Last week we started on the exciting journey of exploring the enneagram. That first week is the foundation of all of this future work, so make sure you go back and read What is the Enneagram? before moving onto this post answering the question: is the enneagram accurate?
Whenever you do any personality assessment (DISC, Myers-Briggs, etc.) it’s important to address the accuracy of the assessment. Does the result fit you? If it doesn’t it takes some serious digging into figuring out why. Accuracy of personality assessments relies on multiple factors, and the enneagram is not immune to these factors that muddy result. Some things that can impact the accuracy of your enneagram results include lack of self-awareness and confirmation bias. Let’s explore each of those in detail.
Some people have self-awareness issues. Either someone has told them they are a certain way for so long that they start to believe them, or they just don’t know better. When it comes to answering questions for any personality assessment, it’s best to do your best to think outside of yourself. Ask yourself the following questions:
How do you show up to other people?
If you’re uncertain, ask somebody. However, it’s best if you don’t take the assessment with someone because your answers might be tainted by the other person’s view of you.
Is this what I really believe about myself, or is this the “right” answer?
It’s dangerous when you try to qualify your answers as right or wrong. In assessments, there’s no good or bad, right or wrong, it’s about honesty. Give the honest answer about yourself and let the assessment do is best work. If you’re not a people person, don’t pretend to be to get a “favorable” answer. You’ll be exhausted trying to live someone else’s life.
It’s difficult to break out of a lack of self-awareness, but if you’re intentional about truly thinking about who you are, the enneagram can be accurate for you.
Confirmation bias is when you seek out answers that confirm your perception of something. The way this shows up in the enneagram is when you select answers that you may believe about yourself but aren’t necessarily true.
For example, there’s a statement on the Truity assessment (link below) that says “I feel my my emotions very deeply.” It then asks you to assess whether this statement is accurate or not. If you consider yourself an emotional person, you may mark this as accurate even if you’re not an emotional person. So you mark this as accurate to confirm what you think you already know about yourself. This can lead to an inaccurate result.
You can avoid confirmation bias and lack of self-awareness by simply being critical of your answers.
One thing that sets the enneagram apart is that your primary type should not change with stage of life, your current job, or current circumstances. Because the enneagram is determined by internal factors such as motivations and fears, the external factors do not contribute to the result. How you respond to those external factors is indicative of your type and what’s going on internally. Once you determine your type, you can be certain that you will be that type forever.
However, discovering your type takes work. Assessments get you part of the way there. You’ll most likely score high on a few different types, which you can then explore and see which one describes you best and continue to dive from there.
Ready to figure out your type? My favorite assessment is over on Truity. Give it a shot and let me know what type you get or if you need help deciphering some of the answers! I’m here to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out by following me on social media (see Connect in the menu) or going to my Contact page.