4 Most Frequently Asked Questions About The Enneagram (3/4) 

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4 Most Frequently Asked Questions About The Enneagram (3/4) 

So far, we have discussed about whether a person can have all the traits in all 9 Types in them as well as why the same actions done by each Type with different motivations

This week, we deal with a question that people do very frequently ask me. In fact, I was just asked this very question two days ago in a training session that I just conducted.

So, here is my definitive answer.

Frequently Asked Question #3: People Do Change. So Does My Enneagram Type Change?

Our core Type, as mentioned earlier, is our core ego structure, worldview and defense mechanism – the autopilot way of thinking, feeling and doing something. However, this should not be confused with traits. Traits do change and we have learnt over time, to develop certain traits to be more effective in life.

What actually changed is their mastery level and not their core ego structure. The changes happen in their personality traits, which does not affect the core motivation of why they are doing certain things in a certain way. What do I mean?

Example 1

A Type 2 (The Helper) at a lower mastery level will have no boundaries when offering their help, may seem intrusive and even needy to the point of being seen as clingy. However, after being made aware of this blind spot in their core type, the Type 2 can actually learn the trait of setting personal boundaries and sticking to these boundaries from their Type 1 (The Perfectionist) neighbor. In this manner, the Type 2’s offer of help is less intrusive and yet still allows them to help others in the manner they need to be helped, which fulfils the Type 2’s need to be needed in a healthier way.

This does not mean that the Type 2 BECOMES a Type 1, as this Type 2 does not wake up one day and think, “I need to improve things (for myself)” as their core is always others-centered.

Example 2

A Type 8 (The Challenger) who is lower mastery may be very “explosive” and may be too straightforward in their feedback, This may alienate themselves from the team. The Type 8 can learn to be more nurturing, humble, supportive and compassionate (which are the positive traits of a Type 2 – The Helper), and that helps people feel comfortable in receiving the Type 8’s valuable feedback to grow.

Having said that, it does not mean the Type 8 becomes a Type 2 because his core will still be anger – he/she will still have direct, challenging thoughts but now, it is in the way he delivers the messages that has changed. This would allow him/her to achieve the control he/she wishes to have in any given situation without pushing the people around them away.

Example 3

A lower mastery Type 9 (The Peacemaker) would avoid conflicts at all cost and that may cause them to always give in to other people’s preferences and disregard their own. However, over time, the Type 9 realizes that they cannot always be giving in, that is where learning the Type 8 (The Challenger) traits of being assertive would help them to stand firm and speak out.

That, again, does not mean that the Type 9 evolves into a Type 8 and suddenly feels the need to control and challenge others. The 9 is still a Peacemaker at their core. They still want peace, but when they need to make a stand, to be firm and handle conflicts, they can. Not preferred for the 9s, but they are now able to do so.

So, in each of the examples above, the core Type does not change but the change happens at the level of their personality traits where they become better in their core strengths from the other Types. That is what I hope the Enneagram does for us all.


Would you like to become a better person for yourself and others? Then come and join us for our next Enneagram course! Contact us  today to find out how to register and how you can utilize your 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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