You may be wondering, “What is my Enneagram Type?” But discovering your Enneagram type can actually be very challenging. To type yourself, you must first learn to understand the types thoroughly. The main reason for that is that many descriptions of the Enneagram types are flawed.
There are a few ways to learn which Enneagram number you are:
- Take an Enneagram test
- Be typed one-on-one by a professional
- Read books about the Enneagram and try to figure it out
- Read online descriptions
Let’s look at the pros and cons of each approach.
Even so-called Enneagram experts with highly popular books get the types wrong (more on that below).
1. Enneagram Tests or Quizzes
There are many Enneagram tests available. Some enneagram tests are free and some cost money. But their quality varies greatly.
Here’s a list of some popular Enneagram assessments:
- Eclectic Energies
- RHETI (The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator by The Enneagram Institute)
- Essential Enneagram by David Daniels (formerly the Stanford Enneagram Discovery Inventory)
- Crystal Knows
I will review each of these soon.
What is the most accurate Enneagram test?
I might be biased, but the most accurate Enneagram test is the Full SEED Enneagram Test available at this website. While the Riso-Hudson Type Indicator (RHETI) was once considered the gold standard, it has many flaws and hasn’t been updated in 20 years. I worked for the Enneagram Institute for nearly 4 years where I was responsible for the technology that powered the RHETI. When I left the Institute, I set out to create a more accurate Enneagram test, which is now available on this website. Over 10,000 people donated to make this test a reality. Continue reading to learn how this test is more accurate than others.
How Enneagram Tests Work
In order to create a proper Enneagram test, one must first understand the Enneagram types correctly and thoroughly. This is where most tests go wrong. Most tests are based on common misunderstandings of the Enneagram types.
Perhaps the most common misunderstanding is the conflation of Type 4 with Type 9. Most popular descriptions of Type 4 are flawed, leading many Type 9s to mistype as 4s. For a more in-depth explanation of this problem, read The Confusion of Type Nine & Type Four by John Luckovich.
Behavior vs Motivation
There is an ongoing debate about whether it’s okay to type a person by their behaviors or not. Those who say it’s not cool believe that it isn’t the behaviors, but motivations that reveal a person’s Enneagram type.
But then how do you determine a person’s motivation? Most people are not engaged in the kind of deep, continuous self-inquiry required to unearth their unconscious motivations.
Given that, the only way to type a person by motivations is to spend a lot of time with them, exploring their rationale for why they do what they do.
Tri-Type is also a major factor here. Tri-Type theory says that we don’t have one type, but three types – one in each center of consciousness (mind, gut, heart). This means that there are actually going to be a variety of motivations coming up, and often simultaneously. This makes it challenging to discern a person’s Core Type.
Since it’s hard to easily know a person’s motivations, what can be done to determine’s someone’s Enneagram type?
Well, we can actually attempt to intuit their motivations from their behaviors. Behaviors by themselves may not be adequate to confirm a person’s type, but they’re an important piece of the puzzle.
We can also ask people how others see them. That’s another important piece of data.
Motivations, behaviors, and other people’s perceptions: If we can test a person on all of these dimensions, then we might have something that approximates their type pretty accurately.
…and that’s exactly what my Enneagram test on this website aims to do. 🙂
2. Get Typed by an Enneagram Expert
There are many people out there such as enneagram coaches who will happily take your money to tell you what your Enneagram type is (or what they imagine it to be).
They believe they’re qualified to do so after receiving a few trainings and a certification.
But most trainings and certification programs suffer from the same flawed understandings of the types as most Enneagram tests and books.
3. Enneagram Books
There are many books about the Enneagram which offer descriptions of the Enneagram types that can help you determine your own type. However, not all books are created equally.
Perhaps the most popular Enneagram book currently is “The Road Back To You” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. While this book has been a commercial success, it’s actually not a reliable guide to the Enneagram types.
The most blaring reason is that the author, Ian Cron, mistypes himself as Enneagram Type 4. Ian is actually a Type 9. So the descriptions in his book are likely to mislead many Type Nines into thinking they are Fours.
There are better books than that, but even the best books don’t discriminate the types adequately from each other.
4. Online Descriptions of Enneagram Types
Online descriptions of the Enneagram Types suffer from the same flaws as most Enneagram books.
While many people claim to be experts on the Enneagram, the truth is that the essences of the types are still being discovered. Because of this, most descriptions, books, and tests are flawed in significant ways, leading to a lot of typing confusion.
Easy to see yourself in the wrong types
One major problem with typing yourself is that it is easy to see oneself in many different type descriptions. Especially if the description contains qualities that you aspire to in yourself or matches your ego ideal. If a Nine is seeing themselves in the.
Attachment to Types
If a family member, friend, or a trusted authority (such as an Enneagram teacher) tells you that you are a particular Enneagram type, you can become attached to that type–even if it’s the wrong type. From that point on, you will begin to see yourself almost exclusively in terms of the characteristics of that type. This is especially true for people who are attachment/adaptation types (3,6,9).
More that One Enneagram Type
It turns out that we don’t have only one Enneagram type. We actually have more than one Enneagram type: tri-type, wings, connecting points, etc. This makes it very hard to zero in on your main type.
So what is the best way to learn your Enneagram type?
Why are you trying to learn your Enneagram type in the first place? Is it just to have another identity? Or are you actually looking for the growth and freedom that the Enneagram provides?