CNLP 241: Ian Morgan Cron on Using Your Enneagram Number to Boost Self-Awareness, Spiritual Growth and Reduce Conflict at Work and at Home

The Enneagram is an ancient personality type profile, and over the last two years Ian Morgan Cron’s new book, The Road Back To You, has helped several hundred thousands of people discover what their number means.

Ian talks to Carey about how the Enneagram can help grow your self-awareness and how to reduce conflict at work and at home by understanding how different personality types work. They also discuss the Enneagram as a spiritual growth tool.

Welcome to Episode 241 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links | Facebook | InstagramTwitter | The Road Back to You

Episode Links

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The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey Into Self-Discovery

The Road Back To You Podcast

Discover Your Enneagram (Free Online Assessment)We apologize for any inconvenience, but this link has retired.

Building a Story Brand (Episode 42): Can the Enneagram Make You a More Effective Leader?

4 Ways to Optimize the Enneagram & Other Personality Assessments and Fuel Your Mission

5 Surpising Truths about the Enneagram and Your Leadership Potential

3 Insights from Ian

1. Your greatest weakness can easily become your greatest strength, and vice versa

Your Enneagram type determines your default lens through which you view the world. How it manifests in your day to day actions can make or break you. If you can become self-aware of your type’s bias, you can begin to use them for good.

What’s best about you is what’s worst about you, and what’s worst about you is what’s best about you. It all depends on which side of the coin you want to play.

2.  Forming your type: We are all 9 types, but one is primary

When it comes to identifying your type it’s not what you do that matters, it’s why you do it. What is going on inside of you is who you really are.

Each type is a reflection of God’s character. We all have some of each number in us. There are both biological and environmental factors that lead to our primary type. Usually, we start this in childhood as a response to our world.

3. Should some numbers not work with (or marry) other specific numbers?

When it comes to working together the health of your number, not the actual number, determines whether you can work together or not. Health and self-awareness are key when it comes to working with other numbers.

This goes the same in marriage. Any number can be married to any other number if they are healthy. If someone is unhealthy in their number, they will struggle to live alongside anyone, even people with the same numbers.

Quotes from Episode 241

What the Enneagram teaches is that what's best about you is what's worst about you and what's worst about you is what's best about you. It just all depends on which side of the coin you want to play. @iancron Click To Tweet The biggest mistakes senior pastors or CEOs make in life is presuming that their way of seeing the world is normal. @iancron Click To Tweet If you want to know who God is, maybe one of your best primary reference tools is you because if you're made in the image of God, what better place to start to know who God is than with yourself. @iancron Click To Tweet The big gift of the Enneagram is self-understanding, and that is a prerequisite of self-awareness. @iancron Click To Tweet Grant, Lord, that I may know myself, that I may know thee. -Augustine Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 241

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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Next Episode: Frank Bealer 

Frank Bealer is one of the most productive people Carey knows, and he doesn’t say that lightly. Frank deconstructs how he has grown his productivity in 3 distinct seasons of his life as a leader in his 30s. At 22, he became CEO, and over the last decade and a half has worked on the senior leadership teams of Elevation Church, ReThink and is now also the CEO of the Phase Family Center. Frank talks about he’s grown his productivity through high demand seasons.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 242.

CNLP 241: Ian Morgan Cron on Using Your Enneagram Number to Boost Self-Awareness, Spiritual Growth and Reduce Conflict at Work and at Home


  1. Christy Binder on February 18, 2021 at 11:13 am

    Hi Carey, I cannot find a way to communicate with you privately on this which is what I prefer. So feel free to take this to a private conversation and not post it here. I started looking into the Enneagram because of you and other respected Christian leaders and advocated others look into it as couples and ministry partners. However, I am now hearing of some disturbing origins of the Enneagram (its connection to Richard Rohr and spiritual perennialism that deny Biblical Christian theology). Here are some of the sources: and I am wondering if you have looked into these concerns yourself as these concerns have been around since 2011. I also have fresh concerns about Ian Cron’s discernment since learning he promotes Bolz-Weber. I am going to keep following the research on the Enneagram to determine its validity and possible danger to the Christian.

  2. Andrew on July 17, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Hi Carey,
    I have listened to many of your podcasts throughout the last number of months.
    It was great to hear your story and how you grew and the real struggle. I don’t “lead” any group of people in a personal or professional sense, but I really enjoy learning how to grow. I have been told many times how great of a leader I would be and have lead youth groups, teams in the finance space, and volunteer groups in the past but that is not my platform now. Those opportunities are not in this season right now.
    I am enneagram type 2 and my girlfriend is a type 3. She is an incredible leader. She has the “woo” strength (Strength Finders). We both have competition as one of our top 5 as well. She is in a season of high impact in her job as a youth worker and working with many girls who think the world of her. She has a large platform to reach people. My question is; how as a partner of a leader do you best support them in their vision as she is walking in her calling? She gets energized by what she does and even though that takes her away (physically by distance and time) from me I know that she is better for me and for the mission she’s been called to and the platform that she’s been blessed with. How do I as a guy encourage and support that?
    Would you be able to have a conversation with a leader or the spouse of the leader who can talk about how they form a great team and have a thriving marriage in the middle of having the leader running to maximize his/her platform? Would love to know and hear your thoughts and conversation.
    Thanks in advance,

  3. Josue De La Cruz on July 2, 2019 at 9:40 am

    Hello, I was wanting to take the Discover Your Enneagram (Free Online Assessment) but the link is not working. Thank you for everything you guys do to equip and support leaders. May God bless you.

  4. mrmarkmcdonald on February 6, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    Hi Carey,
    A great podcast. I’ve been into the enneagram for decades. I also like 9 Types of Leadership by Beatrice Chestnut which outlines the leadership style of Enneagram numbers.
    Could you do a follow up on how Pastors with various types can do their ministry in a Christ like way? It could be a way to apply some of your leadership advice with the enneagram in mind.
    For example following your church and ministry advice I can’t understand how to use a minister/pastor who is a 5’s. 5’s may have worked well in the old days when ministers could lock themselves in a room for sermon prep each week. How can I use 5’s in my ministry?
    I’m a 6 and I am Anglican, you can probably guess that I have to be careful of using the hierarchy to get my way.
    Keep up the great work.

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