about the enneagram
The Enneagram is a psychological model used for increased self-knowledge, personal growth and deeper understanding of others and is widely used in Board of Directors and Management Teams in Fortune-500 companies. The Enneagram has a global spread with centers for trainings and implementations in countries such as USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Holland, Denmark, Israel, South-Africa, Taiwan, Japan and in many countries in South-America. Areas of application are; development of communication, leadership, teams, sales coaching, emotional intelligence, coaching, decision making, negotiations and conflict management.
Ennea is Greek and means nine
The model differentiates 9 fundamental types, sometimes called 'strategies', each having its own 'hidden' inner core drivers (both constructive as well as destructive) leading to specific external behavioral patterns. Most of these behavioral patterns are done in unaware mode and are like blind spots or dead angles in traffic. These patterns can either work for or against you. The challenge is to control these patterns, rather than having them steer you in unaware mode. The Enneagram sheds light on these blind spots and your auto-pilot behavior and lets you understand why we think, feel and do the way we do and it also gives you the tools and awareness to change and become a more balanced person. The goal is to 'free' yourself from the limitations a certain type brings and to be able to draw upon the strengths of all 9 types, becoming a more balanced person and able to better live in harmony with yourself and others.
a dynamic model
The Enneagram is not a model meant to put you in a box but just the opposite: a starting point from where you can grow, deepen your understanding of yourself and others. You "are" not your type, you just unaware use your type as a fall back plan, limiting your way of thinking and doing. By using the model's dynamics, you can set yourself free from limitations and start "weakening" your type and become a more hole person by incorporating the best of the other types.
The 3 intelligence centers
The Enneagram is divided in 3 distinctive intelligence centers: Mental (Head), Emotional (Heart) and Instinctive (Stomach/Gut). Each of us have access to all these 3 intelligence centers, yet one of these is pre-dominant and our most active center, which means we (over-) use that center foremost. Therefore, we sometimes speak about "Head types", "Heart types" and "Stomach types". Each center holds 3 of the Enneagram types. The Challenger, Mediator and the Reformer are so called gut types. The Helper, Performer and the Individualist are the Heart types. The Analyst, Loyalist and the Enthusiast are the Head types.
9 fundamental types, 27 sub types
Each of the 9 fundamental types has 3 sub types, making the total Enneagram sub-types 27. All sub types in a fundamental type, share the same core inner drivers (destructive and constructive ones), yet act these out in different ways. One of the sub types of a fundamental type seemingly moves against its own inner core drivers, therefore called a "counter type". Counter types are often perceived by others as entirely different compared to how these people feel on the inside. 'Being' a counter-type can be an eye opener for yourself as well as your surroundings as it explains possible contradictions with inner intentions and behavior perceived by others.
In The Enneagram, each type is connected with 2 other types via arrows (the grey ones). These arrows represent a stress point and a point (direction) for personal development. A stress point is where you "end up" if you are imbalanced or under pressure over a longer period of time. If you are "in your stress point", you are acting out parts of a behavioral pattern from another type, which again could lead to others perceiving you differently than you really are. The arrow "away" from a type, leads to that type's stress point. Your direction for development is the point in The Enneagram where you incorporate traits and behavior that is part of your way of personal growth. The arrow "towards a type" is that type's direction for personal development. Hereby The Enneagram literally points out to you what each type should focus on for long term personal growth.
Each type within The Enneagram has 2 "neighbours", also called the wings (the red arrows as example), meaning that a type can be influenced or sometimes look like 2 neighbouring types. Some people strongly feel their wings, some don't and some only feel 1 wing. This also can vary over time and different phases in your life.
The Enneagram has been validated and the model and personality indicators are constantly being verified, updated and fine-tuned.
Two renowned institutions that are validating the Enneagram are: The Enneagram Institute, USA and The Halin Prémont Enneagram Institute, Belgium. Both institutions conduct scientific research into the Enneagram and perform mathematical validation of the online personality indicators. Their websites are http://www.enneagram.be/en and https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/.
Below are some very useful resources on The Enneagram I can strongly recommend:
Books and articles
- Article in the Journal of Adulthood: "Advancing Ego Development in Adulthood Through Study of the Enneagram System of Personality" (2018), David Daniels and 4 others.
- (Swedish) Självinsikt, nyckeln till att utveckla dig själv och andra (2016), Tina Tornell & Ann Timm
- The 9 types of leadership. Mastering the art of people in the 21st century workplace (2017), Chestnut Ph.D.
- What type of leader are you? (2007), Ginger Lapid-Bogda, PhD
- The Wisdom of the Enneagram (1999), Don Riso & Russ Hudson