Enneagram of personality

 In Emotional Intelligence

I have found Personality types magnificently displayed by Mr Luis Arribas de la Rubia. Be not fooled by the fact that splendid descriptions of children are brought into the map in De la Rubia’s «gang of nine» as his enneagram portrays very well adult character traits too.


The invitation is to visualise each person arriving at this first meeting in the classroom. Each of them behaving differently depending on their character type, which is grouped into nine different personalities. Following their personality, according to Luis Arribas, each one of them may be recognised by their physical appearance.

Here is how each person would experience that first encounter:



1 – The perfectionist will greet you correctly and notice the issues not contemplated for the meeting, which they will point out or suggest better options that should have been considered in advance.

Rational and idealistic character types, they are described as principled, purposeful, self-controlled and reformers.



2 – The helper will come to the aid of the group or person who has been most affected by a member’s lousy behaviour, and will hug them. Or offer support to the group and  the meeting point.

Caring and interpersonal character types, they are described as generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing and Possessive.



3 – The achiever will withdraw from the conversation and reappear with a proposal about something they want to do. That they will be the best at it will therefore be guaranteed.

Success-oriented and pragmatic character types, they are described as adaptive, excelling, driven and image-conscious.



4 – The romantic (usually female) will appear dressed in exclusive clothes or display a particular behaviour in an attempt to stand out from the rest. The same applies to males in terms of creative ideas, and successful ideas of others that they will take ownership of and will want to change.

Sensitive and introspective types, they are described as expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed and temperamental.



5 – The investigator will not welcome the group and will arrive late with the excuse that they were entertained with something strange, unbeknown to the rest.

Intense and cerebral types, they are described as perceptive, innovative, secretive and isolated.




6 – The interrogator will start a battery of questions to reveal the others’ own insecurities, in an attempt not to be the only one feeling insecure.

Committed and security oriented types, they are described as engaging, responsible, anxious and suspicious.



7 – The adventurer will accept proposals from the achiever or the romantic and elevate them to a somewhat risky level to make them unique to the group and gain the intensity they need.

Enthusiastic and variety-seeking character types, they are described as spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive and scattered.



8 – The self-confident will analyse pros and cons and make logical decision which will be assertively expressed. So better not to object. 

Powerful and dominating types, they are described as decisive, confrontational, wilful and challenging. 




9 – The peace-maker will remain quiet until the last person has spoken and then mediate between them. They will show the group they are here to have a good time and not get lost in a whirlwind of ideas and risks, wasting time.  

Easy-going and self-effacing character types, they are described as receptive, reassuring, agreeable and complacent. 



When we can visualise the map of personality and find out that our classrooms get filled with «character types» year after year we can develop our own tools for group formation, pair work, project roles, leadership, teams representatives, research assignments, teachers’ support and assistance or class checks. 


Interestingly, setting them in teams according to their similarities when it suits the task, or perhaps following their differences instead, when each one will contribute brilliantly to the group with their own strengths, can be an enriched experience as a whole. We can, for instance, choose our «achievers», «explorers», «killers» and «socialisers» wisely and organise groups for educational escape room activities following the Bartle taxonomy of player types, which I most recently became acquainted with.


The Enneagram has been a powerful tool in a great variety of disciplines like History, Politics, Arts, or Psychology to name only a few. 




Arribas, L ( 2019) El Eneagrama Infantil   [www.sanaemocion.com]

Richard, D. and Hudson, R. (1999)  The Wisdom of the Enneagram

Naranjo, C (2012) 27 personajes en busca del ser

Illustrations by Ms Ana Roldán



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