Applications of the Enneagram 

 August 15, 2019

By  Donna Woodrow

You may have heard of the Enneagram, or even know the Enneagram quite well, but do you know the many ways in which the Enneagram can benefit us and those around us? In this blog, we'll look at some of the ways in which we use the Enneagram to benefit your personal and professional development, and how it also allows us to enact social change on a global scale.  


Important Note

I want to make this point before we go on to discuss the different applications of the Enneagram. The Enneagram works best when it is used as a tool for deepening our own self-awareness and getting in touch with who we really are. Of course, we can look at others through the lens of the Enneagram, we might even try to assess another persons behaviour to try and guess their Enneagram Type. But if all we're doing is focusing on others, and forgetting about ourselves, will this yield us helpful results? Maybe, but probably not.

Even if we focus solely on others with the purest of intentions, we are still missing the point of the Enneagram. We can not truly understand others without first uncovering our own biases of others and how we react or respond in relationship to them. When talking in relational terms, we will always influence our relationships by simply being there. Have you ever noticed someone act differently with you, than they do with others? The key to truly understanding this is not only in the other, but in understanding our part in this too. 

Keeping this in mind, lets look at the different ways we can use the Enneagram...

A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbour.

Carl Jung

1. A Self-Development Tool

This is always going to be my number 1 application of the Enneagram. Quite commonly, this is the way in which most people encounter the Enneagram, as a tool for self-discovery. In my opinion and experience, there has been no better return on investment, than using the wisdom of the Enneagram to guide oneself to a deeper understanding of how you show up in the world. Why? I hear you ask... The Enneagram gives us a new language and a new lens to see and understand things about ourselves that we had previously been unable to see. What's beautiful about this approach is that having this greater awareness of self can positively impact a number of contexts in our lives at home and at work. 

Ideally personality is an effective way in which we can express ourselves, however challenges often arise when our point of view becomes rigid and we get stuck in automatic habits. The Enneagram can be used as an instrument to develop and enhance those qualities and traits of our personalities that are optimal or desirable and to quickly catch and transform those, which are not. Awareness and application of the Enneagram allows you to be the very best “you” that you can be. It enables you to identify your own personal strengths and limitations and to uncover your unconscious patterns which can lead to unhealthy expressions of your personality, thus enabling you to have a more fulfilling experience of life. If you would like to learn more about the Enneagram read our blog - What is the Enneagram of Personality Or The Purpose of the Enneagram.

2. Enneagram in Organisations

The Enneagram has been widely used in business as a tool to gain insights into workplace dynamics, performance management and peak performance. It is also a valuable framework for communication and to promote peak productivity.

By introducing the Enneagram into your business you can provide your teams with a common language to break down barriers in understanding themselves and communicating with their team members. A common phrase you might hear us say at Modo is this..."You can't separate the person from the role" What does this mean? It means that when John or Jenny has a problem at home or relational challenges with another co-worker, we are kidding ourselves if we expect this to have zero effect on their performance in their role.

By bringing the Enneagram into the workplace, it helps build a container where everyone is speaking the same language. This can then allow us to integrate all parts of ourselves, allowing us to show up authentically at work. It also provides a framework where we can more easily support our teams. The Enneagram allows us a new way to understand our colleagues and to respond, rather than react in work environment. If you would like to learn more read our blog - The Enneagram in Organisations. 

3. Enneagram Prison Project (EPP)

This is a slightly unusual application of the Enneagram, but one which is garnering excellent results and feedback from its students and broader communities. EPP is a program that is run inside prisons and jails and is facilitated by EPP guides. EPP Students are incarcerated men and women who 'do the work' together with their guides, to unravel their sense of self, to get in touch with who they truly are. Through this deepened sense of self-awareness, students are more present to their thinking and behavioural patterns and start to uncover the gift of choosing how to respond. 

This project is having an effect on recidivism rates around the world, changing our prison systems from places of punishment to places of rehabilitation and healing, ultimately making our communities safer and our people happier and more supported than ever. If you would like to learn more about EPP click here, or follow the EPP Australia Facebook Page


This is only 3 different ways in which the Enneagram can be applied. I chose these three to write about because we know them very well and are all capable of achieving exceptional results within their specific context. Now, of course there are a range of other applications of the Enneagram, some of which we'll cover in a few other blogs, such as Relationships, Parenting and Leadership to name a few.  I hope this blog has been informative and given you a little inside look as to how the Enneagram can change individuals lives, transform organisations and even support our communities. 

Is there a specific way to use the Enneagram that you'd like to learn more about? Comment below and let us know!

Donna Woodrow

Donna takes a genuine interest in the collective and personal growth of the human race and its individuals. Donna is a seeker who loves to travel and invests considerable time in her own personal growth. Donna is a professional coach and trainer, experienced Enneagram facilitator and the Managing Director and Partner of Modo Coaching & Training.

Donna Woodrow

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