Enneagram Part 1: How to Find out your Type
Have you ever taken the Enneagram? If not, you need to! It's the ultimate personality test and gives you such complex results. In the first episode of this two part series, I'm chatting with Enneagram coach Kristy Fountain as she gives us her best advice for finding out your type and breaks down the 9 types and some of the terminology associated with the Enneagram.
HOW DID SHE GET HERE?
Kristy has 10 years of experience in studying the Enneagram and is an Enneagram and Psychology based instructor and coach. Before it go really popular, Kristy and her best friend were wishing everyone knew about it, so they started their podcast God Bless the Enneagram.
She had just completed her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and was actually the distinguished student for PhD level social and personality psychology research at her university, because she was passionate about personality types, the psychology behind them and why we do what we do, which fueled her passion for the Enneagram. It was that passion that drove her to get accredited by Integrative Enneagram to administer their Enneagram test, which Kristy says is the best and most accurate way to find out your type.
WHAT IS THE ENNEAGRAM?
The Enneagram is a personality assessment in which all human beings tend to fall under one of nine personality types (or archetypes) which is basically the way people act, think, and feel over time consistently. It doesn’t pigeonhole you into a type, but it does describe your personality type and what your underlying motivation is. While other tests like Myers-Briggs are great for personal development, they don’t distinguish those underlying motivations, which tell you WHY you do the things you do.
The goal of the Enneagram is to balance your personality, so that you don’t rely on the same patterns over and over.
HOW DO I FIND OUT MY TYPE?
The first way you can find your type is to read about all the different types in books or on the internet. The best place to read in-depth descriptions and characteristics is through Integrative 9. Self-observe, see what resonates, and if you feel convicted by a description or like those patterns match yours, then try that type on for a while and start viewing the things you do through the lens of that type to see if it fits.
The second way is to take a test. There are several free Enneagram tests on the internet or you can take the RHETI through the Enneagram Institute. However, these tests (both the free and paid ones) are only accurate around 50% of the time because the question and answer choices are extremely limiting on several aspects of the test. You can definitely try one of these tests, but if the result doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t.
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The final and most reliable way to determine your type is by taking the iEQ9 (Integrative 9’s test) with a certified Enneagram coach/administrator. This is much more comprehensive, and instead of telling you a few types you might be, it gives you a 20 page report that details your dominant type, subtype, wing, tritypes, and other characteristics. There’s both a personal test and a professional test so you can even find out your communication style for leading a team.
WHAT ARE THE GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF EACH TYPE?
Note: This is an extremely general synopsis of each type. The Enneagram digs so much deeper into types, subtypes, tritypes, etc. so these descriptions are the most basic understanding of each type’s prominent characteristics.
Type 1: The Perfectionist. Values facts, precision, and clarity. Loves getting things done correctly and are very idealistic. They have a clear sense of right and wrong. Can be self-righteous or judgmental because of those things, and are very hard on themselves when they make mistakes. Can also be hard on others because they’re so hard on themselves. Key motivation: to be good and to improve and perfect things.
Type 2: The Helper. Focused on meeting others’ needs and supporting and showing up for others. Warm, giving, and people-oriented. They’re very sensitive to being unappreciated. They tend to over-involve themselves in others’ lives and risk being manipulated just to make everyone happy. Tend to neglect themselves. Key motivation: to be loved and to feel needed and appreciated.
Type 3: The Achiever. Practical, task-oriented, and focused on success. They are doers. Tend to project a polished persona or image. Can be very competitive and make huge sacrifices to achieve their goals because they really want to appear successful. They risk over-stretching themselves and falling prey to being a workaholic in trying to make sure they look successful because they feel like that is where their value lies. Key motivation: to be affirmed and to distinguish themselves from others.
Type 4: The Individualist. Have a deep search for meaning and are all about depth and authenticity. They can be overly sensitive and attuned to their environment. Typically creative and expressive but can be moody and dramatic and focus on what is lacking in their lives. Their challenge can be negative self-talk. Key motivation: to express themselves and surround themselves with beauty.
Type 5: The Observer. Very private and have an active mental life. They’re all about observing and exploring how the world works, and they often struggle to tap into their emotional world and share their thoughts and feelings. They can appear isolated and withdrawn and sometimes aggressively defend their isolation. They’re very imaginative, tend to be attracted to the odd things in life, and can be intellectual pioneers. Key motivation: to possess knowledge and to prove to others that they’re competent.
Type 6: The Loyalist. They are planners and always have a plan B. They value trust, stability, and loyalty, especially from others. Tend to act and be reactive based on their sense of anxiety, and tend to think in skeptical ways, because they’re trying to defend themselves so that they can be safe and secure. Key motivation: to have security and feel supported by others.
Type 7: The Enthusiast. Seeks variety, stimulation, and fun. They tackle challenges with optimism and engage with life in a future-oriented way. Very focused on where they’re going next. Bring a lot of creativity a new ideas to their projects, but can be distracted or irresponsible because of their focus on the future. Key motivation: to avoid missing out on experiences and to be free and happy.
Type 8: The Challenger. Forces of nature. Have a very strong presence and personality. Tend to value being in control, be guarded, but caring and protective of those around them, and mask their vulnerability with a really tough exterior to protect themselves. Can look very intimidating and confrontational from the outside. They are often leaders because they’re good at managing people. Key motivation: to be self-reliant, prove their strength, and dominate their environment.
Type 9: The Peacemaker. Very diplomatic and tuned in to the ideas of others. Tend to neglect themselves because they’re very externally focused. They are often facilitators and mediators in groups because they’re so accommodating of people. Have a very grounded and stable demeanor and struggle to connect to their own point of view to avoid conflict. They really struggle to define their sense of self and identity. Key motivation: to resist anything that would upset or disturb them and create harmony in their environment.
WHAT IS MY WING?
Your wing is the number on either side of your type. For example, if you are a type 5, your wing can be either a 4 or a 6. If you’re a type 1, your wing will either be a 9 or a 2. (You can sometimes have balanced wings, meaning both numbers are presented equally in your personality.) Your wing is like your own flavor of that type. It’s the nuances in your behavior, thought patterns, and feeling patterns that look different than your dominant type. It’s there to support you.
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