The enneagram, a powerful tool to find your path

Are you a recent graduate, a job seeker, or an employee in search of meaning? Are you curious to discover new tools to know yourself better – personally and professionally – and find your way? Used in management and personal development, the Enneagram can help you define a (career) path adapted to your personality.

What is the Enneagram?

The term is composed of two Greek words: “Ennea” meaning 9 and “Gramma” which evokes a figure. The Enneagram is a symbol that has nine points, each labeled with a number (from 1 to 9). Each number represents a type of personality that thinks, feels, and acts in a distinct way, guided by a deeper motivation or world view, and an associated fear. According to these two elements, some major personality traits stand out:

  1. The Perfectionist is attentive to details, has high standards and wants to maintain perfect integrity
  2. The Giver focuses on the needs and emotions of others; always seeks for love
  3. The Performer thrives on challenges, is ambitious and gets what (s)he wants
  4. The Romantic, or artist, is creative and finds completion in learning to understand him/herself and his/her emotions
  5. The Observer, or scientist, uses multiple sources to verify information and seeks understanding of why things are the way they are
  6. The Loyal Skeptic constantly questions the world around him/her and acts in a paradoxical way
  7. The Epicure is optimistic and joyful, moves from one moment to the next, always looks for pleasure
  8. The Protector is loyal and honest but doesn’t like being controlled
  9. The Mediator participates in the balance of a group, is the peacemaker and always seeks comfort and serenity

The enneatypes highlight different ways to handle the gaping hole of life. They can help you define your main personality traits and understand your moods, actions and behaviors.

How to use the Enneagram?

Assisted by a Social Science specialist – a career coach, for example – you can work on your Enneagram in several steps:

  • Answer a few brief questions about your spontaneous reactions to various situations
  • Refine, through an in-depth discussion with the coach, your personal profile or enneatype
  • Based on the information gathered during the previous analysis, learn your enneatype’s characteristics and identify the way they are true for you, make links with your past experiences and your habits, try to use the results of this personality test to be more in tune with yourself and overcome your fears.

It may take a few sessions to discover your Enneagram type. At first, your coach will certainly identify 2 or 3 profiles that match your personality, according to your character traits and your life experiences. Then he or she will dig deeper to define your true enneatype: the one that guides your actions and reactions daily. He or she will also provides you with the keys to develop or confirm the traits that stick to you.

An interesting teambuilding tool

At a time when the need to get together, to meet in a convivial way and to reestablish social ties is stronger than ever, the Enneagram is a very interesting managerial tool to implement during a teambuilding. Indeed, this approach allows you to decipher and understand your own personality traits as well as those of your colleagues and peers. In a playful and light-hearted way, the Enneagram allows everyone to better know themselves by identifying:

  • Their fundamental motivations
  • Their fears and sources of anxiety
  • Their qualities and flaws

Being aware of this can be particularly useful when working in a team. It allows everyone to better appreciate their professional partners and to adapt their attitude and speech according to who they’re dealing with.

What should you look for in a job based on your Enneagram type?

We can’t truly establish a direct correlation between someone’s Enneagram type and the job that fits him/her. There are 9s who make very good accountants or surgeons, as well as 4s who will excel in these professions. However, depending on your base, you can figure out more about how you interact and work with others, and how you manage a team, for example.
The career ideas below are only suggestions that may or may not inspire you…

  1. The Perfectionists want a work environment that feels fair and where communication is straight-forward, they want to know what’s expected of them so they can meet (and exceed) those expectations. Job ideas: accountant, auditor, designer, architect, surgeon…
  2. The Givers seek roles where their helpful attitude is valued. Working for non-profit might be fulfilling for them. Job ideas: professor, nurse, doctor, doula…
  3. The Performers will likely have more than one career going at a time. They are constantly inspiring others around them, make decisions fast and feel valued by the amount they accomplish. Job ideas: CEO, entrepreneur, stylist, marketing director, speaker…
  4. The Romantics appreciate having the freedom to create and contributing to the world in a unique way. Job ideas: artist, advertiser, writer, social media manager…
  5. The Observers should look for roles with structure and space to themselves. They shouldn’t go for opportunities with too many surprises or too much flexibility. Job ideas: analyst, engineer, researcher, web developer…
  6. The Loyal Skeptics go for practical, steady jobs that they feel a sense of safety in. They’re not likely to work at a start-up, because it feels too risky. Job ideas: banker, paralegal, lawyer, dentist…
  7. The Enthusiasts don’t like authority and aren’t huge rule followers. They can be a bit scattered, but are full of great ideas and bring a lot of joy to everything they do. Job ideas: content creator, hait stylist, chef, travel agent, TV personality…
  8. The Protectors have a get-it-done attitude and aren’t afraid to do the hard work. Job ideas: executive assistant, PR director, event planner, director of sales…
  9. The Mediators are supportive and bring great sense of morale and team spirit to their work environment. They find work-life balance very important. Job ideas: yoga instructor, retreat leader, student counselor…