Enneagram 101 (what is it and what are the nine types)

Over the years I have talked (and talked and talked) about the Enneagram. It has been a personal growth tool that has helped me make such positive changes in my own life!
I love it so much that I also use it with my life coaching clients.
I’ve been asked by different people to share some info on the basics to help people get started with learning their own Enneagram type.
So I shared this video on Facebook and wanted to give it a place on my site where you could listen to it in podcast form, watch the video, or read through it. Whatever you prefer, it is a content smorgasbord! 



quick video from mom and life coach on the enneagram and the nine types


Type 1 – The Reformer/Perfectionist

Concerned with good wholesome, right and wrong. Motivated by the desire to ‘be good’, the need to live life ‘the right way’

At their best: Ethical, reliable, standards, self-controlled

At their worst: Judgmental, dogmatic, critical

They may not be a perfectionist in the traditional sense of lining up their environment,  but struggle with this internal critic causing anxiety of things they ‘should do’

They are probably unaware that they push people away with judgements about what the world should look like and how they or others should behave.

When they are healthy they move to the traits of a Type 7 (this is called the direction of integration). When they are stressed they move to the traits of a Type 4Healthy 7 (the direction of disintegration)

We need 1s because they are our moral compass and remind us to maintain healthy standards in our lives


Type 2 – The Helper

Motivated by the need to be needed, need to feel they are lovable and valuable

At their best:  loving, generous, enthusiastic, warm, giving

At their worst: martyr, over-accommodating, indirect

A two may not realize that they are putting themselves in a service role to others as a way to feel valuable. They may not even realize that through all of their serving they are creating a relationship where they are needed and hoping to also be served in return. When they feel taken advantage of they can feel a lot of anger and resentment which shows up as martyrdom. 

Because they are so busy helping and supporting others, they often put themselves on the back burner.

Healthy move towards type 4

Stress move towards type 8

We need 2s because they remind us that those around us are in need and we can serve them and show up for them in many different ways


Type 3 – The Achiever/The Performer

Motivated by the need to be successful, believe that their value lies in their achievements

At their best: optimistic, practical, efficient, they get things done

At their worst: narcissistic, workaholic, deceptive in times where their ability to succeed is at risk or to maintain their image

A struggle the three will have is identifying who they are from what they do. They have difficulties getting in touch with their own thoughts and feelings – success comes at the expense of your feelings.

In Stress move to type 9

In health move to type 6

We need 3s because they remind us that setting and accomplishing our goals is a rewarding and worthwhile thing


Type Four – The Individualist/The Romantic/The Creative

Motivated by the need to be themselves, to understand their feelings and be understood

At their best: warm and heart-centred, introspective, they want to contribute something unique to the world, they are willing to deal with the hard stuff to find the deeper purpose

At their worst: depressed, self-conscious, they find it hard to separate the feelings from the facts, because they are focussed on this higher meaning in life they can sometimes let them be a gap between themselves and others and can silo themselves

Fours may not realize how they get wrapped up in themselves and their own thoughts.

When healthy they move to type 1

When in stress they move to type 2

We need 4s because they can walk us through suffering and teach us how to pay attention, honour and express our emotions


Type Five – The Observer/The Investigator

Motivated by the need to be capable, self-sufficient, to know everything

At their best: analytical, wise, objective, perceptive

At their worst: arrogant, distant, critical

This is another type that can really get in their own head. They will focus more on thoughts and knowledge rather than feeling and deeper meaning like a four.  They even substitute feelings for facts. They are at risk of alienating themselves because they conserve their energy and knowledge – they are worried about these things being depleted

When healthy, move to a type 8

When in stress, move to a type 7

We need 5s because they remind us to stop and gather information, make decisions based on rationale, and to learn our craft well


Type Six – The Questioner/The Skeptic/The Loyalist

Motivated by the need to have support, need security

At their best: loyal, responsible, caring, devoted, prepared

At their worst: paranoid, controlling, rigid, defensive

They can be so focussed on the worst case scenario that others may think they are very negative. The six may not realize that they are projecting their fears and stresses onto those around them – which prevents the six from actually learning the skills and developing the emotional capacity to deal with them on their own.

When they are healthy they move to type  9

When they are unhealthy they move to type 3

We need 6s because they believe in and establish support systems and communities. They remind us to steward our basic needs. 


Type Seven – The Enthusiast/The Adventurer

Motivated by the need to be content, be happy, avoid suffering

At their best: fun, spontaneous, confident, flexible,

At their worst: rebellious, impulsive, self-destructive, unpredictable,

The seven may not realize that because they are constantly moving from one thing to the next – those around them feel like they might not be seen or heard in the moment. They might come across as flaky.

When they are healthy they move to type 5

When they are in stress they move to type 1

We need 7s because they remind us that life is short and the party is where you make it. They know how to have fun and make us feel more free when we are with them – like anything is possible


Type Eight – The Asserter/The Challenger/The Maverick/The Rebel

Motivated by the need to protect themselves, be self-reliant, strong and independent

At their best: direct, advocate for others, courageous, leader, influential

At their worst: controlling, domineering, rebellious, over-extend themselves – this can be like a self-destruct mode for an 8 who never wants to be vulnerable and keeps muscling and steamrolling their agenda in a situation instead of surrendering

The eights can quickly judge others who they view as weak or indecisive and may push them away without giving them a chance.

When they are healthy they move towards type 2

When they are in stress they move towards type 5

We need 8s because they are great leaders who can use their powerful nature combined with truth and love to make amazing changes in this world.


Type Nine – The Peacemaker/ The Mediator

Motivated by the need to keep the peace and avoid conflict

At their best: diplomatic, open, calming, they are welcoming

At their worst: stubborn, apathetic, judgmental, they are very out of touch with their own anger

Because a nine avoids being controversial and is so accommodating they can lose touch with themselves and the things they actually want in life. When they constantly avoid conflict in their relationships, they are driving a pretty wedge in the intimacy.

When they are healthy they move towards type 3

When they are in stress they move towards type 6

We need 9s because they are mediators who can see viewpoints of all others. They remind us to seek harmony and to live out our lives from a place of peace

the nine enneagram types all have a unique approach to life that they offer the world around them


Books recommended here may include referral links to Amazon. If you click through and take action I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I love or feel would benefit your simple, on purpose life. 



MY STORY: If you want to read more about my journey learning the Enneagram and how it has helped me in my parenting and marriage and life, read this post. 

YOUR TYPE:  There are lots of free tests on line, but I have often shared this PDF questionnaire. I recommend that the best way to learn your type is to get a book from the library, kindle or buy. Two great books are The Wisdom of the Enneagram and The Enneagram Made Easy. they have quizzes in them on each type.  To really know your type, you should read about it and see if it resonates. 

ASK ME A QUESTION: If you would like to hear more about the Enneagram email me your questions and let me know! 

GET COACHING: I use the Enneagram in my life coaching. If you are looking for a life coach to help you with blind spots and new direction, read more here. 

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