A journey of self-discovery with The Enneagram

Article was written by Amy Greil, Community Development Extension Educator. 
Originally published in The Kenosha News.

As of 2013, I have been a certified facilitator and trainer of a personality and temperament assessment called Real Colors.

This is based broadly on the Myers Briggs Test but in a much, much simpler form. A way I can distinguish the difference between it all is that MBTI focuses on our external persona. It is not suited to understanding “the why” of our internal motivations.

Essentially, in the Real Colors training, people self-identify as Green (analytical), Orange (creative), Blue (relational) and/or Gold (organized). Its simplicity is part of the beauty because, over a matter of hours, colleagues can come to learn a lot about relationship-building through greater appreciation of what makes people “tick” while providing a common language of four color-types.

Often, groups and organizations request this training as a team-building exercise and/or a way to navigate interpersonal conflict in offices.

After having delivered this training, say, over 50 times in the past six years, I’ve begun to wonder, what’s next for me and others that want to take self-assessment to the next level? And beyond the individual assessment, can organizations utilize something more advanced to improve relationships and team productivity?

Introduction to The Enneagram

I have recently been introduced to a little-known, extremely rich assessment tool called The Enneagram, based on a few simple concepts that begin a long-lasting journey of self-discovery. The Enneagram, however, is ultimately extremely subtle and highly complex.

In brief, the tool has layers of self-assessment. After a 30+ minute online questionnaire, at a cost of $14, found at www.enneagraminstitute.com/ you can learn your Basic Personality Type and then use the report to, over time, see how those numbers (there are 9 basic personality types) relate to Centers, Wings, the Levels of Development, Directions of Integration (Growth) and Disintegration (Stress), and Instincts. With mastery, you can learn to type yourself and others.

The nine Enneagram tyle descriptions, in brief, are:

  • THE REFORMER: The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic
  • THE HELPER: The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive
  • THE ACHIEVER: The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious
  • THE INDIVIDUALIST: The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
  • THE INVESTIGATOR: The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated
  • THE LOYALIST: The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious
  • THE ENTHUSIAST: The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered
  • THE CHALLENGER: The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational
  • THE PEACEMAKER: The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent

What’s next for you?

Some of my counterparts in extension statewide have been certified to train groups in utilizing the Enneagram and I myself am looking into it to basically add more value to group trainings.

Please reach out to me to let me know if you or your organization would be interested in engaging in this Enneagram learning process. Meanwhile, even an initial read of the numbers may help you to recognize some of your own deep-seeded beliefs and personal tendencies that could potentially help or harm team projects and relationships.

I encourage readers to dig into this tool and the prospect of becoming more self-aware and self-controlled. Check out this podcast for a free overview of The Enneagram at https://wfu.podbean.com/
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