4 Most Frequently Asked Questions About The Enneagram (2/4)

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4 Most Frequently Asked Questions About The Enneagram (2/4)

4 Most Frequently Asked Questions About The Enneagram (2/4)


Welcome back to the second post in our series where I answer the most, most, MOST frequently asked questions that people ask me about the Enneagram.

Last week, we dealt with whether a person can have the traits of all 9 Types in them and this week, as promised, we will delve deeper into whether different Types can do the same things but have different motivations and whether that core motivation changes over time.

Let’s get right into it.

Frequently Asked Question #2: Same Action, Different Types? What Is The Motivation?

Usually after having some knowledge of the Enneagram, you would tend to notice people and then you would have the temptation to type them. Firstly, don’t do that. (This will be dealt with in Frequently Asked Question #4: Why Can’t I Use The Enneagram To Type Others Around Me?)

Secondly, you may have noticed that it isn’t that easy to do so. Why is that?

Could it be that even though two people can complete the same action, that they may do that action with different motivations due to their core types?

To answer this question, let me take you through two scenarios to help put things into context.


Scenario One

Sam and Dan both attended an Enneagram course over the weekend and both decided to get the recommended text that the trainer was speaking of during the course. Sam was reading the book to deepen his understanding of the Enneagram. Dan, on the other hand, was reading for information so that he would be to increase his knowledge to become a better coach to help guide and facilitate other people using the Enneagram framework.

So, Sam and Dan who both bought a book to read up and to gain new insights into the Enneagram, are they the same Type or different Types doing the same thing?

Sam, a Type 5 (The Investigator) is reading to increase his own mastery and personal knowledge of the Enneagram so the motivation is focused on knowledge acquisition and self mastery, whereas Dan’s motivation as a Type 2 (The Helper) is ‘others’ focused as he is reading to better help the others around him. (Of course, the Type 2 can also read to help themselves but that is not their first instinct. But with this growth comes mastery, a point I will address in the third post of the series.)

So, same actions, different motivations because they are different Types.

Mindblown yet? Wait, there is more.


Scenario 2

Greg and Sally are in the same project group in their Social Sciences course in a local university. In that same group, both of them were struggling to work with Josh, who always seemed to be in a foul mood and was always rushing them ‘to get the work done’. Both Greg and Sally remain upbeat and cheerful despite feeling a lot of frustration whilst working with Josh.

So, again, what are their motivations?

Greg, as a Type 9 (The Peacemaker), is to avoid conflict in the group setting (and for himself with Josh) at all cost and so he tends to compromise to the requests of others. Sally, as a Type 7 (The Enthusiast) does not want to dampen the mood, so she immediately replaces the negative feelings she has within her by being in ‘life of the party’ mode so as to lighten the tense atmosphere within the group.

So to reiterate what we covered in the first post of this series, the core Type of each person is the worldview that provides the motivation behind WHY they behave in a certain manner, even when the situations are the same.

Even when it is the same actions being performed by each Type, the motivation is completely different. So this is what we call in our training sessions as ‘Same same but different’.


If you had strongly connected with any part of this article and are curious to know more, , contact us today to find out how to utilize your incoming October Skillsfuture credits top-up to offset the course fees!


Cindy Leong
Cindy Leong
Cindy Leong is a sought after bilingual (English and Mandarin) Enneagram Personality Coach and Corporate Trainer in Asia, who can help you make sense of your professional and personal relationships. She is a member of International Coach Federation (ICF) and Singapore Psychological Society (SPS). Besides a Bachelor Degree in Psychology (majoring in Communications), she also has a Diploma in Business and has done in-depth research and studies in the areas of Organisational Behaviour and Gender Communications, both in Singapore and Taiwan. Through her expertise in corporate executive coaching, personal development, and relationship coaching, she has helped many professionals in their walk through challenging times, particularly in the areas of identity searching, relationship building and career breakthrough. Aside from being a published author of 2 books, she has also been invited by several radio stations and magazines as an expert guest speaker to provide insights into Enneagram, workplace conflicts and relationships.
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