The Enneagram personality test: how to understand yourself and your view of the world

The Enneagram personality system describes 9 different ways of thinking, feeling and acting in the world.

One of the keys to living an authentic and conscious life is to understand yourself and how you operate in the world.

My employees and key PR clients had filled out leadership questions that were presented to me in this workshop.  My employees said they loved working for me but didn’t like the work!  When asked where they saw me using my leadership skills in the future and what would be the best fit for my strengths, they said I should work directly with people and remove the barrier (representing a product to the news media) between me and people.

What was radical about the Enneagram test was that I realized it was all the personal growth and awareness tools that I shared with my team.

I asked each person to self-select their personality Enneagram type, to take the Strength-Finder 2.0 and assess their top five personal strengths and to take the Insights so we could see how we all fit together as a team.

I had hired my weaknesses and my strengths were my employees weaknesses. Together we were a power house team.

My company went on that year to become a mid-six figure business.

When you deeply understand why you do what you do in the world and how others operate – you can work from your top strengths, passions and interests!

In today’s interview, I invited Laurie Rosenfeld, a change strategist and executive coach, to talk with me about one of my go-to tools, a system of personality that I use with all of my clients, called the Enneagram (pronounced “any-a-gram”).   Laurie has several Enneagram certifications and has been working intensively with this system for more than six years. A former lawyer and management consultant, Laurie is a fellow coach. She runs a boutique coaching firm and her specialty is evolving consciousness through developmental coaching and transformative change. The Enneagram is one of her primary tools.

The Enneagram is a system of personality that tells us a lot about ourselves, our interrelationships and why we think, feel and act as we do.

"Enneagram"
Enneagram

The Enneagram is depicted as a symbol that shows the interrelationships between 9 core types. The symbol represents a system of personality that goes deeper than some other psychological assessments because rather than focus on external behavior alone, it tells us why we do what we do.

When we begin to understand the motivations and core beliefs that drive our thoughts, feelings and behaviors — seeing and naming our patterns, and catching ourselves in the act — this gives us an opportunity to make conscious choices to shift those patterns.

The Enneagram allows us to bring what is unconscious to consciousness.

It is deep and complex, but it fundamentally describes 9 different ways of thinking, feeling and acting in the world.

Here is a preview of what we cover in our 30 minute chat:

00:56    What is the Enneagram and why would someone want to use it
00:57    Resource: “The Nine Ways of Working”
03:15    How Laurie got started with the Enneagram
03:43    Finding your core type in the system. Resource: “The Essential Enneagram”
05:00    Why you can’t discover type by outer behavior alone
06:30     Look-alike types: Task orientation and comparing Ones and Threes
08:23    We grow and evolve in our type
08:45    Resource: “The Wisdom of the Enneagram”
09:05    Different personality tests
09:25    The panel method
10:12    Sherold’s “go-to” tool — “know thyself”
10:33    Why would someone want to know their type. Client example, Type Eight.
13:50    Self-discovery process. Inside-out. You feel invested.
14:27    How the Enneagram has helped Laurie (curious about her type? watch the video)
15:35    Laurie’s hamster wheel
16:00    The Enneagram as an organizing lens
16:27    Laurie’s path of growth and how it’s different than others
16:30    Self-help and why one size truly does not fit all
17:07    Path of growth for Type One as contrasted with Type Seven
17:40    How the Enneagram has helped Sherold (curious about her type? Watch the video)
20:00    How Sherold understands her son
21:00    Sherold using the Enneagram with her employees and clients
23:00    “Plan B” girl
23:50    How our types played  a role in preparing for this video
24:40    Resource: “The Enneagram in Love and Work”
25:40    Levels of development and levels of presence
26:45    Worst-case scenarios — an ER hospital vs Microsoft
28:00    How can people get involved with the Enneagram
28:16    Self-testing resource (book): “The Essential Enneagram”
28:56    Self-testing resource (online test): The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI)
29:00    Typing is a journey
30:00    Hold type lightly

Enneagram Resources:

If you want to learn your type, we recommend that you either get the Essential Enneagram book below by David Daniels or use this link and pay $10 to self-select your type online for $10 here.

Essential Enneagram: The Definitive Personality Test and Self-Discovery Guide  by David Daniels and Virginia Price

The 9 Ways of Working by Michael Goldberg

The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personalities by Don Richards Riso and Russ Hudson

The Enneagram in Love and Work: Understanding Your Intimate and Business Relationships by Helen Palmer

The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI)

Here’s more resources from Laurie about the Enneagram:

Enneagram Resources

Getting Started with the Enneagram (link to a blog post Laurie wrote that includes some explanation of the Enneagram + links to the two self-tests we discussed).

Do you know someone who would benefit from these resources or this blog?  Share the love by sharing this information with others.

As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

  1. Hello I am a manager for a small team of 7 associates and am looking for a way to test each associate or rather for each of them to be tested preferably by having free tests or very discounted tests- any thoughts?

    1. Hi Erin – thanks for asking. I asked each person on my team (in first biz) to self select their style through a free online assessment. Then you can buy a book called “The Nine Ways of Working” to find out how to manage their style at work. When I work with my clients who manage staff this is exactly what I recommend. There are more books on using the Enneagram at work but I have used this one. I know you will find this valuable. Best to you!

      Here’s two options:

      I used this first one: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/rheti-sampler/
      https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/rheti-sampler/

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