How Do You Read an Enneagram Chart?

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on August 11, 2022

If you’re new to the Enneagram system of personality, you may feel out of your depth when looking at your Enneagram test results. Your Enneagram chart is what showcases your primary Enneagram type (and much more) to give you the complete picture of your personality. 

So how do you read an Enneagram chart if it’s all Greek to you? Once you understand the meaning of it all, it won’t feel so complicated. This step-by-step guide to understanding what your Enneagram chart has to tell you will help you go from confused to knowledgeable.

What is the Enneagram system?

In a nutshell, the Enneagram personality system works by pointing out your core fear and motivation as the source of how you function as a person. These behavioral patterns affect your emotions and how you move through life. To grasp the nuances of the Enneagram, which are a bit more complex than your primary type alone, your Enneagram chart can help serve as a guide.

How do you read an Enneagram chart step-by-step?

When you take Truity’s Enneagram personality test, your results will include a color-coded chart, which displays your highest, medium, and lowest ranking results for each of the nine types. 

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(Example of Enneagram results)

This visual, plus the breakdown of your percentage rankings on each of the nine Enneagram types will show you your personality type. The number with the highest percentage is your Enneagram type. 

But what about the Enneagram chart with a lotus flower-like shape of lines dissecting a circle? At the top, you’ll see the number nine followed by numbers one through eight in clockwise order. The circular chart shows nine overlapping arrows (or three triads) stemming from the numbers and extending to corresponding numbers in a triangular pattern.

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So what does it all mean? Your Enneagram chart isn’t as complex as you think, so let’s dive into the various aspects.

The Nine Enneagram types

The Enneagram system has nine Enneagram types —  but you have one primary type. Each Enneagram type has its own fixation, passion, and disintegration and integration patterns of stress. 

For a quick description, these types are: 

Each type has a fear and motivation that drives them forward. After you’ve located your type on the chart, you can start getting into the other aspects surrounding your type.

The centers of intelligence: Heart, Head, and Body Types

In the Enneagram, each type belongs to a center of intelligence. The three intelligence centers are The Heart, The Head, and The Body. Knowing your intelligence center provides you with a deeper understanding of how you can grow through your innate problem-solving skills and how you react, by default, to most situations in life.

How do you know which center of intelligence is your dominant one? Your Enneagram chart can be split into three equal, triangular sections using a “Y” shape. 

  • From the top of the chart, Enneagram Type One, Eight, and Nine are Body Types that focus more on motion and action, their physical being, and control. 
  • The right triangle that splits the chart is The Heart. Type Two, Three, and Four fall under this emotional center and focus more on feelings, relationships with others, and empathy.
  • The left triangular section is The Head, which houses Type Five, Six, and Seven, and, you guessed it, emphasizes thinking, analyzing, and logical planning.

Although each Enneagram type has a bit of all three centers (we all use our head, heart, and body to make decisions), where you fall on the chart is your dominant center of intelligence and your default method of problem-solving. Once you recognize your primary center of intelligence, you can also start incorporating the other centers of intelligence into your routine. Balancing yourself out is always a way to improve!

Understanding Enneagram wings

So far, you know you have a dominant Enneagram type, but you may be surprised to know you also have wings that influence your personality. On your Enneagram chart, look for your wings by finding the two personality type numbers that precede and follow yours. For example, if you’re Type Three, your Enneagram wings are Type Two and Type Four. 

But like the centers of intelligence, you have a dominant Enneagram wing, which will have the heaviest influence on your personality. You’ll find this by checking which wing has a higher percentage match on your Enneagram results. 

How does your wing affect you, then? It provides an extra nuance to your personality and serves as a sidekick. If you're an Enneagram Type 3w2 (Type Three wing Two), you're a hyper-focused Achiever who fears being insignificant — which drives you to seek success and approval — but you're also a gifted social butterfly who prioritizes networking and meeting new friends and colleagues.

What Enneagram arrows mean: your growth pathway

In your Enneagram chart, the lines that connect different types are arrows. Each Enneagram type has two lines stemming from its point that head in opposite directions. These arrows lead to the personality traits you take on depending on your stress reaction. 

For example, as an Enneagram Type Four, I have two arrows — one pointing to Type One and the other to Type Two. The typical terms used for which direction you take are Integrating and Disintegrating, but you can think of them in terms of uncomfortable stress and growth stress. By taking on some Type One traits, I would be Integrating or in a period of growth. However, if the arrow I take is Type Two, I’m in a period of uncomfortable stress or Disintegrating. It’s important to note both pathways are an essential facet of your personality and your personal growth journey, so there’s nothing bad about reacting to stress via Disintegration. You may also look at Disintegration as the time you need to recuperate and energize yourself.

You may also prefer to refer to the Enneagram arrows  Integrating as Resolution and Disintegrating as Energizing.

Can your Enneagram type change? 

Once you've delved into your Enneagram chart and figured out the basics, you may wonder if those interconnected arrows also point to another fact: can your Enneagram type change?

Although you grow throughout your lifetime, your Enneatype remains the same. How you change is based on your pathway to growth. To truly understand the way the Enneagram growth works, here’s a good start for further reading.

Can you be more than one Enneagram type?

Maybe you’ve taken a look at your chart and discovered that you seem to be very close to being two (or more) different Enneagram types. Is being two Enneagram types possible? Although you might be a near match for another Enneagram type, your dominant type is what you score the highest on — even if it’s only by one percentage point. If you’re like me, you may relate to more than one type: I scored 96 percent for Type One and 98 percent for Type Four. But when it comes down to it, your Enneagram type is what most reflects you, which is the highest score you’ll receive.

In sum

Your Enneagram chart might look confusing at first, but once you figure out how to read it, you’ll understand the various aspects, including your type, your arrows, your center of intelligence, and more. The Enneagram is an in-depth, growth-based personality system that you can continue to learn more about after you’ve grasped the basics. As you keep learning, remember to embrace your Enneatype—you have unique strengths!

Cianna Garrison

Cianna Garrison holds a B.A. in English from Arizona State University and works as a freelance writer. She fell in love with psychology and personality type theory back in 2011. Since then, she has enjoyed continually learning about the 16 personality types. As an INFJ, she lives for the creative arts, and even when she isn’t working, she’s probably still writing.

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

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