The Enneagram of 9 Personalities. Types and Centers.

Knowledge Center

Best Practices

Sign up

Francielle Nunes
Entrepreneur, Brazil

The Enneagram of 9 Personalities. Types and Centers.

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 (reformers) try repressing or controlling their anger and instinctual energies. They have a highly developed inner critic.
9. Types nine (peacemakers) deny their anger and instinctual energies. They idealize their world and relationships as an escape of their dark sides.
8. Types eight (challengers) 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 (helpers) 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 (achievers) avoid feelings of shame and fears of failure. They try to be accepted by performing well and becoming successful.
4. Types four (individualists) 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 (investigators) 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 (loyalists) 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 (enthusiasts) 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.

  Marl van der Toorn
Manager, Netherlands

Why the Enneagram is such a Great Coaching Tool

Thank you for your contribution. For over 20 years (...)

  Marl van der Toorn
Manager, Netherlands

Mini-Summaries of the 9 Enneagram Types

Here are 9 extremely short summaries of the 9 type (...)


The Enneagram is Very Useful for Coaching

This is brilliant, first time reading about it too (...)

  Hans Joergen Pedersen
Analyst, Denmark

Enneagram is too Negative for my Taste

I have never heard of the Enneagram before, but I (...)

  foster dela gatsi
Manager, Ghana

Enneagram of 9 Personality Types is Very Helpful

This is the first time I'm reading about this insi (...)

  Jozef Van Giel
Strategy Consultant, Belgium

Enneagram is Not Scientific

Like Freud and Maslow which you already mentioned (...)

  Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

Scientific Rigor AND Practical Relevance

@Jozef Van Giel: the reality of organizations, man (...)

  Jozef Van Giel
Strategy Consultant, Belgium

Scientific Rigor AND Practical Relevance, Indeed

Dear Jaap, complexity doesn't mean that it is impo (...)

  Borje Vickberg

Enneagram - the Thirst for Structure!

I believe you can use Enneagram as a model. You ca (...)

  Nelson Hernandez M
Management Consultant, Spain

Scientific Rigor and Human Beliefs

Some people think that witches are around them, ot (...)

Start a new forum topic


More on Coaching
The GROW Model / Coaching Framework
Coaching as Social Capital
Teacher Professional Development (TDP) Models
Business Coach must be Holistic
Qualitative and Quantitative Aspects of Coaching
🔥Being a 'Good-Enough' Coach is the Best that we can Be...
Raising Productivity by Coaching
The Wheel of Life: Balance your Life
Coaching Emanates from the Relationality
Evaluate the Benefits of Coaching in Your Organisation
Coaches Bring Out the Best in Their 'Teams'
Problems with Definition of Coaching
Best Practices
Coaching by Managers and Leaders
Mentoring versus Coaching
The Enneagram of 9 Personalities. Types and Centers.
Has Coaching Become Too Technical?
The Coach is a Facilitator for Self-Findings
Qualities of a Good Coach. Checklist
Trillion Dollar Coach: Team Coaching Lessons for Managers
Assumptions of Coaching: You Can Change and Develop Yourself
Effective Coaching
Coach People's Strengths or Weaknesses?
Rational Emotional and Behavioral Therapy: REBT
Coaching is Expert-aided Goal-oriented Learning
Why Leaders Need Coaching
Does Business Coaching Really Work?
How to Get Help from Someone Else?
The Need for Relational Coaching
Using Incentives and Rewards in Coaching
Coaching and Pedagogy
Use of the Body in Coaching
Preconditions for Successful Coaching
Special Interest Group

Do you have a keen interest in Coaching? Sign up for free

Notify your students

Copy this into your study materials:

and add a hyperlink to:

Link to this discussion

Copy this HTML code to your web site:

Knowledge Center

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2021 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.8 - Last updated: 25-7-2021. All names ™ of their owners.