this discussion, we used a tool called the Enneagram-a personality typing system
akin to the Myers-Briggs, but for my money, much richer, more penetrating and more practically useful.

– Tony Schwartz, Author, Leadership Expert and CEO of the Energy Project

YPO Forum Applications

Take your forum experience to a new depth as members learn more about their deeper motivators and understand how best to challenge and support one another. Following a forum retreat using the Enneagram, forum members who apply the Enneagram are more effective at receiving and giving feedback. Monthly meetings come to life as members dive under issues by using the Enneagram to identify root causes of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors; they can use the Enneagram to plot a course to higher levels of development and self-mastery.

The Classic Enneagram test will help you determine your Enneagram type. Note: this test is accurate about 60-70% of the time. It is one step you can take to begin being more self-observant and self-reflective about your Enneagram type. Working with a trained Enneagram coach will help you determine your type.

To take this test, click the button below. Then, click the “Enneagram test” button under the “Classical Enneagram test” section at the top of the page.