The Enneagram is a model of human pschology based on nine interconnected personality types.
Its ideas are said to be found as long ago as the 4th Century, in the work of a Christian Mystic called Evagrius Ponticus, but the contemporary theories have been developed by various academics since the 1950s.
Below you can find succinct summaries of Enneagram personality types to inspire and inform character development - including both the positive and the negative.
Scroll down to see the information in a colourful infographic.
The Reformer is sometimes also known as the Perfectionist. They are idealists who set high standards for themselves and those around them and judge failure harshly. They focus on right and wrong, and tend to be direct, precise and honest. Others may find them preachy and closed minded. They believe in repressing their less virtuous desires.
Helpers believe in giving and focus strongly on their relationships with others. This means they can be caring and supporting and go out of their way to help others, but some people might find this assistance crosses the line into meddling and intrusiveness. They are open and expressive, and genuinely listen, but they may end up nagging or resentful if their advice isn’t heeded.
The Achiever measures their worth by their goals and accomplishments. They work hard and enjoy a fast-pace, but they may step on other people’s feelings in their race to the top and can be impatient and preoccupied with their image. They focus on the topic at hand and get straight to the point with enthusiasm, but they can be overly efficient and override other’s views.
Individualists are romantics at heart. They are the dramatic artists, the poets, in search of a unique and ideal love. They feel things deeply and are empathetic and genuine but they can be moody and self-absorbed. Individualists have a flair for originality and take things personally. Others might find a them a bit intense and they may be prone to envy.
The Investigator values intellectual understanding and self-sufficiency. They want to achieve complete mastery of their knowledge and skills and prefer concepts to direct experience. They keep the world at arm’s length, preferring to analyse rather than engage. They speak in facts and figures and have no time to small talk. They may come across as aloof and emotionally disconnected.
Loyalists are always seeking security in an uncertain world. They are intuitive and inquisitive always thinking and questioning. They are also trustworthy and make great friends. They believe that being prepared for the worst case scenario makes them more resilient, but this focus can make them come across as pessimistic, doubting and controlling.
Enthusiasts live for the pleasure of the moment. They are thrill-seekers, always upbeat and ready to grab the next opportunity for pleasure. They are optimistic and adventurous and so are exuberant, spontaneous and fun to be around. However, they can be easily bored and flit from one thing to another and they can be self-absorbed and indifferent to the input of those around them.
Challengers are big personalities with big ideas. They value strength and power and use their authority to seek justice, truth and to protect those weaker than themselves. They believe in taking decisive action, even if it means being impulsive. Others may find them confrontational, intimidating and loud.
Peacemakers like to go with the flow rather than make waves. They seek harmony and want everyone to feel included. They are easy-going, confident and are a steady hand. They pay attention to other people’s wants and needs and try to find compromises where there is conflict. However, they can be over-conciliatory when sometimes they need to put their own needs first. They can also be stubborn, indecisive, scattered and shy away from conflict.