The Enneagram of 9 Personalities. Types and Centers.

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The Enneagram of 9 Personalities. Types and Centers.
Francielle Nunes, Entrepreneur, Brazil

The Enneagram is a very old symbol which has been introduced to the Western society by Gurdjief (1866 – 1949) and graduately developed to a coaching tool. In full it is called: Enneagram of Personalities. It is based on the psychology of Freud, Rogers and Maslov and has been improved by many auteurs like Naranjo, Almaas, Riso and Hudson.
Questionnaires like the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) help to understand what enneagram personality type describes you best.

The Enneagram distinguishes types of personalities. Some aspects of each personality type can be found inside each of us; however there is one dominant type each of us has since birth. If you have a particular dominant type and stretch it, you will show aspects of 2 other types. For example: If a Helper is in stress, he or she will show negative aspects of the Challenger. And when the Helper is relaxed, he will show positive aspects of the Individualist.

Let’s understand each of the 9 personality types:
  1. The REFORMER: purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.
  2. The HELPER: generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.
  3. The ACHIEVER: adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.
  4. The INDIVIDUALIST: expressive, dramatic, sagacious, and self-absorbed.
  5. The INVESTIGATOR: perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.
  6. The LOYALIST: engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.
  7. The ENTHUSIAST: spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.
  8. The CHALLENGER: self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.
  9. The PEACEMAKER: receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.

The Enneagram is also divided by three Centers: the Instinctive, Feeling and Thinking center. Each center highlights a type of emotion, which characterizes a loss of the contact with the core of the self.

The Instinctive Center is characterized by anger or rage, and covers type 1,9 and 8:
1. Types one try repressing or controlling their anger and instinctual energies. They have a highly developed inner critic.
9. Types nine deny their anger and instinctual energies. They idealize their world and relationships as an escape of their dark sides.
8. Types eight have no problem to express their anger and instinctual energies. Often they do this in a physical way, like raising their voices or moving more forcefully.

The Feeling Center is characterized by shame and covers type 2,3 and 4:
2. Types two try to be liked by others to control their feelings of shame. They pursue themselves that they are loving people and repress their negative feelings.
3. Types three avoid feelings of shame and fears of failure. They try to be accepted by performing well and becoming successful.
4. Types four use their shame by focusing on their personal interests, unique talents and feelings and by fantasying a great romantic life.

The Thinking Center is characterized by fear and covers type 5,6 and 7:
5. Types five are afraid of the outer world and their capability to deal with it. They become isolated loners trying to understand the world by gathering knowledge and trusting their own minds.
6. Types six experience the most fear among the Personalities of this Center by showing anxious and doubtful behavior. They do not trust their own minds, so to make them feel sure they constantly seek comfort outside themselves in relations, jobs, beliefs, authorities.
7. Types seven try to deny their feelings of pain or loss by distracting themselves with many activities and entertainments. They keep their mind filled up with possibilities and options in order to escape from their fears.

Source: The 9 types of Personalities, The Enneagram Institute.

The Enneagram is a Great Coaching Tool
Marl van der Toorn, Manager, Netherlands
Thank you for your contribution. For over 20 years I am using The Enneagram as one of my favorite tools to coach individuals and teams on all levels. It is important to understand that every one has aspects of all personality types.
Having said this, the first, huge breakthrough for people is that they start to realize that there is a big chance (8 out of 9) that the persons they live or work with, have other dominant Enneagram types than they have themselves. And that many irritations, bad communication and frustrations can be reduced to behavior, norms and values of themselves and not to those of other persons. This will give people the opportunity to find within themselves the solution for better communication, while feeling more empathy for the behavior of the “other”. With this important understanding, the way to improve relationships, teamwork and organizational performance is wide open.

Mini-Summaries of the 9 Enneagram Types
Marl van der Toorn, Manager, Netherlands
Although following summaries of the 9 types don't give full insight, they may come useful as a first starter:
1. The Performer: I am right, and I want to do everything perfectly.
2. The Helper: I help, and I want people to like me.
3. The Achiever: I am succesful, and I have to perform.
4. The Individualist: I am different, and I like authenticity.
5. The Investigator: I understand, and I protect my privacy.
6. The Loyalist: I do my duty, and I like things to be clear.
7. The Enthusiast: I am happy, and I cherish my freedom.
8. The Challenger: I am strong, and no one controls me.
9. The Peacemaker: I am satisfied, and I don't like conflicts.


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