The Enneagram: Nine Points of View and Core Motivation

The Enneagram framework refers to nine points of view, also known as Types, or styles that reference a different perspective of the way people think, feel and act in relation to the world, others and themselves. It reveals more than a personality profile, as it goes into the often unconscious core motivations that lie deep within our personality, and helps us to understand why we are the way we are. While each of us have all nine motivations within us, one of these nine is more dominant and serves as the main driver for how we show up in the world.

Typing, Not Stereotyping

For the Enneagram to have value, it is essential that you identify your core Type/style. This is the starting point to explore and open up the possibility for change and transformation. There is a danger in using a “type-based” system in that it can be easy to stereotype people. Stereotyping implies that one fact about someone leads to making assumptions about many other characteristics. Stereotyping limits our openness and perspective. A person cannot be oversimplified and reduced to their type alone. The Enneagram should be used to inspire compassion for self and others. Deepening our understanding of the perspectives, motivations and behaviors of other Types/styles improves our curiosity, empathy and communication and reduces the likelihood to judge and dismiss other people’s approaches, points of view and styles.

Motivations, not behavior

One of the key differentiators of the Enneagram framework is that it explores deep-seated core motivations, not only the outwardly observable behaviors. Using the iceberg model, behaviors are visible and above the waterline, but they are driven by the deep, unconscious motivations.

Individuals from different Types/styles may display similar surface behaviors while having very different core motivations. For example, two people may both demonstrate the behavior of being unstructured and late to meetings. However, with further exploration, one person might demonstrate this behavior because of the core motivation of an Enneagram Two style, saying yes to too many things, becoming overloaded because they are driven by the desire to be liked and needed. While the other person might demonstrate this same behavior because of the core motivation of an Enneagram Seven style, driven by the desire to keep things interesting and not experience the pain of a boring meeting.

 

 

If you have ever wondered WHY someone does what they do, the Enneagram offers a pathway for exploring the core motivations of each Type/style. These insights can strengthen your understanding of tensions and possibilities that exist in relationships, teams, and organizations.

Check out my blog series below on the Enneagram, or get in touch for coaching on how to begin the journey of moving toward your full potential.

Blog Series

Creating a Championship Team with the Enneagram

The Enneagram: Nine Points of View and Core Motivation

The Enneagram: Connecting Ancient Wisdom to Global Transformation

The Enneagram and Neuroscience: Growing New Neural Pathways