We've all done the Myers-Briggs test and marvelled at how well the results encapsulated our personalities. But unlike Myers-Briggs, Enneagram is a personality assessment that doesn’t just condense your personality into four letters — it also helps you understand behaviours and mitigate workplace and relationship conflicts. We spoke to life coach and Enneagram expert Cindy Leong, founder of consultancy firm Relationship Studio, which specialises in Enneagram profiling, to find out more.
But first, what is Enneagram profiling?
Enneagram (say any-a-gram), which has its roots in ancient Greece, is a psychological profiling model centered on nine core personality types. Rather than pigeonhole an individual into one personality type, Enneagram advocates the idea that we each have all nine personalities in varying degrees, with one core and one secondary personality. Enneagram is used as a tool in both business management and relationship building.
Why is Enneagram profiling better?
According to Cindy, "the Myer-Briggs does not tell you the ‘why’ — if the person is introverted, you’re forced to accept that without understanding why. The Enneagram test and coaching tells you why so that you can have more understanding towards certain people, including your colleagues, and understand why they do things the way they do."
Identifying your own Enneagram type requires you to do a detailed test, of which there are many online options. Cindy's Relationship Studio provides a comprehensive and accurate evaluation (the test comes with 200 questions).
The Nine Personality Types
World View: The world is an imperfect place. I work toward improvement. I do everything the right way.
Basic Desire: To be right
Basic Fear: Being condemned
Key Motivations: Want to be right, to strive higher and improve everything, to be consistent with their ideals, to justify themselves, to be beyond criticism so as not to be condemned by anyone.
Famous Reformers: Emma Thompson, Julie Andrews, Meryl Streep, Harrison Ford.
2. The Helper
World View: People depend on my help. I am needed.
Basic Desire: To be loved
Basic Fear: Being unloved
Key Motivations: To express their feelings for others, to be needed and appreciated, to get others to respond to them, to vindicate their claims about themselves.
Famous Helpers: Kenny G, Paula Abdul, Barry Manilow.
3. The Achiever
World View: The world values a champion. Avoid failure at all costs.
Basic Desire: To be admired
Basic Fear: Being rejected
Key Motivations: Want to be affirmed, to distinguish themselves from others, to have attention, to be admired, and to impress others.
Famous Achievers: Kevin Spacey, Reese Witherspoon, Anne Hathaway, Ryan Seacrest.
4. The Individualist
World View: I'm different from everyone else.
Basic Desire: To understand self
Basic Fear: Being defective
Key Motivations: Want to express themselves and their individuality, to create and surround themselves with beauty, to maintain certain moods and feelings, to withdraw to protect their self-image, to take care of emotional needs before attending to anything else, to attract a "rescuer."
Famous Individualists: Edgar Allen Poe, Anne Frank, Anne Rice, Sarah McLachlan, Johnny Depp.
World View: The world is invasive and confusing. I need privacy to think.
Basic Desire: To understand the world
Basic Fear: Being overwhelmed by the world
Key Motivations: Want to possess knowledge, to understand the environment, to have everything figured out as a way of defending the self from threats from the environment.
Famous Investigators: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg.
6. The Loyalist
World View: The world is a threatening place. I need to look to authority, but I question it.
Basic Desire: To be secure
Basic Fear: Of being abandoned
Key Motivations: Want to have security, to feel supported by others, to have certitude and reassurance, to test the attitudes of others toward them, to fight against anxiety and insecurity.
Famous Loyalists: Chris Rock, Mark Wahlberg, Woody Allen.
7. The Enthusiast
World View: The world is full of opportunity and options. I look forward to the future.
Basic Desire: To be happy
Basic Fear: Being deprived
Key Motivations: Want to maintain their freedom and happiness, to avoid missing out on worthwhile experiences, to keep themselves excited and occupied, to avoid and discharge pain.
Famous Enthusiasts: Jim Carrey, Mike Meyers, Bruce Willis, Robert Downey, Jr., James Franco, Leonardo DiCaprio.
8. The Challenger
World View: The world is an unjust place. I am strong and I defend the innocent.
Basic Desire: To be self-reliant
Basic Fear: Submitting to others
Key Motivations: Want to be self-reliant, to prove their strength and resist weakness, to be important in their world, to dominate the environment, and to stay in control of their situation.
Famous Challengers: Russell Crowe, Sean Penn, Matt Damon.
9. The Peacemaker
World View: My efforts won't matter to the world. It's best to keep the peace.
Basic Desire: to find union and peace
Basic Fear: of separation
Key Motivations: Want to create harmony in their environment, to avoid conflicts and tension, to preserve things as they are, to resist whatever would upset or disturb them.
Famous Peacemakers: Tobey Maguire, Zooey Deschanel, Janet Jackson.
For more info, go to relationshipstudio.sg.