If you’ve ever taken a personality typing quiz, chances are you’ve heard of both the Enneagram and Myers-Briggs systems. But what’s the difference between them? And which is the best system for describing your personality? We break down the fundamentals of each.
What is the difference between Enneagram and Myers Briggs?
The Enneagram and Myers Briggs are both personality typing systems that aim to categorize people into different personality types.
At their core, the Enneagram is based on behavioral patterns and instincts, while the Myers-Briggs MBTI is based on more innate, cognitive functions. We’ll explore what that all means, and how these differences impact how people use these typing systems in more detail.
Let’s dive in!
What Your Myers-Briggs Type Tells You:
Your Myers-Briggs type tells you a lot about yourself- your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and how you interact with the world around you. The letters in your MBTI type represent different cognitive functions that control the way you take in information and make decisions.
Myers-Briggs groups cognitive processes into two primary categories: introverted processes and extroverted processes.
These two categories are further subdivided into perceiving processes and judging processes. Those four cognitive processes can be directed inwardly or outwardly, creating eight possible modes of cognitive functions. That’s a very tricky way of saying each of these various combinations forms to create the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types (Where my INTJs at?)
Knowing which cognitive functions make up your personality tells you how you take in and process information, as well as how you like to make decisions. It can also help you understand what makes you tick, and what makes you want to crawl in a hole and hide.
Perhaps just as importantly, knowing another person’s MBTI can help you know what drives their behavior, which makes you more effective at communicating and building relationships with others.
What Your Enneagram Type Tells You:
The Enneagram is based on behavioral patterns and instincts. It tells you about your basic motivations, defense mechanisms, and stress points. Your type can also tell you about your strengths and weaknesses.
People like to discover their Enneagram type because it provides a framework for understanding themselves and their behavior. Proponents of Enneagrams like to say that other personality typing systems will tell you the what, but Enneagrams will tell you the why.
Is the Enneagram more accurate than MBTI?
This is a tricky question because it supposes that either is accurate, to begin with, which is debatable. So when we ask which is more accurate, maybe what we’re really trying to get at is which personality typing system seems to produce the most accurate results for us.
It varies from person to person. Both tests have the potential to help people understand their motivations and how they interact with the world. Practitioners will tell you that Myers-Briggs is going to help you understand how your mind works, while the Enneagram will help you uncover things about yourself at a deeper, more spiritual level.
Accuracy, therefore, becomes a matter of what you hope to get out of the tests and how much you subscribe to their efficacy.
Is the Enneagram or the Myers Briggs better at assisting a person in self-improvement?
Again, this is a difficult question to answer. Both systems offer a lot of potential for self-improvement. However, the Enneagram might have an edge in this area because it is based on behavioral patterns that aim to help people understand themselves deeply and fully.
Myers-Briggs, on the other hand, is based on cognitive functions which not all people find as intuitive or easy to understand and thus might prefer Enneagrams. They might also feel like Myers-Briggs focus on more fixed traits that can’t be dramatically changed, while Enneagrams leaves more wiggle room for growth.
Again, it boils down to personal preference.
Why is the Enneagram not as well known or popular as Myers-Briggs?
One reason might be because Myers Briggs has been used so extensively in professional settings. Many people are familiar with Myers-Briggs because they have taken the test or know someone who has.
But the Enneagram is having a bit of resurgence. As it increases in popularity, more people start to build communities around a shared interest in Enneagrams. Of course, with this, you’ll also find an increasing number of workshops and personal coaching services based on Enneagram typing. (For a fee, of course.)
Accessibility is also worth considering when comparing the two. Myers-Briggs is widely known and widely available, almost always for free. Enneagram testing and information? Less so. Though that is changing, too.
It really boils down to who is using these tools and for what purpose. We suspect that with current trends, we’ll be seeing a lot more about Enneagrams in the future.
Final thoughts on Enneagram vs. Myers-Briggs
So, which is the best system? The answer is – there isn’t one! Both systems have their own benefits and drawbacks, and different people swear by different typing systems. Some prefer the detail of MBTI, while others find Enneagrams more relatable. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which system works better for you. Do you have a preferred system? Tell us in the comments! We would love to hear about your experiences with personality typing.