The Enneagram Personality Typing system and the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) are two of the most popular personality typing systems available today.
You may be wondering what is the difference between the two? Although these two systems have different foundations and are thus not in competition, some people do prefer the one over the other. So, to help you make up your own mind, I have summarized the main differences between the two types below, along with their most pronounced advantages and disadvantages, so you can choose for yourself.
The Enneagram System
The Enneagram system, in short, is based on how a person deals with trauma and focuses more on the “nurture” element of a persons personality. The test is considered quite complex and was developed in it’s complexity over several centuries starting around the time of Pythagoras (570-495 BC). Despite its complexity, the test is very accurate at placing a person in one of the nine personality types.
In contrast to the MBTI system, it is believed that each person is born with an Enneagram type and that this remains constant throughout life.
The Enneagram system is often criticized for being unscientific, but recent studies have tested the system and have validated some of the aspects of the Enneagram system. The showed that people who took the test and 40-50 hours of counseling afterwards showed improvement in the personal development. Experience has also shown that the best results form the Enneagram test were achieved when people work alongside qualified psychoanalysts who can help them better understand their personality type.
The MBTI System
In contrast, the MBTI system evaluates how a person perceives and judges the world around them, and focuses on a persons “nature”. According to the Myers & Briggs Foundation, the MBTI is largely based on the theories of the famous psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who lived from the late 1800’s to mid 1900’s. This system classifies persons into one of 16 different personality types, and is considered less complex than the Enneagram system. The test is also less accurate at placing a person in a specific type than the Enneagram test, possibly due to the fact that it is believed that once MBTI type can change over time. This is because people can grow and develop, changing certain parts of their personality as they go along.
Similar to the Enneagram system, the best results are seen when the test is combined by some form of professional counseling to help people work on the more problematic sides of the personality.
Since these tests both have a different approach, the best solution to discovering yourself would be to take both, and to combine the results when making personal developments. Some professionals believe that the Enneagram system is more relevant during times of stress, and not so important when a person is relaxed, indicating that these two systems can to a certain extent complement each other. Indeed, when you do run both tests, you will most likely find that there are common elements between your MBTI and Enneagram types.