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What is the Enneagram and how do I use it to grow as a leader?

The Enneagram is a scientifically validated framework that gives you insight into human nature. It has a rich and ancient history and has been modernised into a Personality Model that groups human functioning into 9 types. You’ll see the Enneagram represented as a colourful circle of numbers (types) connected by lines.


Each type represents a perspective that resonates with a way people think, feel and act in relation to the world, their teams and themselves. I’ll take you through the 9 types at the end of this article. You have the ability to use all the perspectives. However, Enneagram theorists believe that you defer to one way more than others. We call this your core type, and discovering it gives you insight into what you are most motivated by. Enneagram assessments like the iEQ9 from Integrative Enneagram Solutions offer you a profile in a report that shows how much access you have to each of these 9 ways of being, and which one is your core type. Once you have learnt all about your core type, which is a fascinating experience, you can then find ways to access and express all the other types better so that you become a more rounded and effective leader. This developmental process is called Integration in the Enneagram field. An Accredited Enneagram Practitioner will help you devise leadership goals, and a developmental plan to achieve those goals using the Enneagram.


The Enneagram offers us terminology drawn mostly from Psychodynamic Theory. There are a lot of areas in your functioning that this terminology gives you access to for your development; some of the terms you will get used to over time are


worldview, motivation, idealised self-image, focus of attention, fixation, vulnerability, vice, blind spot, defence mechanism, trigger, values, and some terms particular to the Enneagram: line, wing, instincts, subtype (a whole other level of your type), harmonics and hornevian, stretch and release points, virtue and holy idea.

Remember, you embody all the types, and the goal is to express them and their strengths fully. The types are:

  • Type 1 The strict perfectionist who is motivated by doing the right thing

  • Type 2 The Considerate Helper is motivated by being liked and appreciated

  • Type 3 The Competitive Achiever who is motivated by outshining the rest

  • Type 4 The Intense Creative who is motivated by being unique and authentic

  • Type 5 The Quiet Specialist who is motivated by needing to understand

  • Type 6 The Loyal Sceptic who is motivated by being safe and belonging

  • Type 7 The Enthusiastic Visionary who is motivated by having it all and avoiding pain

  • Type 8 The Active Controller who is motivated by being in control and being strong

  • Type 9 The Adaptive Peacemaker who is motivated by keeping the balance

If you want to learn more about the Enneagram, get in touch. As an accredited Enneagram Practitioner and Leadership Coach, I can facilitate your assessment, debrief you on your report, plan your development goals with you and walk your coaching journey with you. I do ask that you use the iEQ9 because it is the most accurate Typing tool out there and their report is the most comprehensive and useful.

There are so many layers to the Enneagram; what would you like for me to cover next?