Which Enneagram Types Share Seven Top Five Strengths Themes?

We’re about to release our study on the associations between Enneagram and Strengths. We gathered data from over 500 people worldwide from a variety of professions and asked data scientists to analyze the data. What did we find? You’ll have to wait for the webinar which preludes the release of the report package.

But for now, here’s a question, and the answer may suprise you.

Which Enneagram types share seven of the same top Strength themes?

(By Enneagram types, we mean the nine personality styles of the Enneagram system and by Strength themes, we mean the 34 CliftonStrengths®, the talent assessment and methodology by the Gallup Organization.)

The answer: Type 1 and Type 6

The common themes: Responsibility®, Achiever®, Belief®, Connectedness®, Individualization®, Strategic®, Learner®

This is interesting because just yesterday, a reader named Josh left a comment on our blog post, Where Strengths and the Enneagram Meet:

Thank you for this in depth comparison of these two major personality assessment tools. My wife and I have been looking into these tools and find them very intriguing in the personal awareness journey that we have been on. I think though that I have mistakenly typed myself as a 1w9 and I might be a 6w7. So I went scouring the internet today to find a comparison between the StrengthsFinder and the Enneagram to help me out. This is all very insightful. Thanks again!

No wonder Josh may be mis-typing himself. Type 1 and Type 6 can look so similar!

About Type 1 and Type 6

The core drive or motivation of Type 1 is to perfect, while the core drive or motivation of Type 6 is to secure.

Think of Type 1 as a diamond:


Type 1’s want to create a good and perfect world, so they notice imperfections and seek to make improvements. They are moral, reliable, and dedicated.

They live from basic gut instincts, also called the Gut Center of Intelligence.

On the other hand, think of Type 6 as a lock:


Type 6’s want to feel safe and secure, so they anticipate danger for themselves and others and seek to be prepared. They are great team players, inquisitive, and trustworthy.

They live from mental faculties, also called the Head Center of Intelligence.

About the CliftonStrengths®

As we said, the seven common themes are:

  • Responsibility: takes psychological ownership
  • Achiever: has stamina to be productive
  • Belief: does work around core values
  • Connectedness: sees connections in the world
  • Individualization: focuses on the individual
  • Strategic: selects the best way forward
  • Learner: has a capacity to learn

These Strengths themes can be grouped into categories by the type of work they accomplish:

Executing: getting the work done

  • Responsibility
  • Achiever
  • Belief

Relating: making relationships with others

  • Connectedness
  • Individualization

Thinking: putting forth intentional thought

  • Strategic
  • Learner

What Does this Mean?

We look to the Enneagram to understand core motivation (WHY) and we look to CliftonStrengths® to understand capacity (HOW). In other words, Enneagram reveals drive, while Strengths reveal talent. So what does this data mean?

Here are three interesting insights:

Different Motivations, Same Strengths

While Type 1’s drive is to perfect and Type 6’s drive is to secure, they go about it in similar ways, according to the data. So you may observe similar behavior between Type 1’s and Type 6’s, (reliability, stamina, individualization, for example), but the internal motivation may be different.

That is, Type 1 may be highly responsible and strategic in order to improve the world, while Type 6 may be highly responsible and strategic in order to protect the team.

Different Centers, Same Strengths

In addition to having different motivations but similar strengths, the Types also come from different Centers of Intelligence, but have similar strengths. While Type 1 lives from basic gut instincts, Type 6 lives from mental faculties.

Type 6 from the Head Center does not have all thinking talents and Type 1 from the Gut Center does not have all talents you may associate with the Gut Center, and yet they have very similar Strengths. This teaches us not to draw direct correlations between Strengths themes and Centers of Intelligence.

Inner Critic, Inner Skeptic

Type 1's often deal with an inner critic, which is the almost constant voice inside Type 1 that is criticizing, judging, and correcting. Some Type 1’s have a very hard time turning off the inner critic.

On the other hand, Type 6 often deals with the inner skeptic, which is the almost constant voice inside Type 6 that is anticipating danger, scanning the horizon for risk, skeptical of forces seeking to harm. Some Type 6’s have a hard time turning off the inner skeptic.

The inner critic and inner skeptic may use the same Strengths to fulfill their different roles.


Which brings us back to Josh, the reader who may have mis-typed himself. Josh thought he was Type 1 with drive to perfect but thinks instead he may be Type 6 with drive to secure. It makes sense why this is a common Enneagram mis-type. The Strengths of both types are so similar.

This is an invitation to explore what really drives us, not by looking at external behaviors, but by looking at internal motivations.  What I love about Enneagram and Strengths is that together they give you the talent and drive, the HOW and the WHY.

So let’s stay curious about ourselves and one another, and not assume that what we see on the outside is what's happening on the inside.

CliftonStrengths, Gallup, and each of the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are trademarks of Gallup, Inc.

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