Thursday, October 7, 2010


The Enneagram system types people into one of these nine types:

 Type 1. The Perfectionist / Reformer

Type 2. The Giver / Helper

Type 3. The Performer / Achiever / Motivator / Status Seeker

Type 4. Tragic-Romantic / Individualist / Artist

Type 5. The Observer / Investigator / Thinker

Type 6. The Devil's Advocate / Loyalist / Loyal Skeptic

Type 7. The Epicure / Enthusiast / Generalist

Type 8. The Boss / Challenger / Leader

Type 9. The Mediator / Peacemaker

Different authours used different labels to describe each type. I have included the labels of the types used by different authours. The slight variations in the labels give us a richer description of the types.

We can assess a person’s Enneagram type by using a simple 2-step system of looking at the person through two personality lens, namely, the Hornevian triad followed by the Harmonic triad.

STEP 1. In step 1, I will assess the person's Hornevian type or social style. The three Hornevian types are associated with the nine Enneagram types as follows:

To determine a person's Hornevian type, I would observe and listen out for how he gets his needs met and how he approaches problems:

The Assertive Group, demand what they want. Accomplishment, status and winning replace their inner sense of authentic value.

The Withdrawn Group, disengage to get what they want. Fantasies, thoughts and moods replace their real connection with the world.

The Compliant Group earn what they want by doing the right thing. Rules, beliefs and systems replace their true inner guidance.

STEP 2. I will determine the person's Harmonics type or his coping strategy i.e. his stress response. The three coping styles are associated with the nine Enneagram types as follows:

To determine a person's Harmonics type, I would observe and listen out for the typical expressions of the three types when under stress:

The Escapist or Positive Outlook Group, deny that they have any problems.

The Reactive Group, react strongly and need response from others.

The Competency Group, cut off feelings and solve problems logically.

STEP 3. By screening the person with the Hornevian lens followed by the Harmonic lens we are able to get his approximate Enneagram type quickly.

In this example, we want to determine Angel’s Enneagram type. Let’s say from observing and speaking with Angel, we found that she is assertive.

According to the Hornevian types, Angel is either an Enneagram type 3, 7 or 8.

From our interactions with Angel, we also found that she is competency driven. According to the Harmonics types, Angel is either an Enneagram type 1, 3 or 5. 

Since Enneagram type 3 is common to both the Harmonics or Hornevian types in Angel’s case, we would assess that she is most probably an Enneagram type 3.

Knowing Angel's most probably Enneagram type, we can get more detailed insights into her personality by refering to the personality traits of Enneagram type 3s.

Everyone can use this simple process to learn more about anyone.

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