Enneagram vs. CliftonStrengths: Everything You Need To Know

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In the journey of self-discovery, Enneagram and CliftonStrengths are your guiding stars. Which one will illuminate the path to your intrinsic strengths and personality?

enneagram vs cliftonstrengths

Trying to analyze your abilities on your own is a very daunting task, and many people are inaccurate when doing so. This is why taking an online assessment can be so helpful.

Both of these tests can give you a great overview of your personality. But, which is better for you and your goals? While these tests may seem similar at first, key differences separate them.

In this article, we will uncover the differences and similarities between the Enneagram and CliftonStrengths as well as how these tests can benefit you.

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Comparing Enneagram and CliftonStrengths

On the surface, CliftonStrengths and the Enneagram might seem extremely similar. And, while there are some similarities, there are many significant differences between Enneagram and CliftonStrengths.

To help you decide which test is a better fit for you, consider the following differences:

Assessment Approach

The CliftonStrengths test and Enneagram have two distinct purposes and approaches to testing. CliftonStrengths is a strengths assessment. It does not cover your negative qualities. Instead, it solely focuses on your top skills and positive abilities.

On the other hand, the Enneagram is a personality test. You will learn about your positive and negative qualities by taking this test. However, you will not gain as much detailed information about your strengths.

Application and Impact

The test’s purposes and structures are not the only differences you should be aware of. These tests have very different applications as well.

Both can give you highly valuable information for your career, spiritual development, and relationship development. However, the CliftonStrengths test does this by giving you confidence and knowledge of what makes you unique.

On the other hand, the Enneagram achieves this by helping you understand your limitations, what motivates you, what you fear, and your more positive qualities altogether.

Generally, if you want a great overview of your personality (both positive and negative qualities), the Enneagram is likely a better fit for your goals. However, if you want to optimize productivity, boost confidence, and regain passion by exploring your strengths, CliftonStrengths is right for you.

Understanding Enneagram

The Enneagram is a highly respected and recognized personality assessment. It has a rich history and offers a wide array of benefits.

If you are asking yourself “What is Enneagram all about?” read below to find out.

Brief Overview

The origins of the Enneagram innate talents test stem back to the 1960s and 1970s. Then, a young man named Oscar Ichazo experimented with several ways to describe personalities.

Ichazo had traveled the world exploring different combinations of talents and trying to understand how personalities work. His studies led to the creation of the first Enneagram-style test.

However, the Enneagram shape dates back even further (as far back as Pythagoras and ancient Christian mystics).

Years later, one of Ichazo’s students from Chile, Claudio Naranjo, more directly applied this typing system to psychology. He began teaching other psychiatrists about this personality typing system, which categorized people into 9 groups based on fears, desires, and behavioral patterns.

Core Concepts

The Enneagram test divides individuals into 9 categories of talents and personality. This is based on many different aspects of your personality, including your motivators, fears, positive qualities, and negative qualities.

In this regard, the test is different from many other online personality assessments, as it not only covers your top skills and weaknesses. It dives far deeper into why you act the way you do, too.

The nine Enneagram types are the Protector, the Perfectionist, the Mediator, the Performer, the Romantic, the Giver, the Observer, the Loyal Skeptic, and the Epicure. Each has unique qualities and factors that drive you to act like you do.

Compared to HIGH5

The Enneagram assessment and the HIGH5 test are both highly popular online assessments. Each gives you major insights into how you think and behave.

However, the Enneagram categorizes individuals into one of 9 types, each with 2 distinct subtypes. It is not a strengths-oriented assessment and covers weak qualities as well.

On the other hand, the HIGH5 test is very focused and specific. The test is solely focused on an individual’s strengths; it is developed through a positive psychology framework.

Both the Enneagram and HIGH5 can predict how you act and interact with others based on your answers to certain queries. However, the Enneagram highlights what occurs when each individual uses their personal traits in both negative and positive ways (such as which settings you work poorly in), while the HIGH5 only describes the scenarios in which you thrive.

Looking for a comprehensive strengths test?
People are switching from the Enneagram and CliftonStrengths assessments to the HIGH5 strengths test. Join over 3 million people in discovering what you are naturally great at.

Exploring CliftonStrengths

CliftonStrengths is one of the first widely popularized online strengths assessments. Like the Enneagram, it also has a long history with lots of scientific backing.

For those wondering about what CliftonStrengths is, here are some of the main points you should know:

Brief Overview

Unlike the Enneagram, CliftonStrengths is not a personality test. It is a strengths test. This means it will explore your dominant talent themes and primary skills and does not focus on your negative qualities.

This assessment stems from the decades of research performed by world-renowned psychologist Dr. Donald O. Clifton. Clifton studied positive psychology and found people performed best when they understood and focused on strengths rather than weaknesses.

Dr. Clifton’s test and ideas were later picked up by the Gallup organization. At the time, it was just a small survey organization. Now, it is one of the biggest strengths and personality test companies in the world.

Core Concepts

In this test, you will answer a series of questions regarding how you act, what drives you, what environment you work best in, and more.

Based on these results, the test will find what your top 5 strengths are. If you get the premium version of CliftonStrengths, you will get a report including all 34 strengths.

You will not just get an idea about what your top strengths are, though. You will also gain insight into how they impact your life on your report.

Compared to HIGH5

The MBTI and CliftonStrengths assessments seem extremely similar on the surface. After all, they are both categorized as strengths assessments, and both are used by Fortune 500 companies to test their employees.

However, there are some key differences between these tests. For instance, the CliftonStrengths test tests individuals for 34 strengths, while the HIGH5 focuses around 20 strengths.

The HIGH5 has a strengths sequence that emphasizes your top 5 strengths but includes 20 strengths in order of which are strongest for you. The CliftonStrengths test requires you to upgrade in order to see the more in-depth, full strengths report.

Pros and Cons of Enneagram

There is no such thing as a 100% perfect and wholly accurate online assessment. This is true with the Enneagram, and every other personality test.

However, this doesn’t mean the test is useless. It can still offer a plethora of benefits. To better understand the advantages and disadvantages of Enneagram, we have developed the following list:


  • Covers many aspects of personality.
  • Includes information on your fears and motivators.
  • Can benefit your personal life, career, and beyond.
  • Benefits your ability to lead and self-awareness.
  • Includes both your positive and negative qualities for a more comprehensive understanding.
  • Encourages self-improvement.
  • There are no right or wrong answers on the test.
  • Can boost your productivity.
  • Trusted by millions of people.


  • Some questions can be a bit tough to understand.
  • Results can be overwhelming.
  • Room for misinterpretation.
  • It is an older test.
  • The original Enneagram is long (40 minutes).
  • Not much in-depth information on your strengths.

Looking for a comprehensive strengths test?
People are switching from the Enneagram and CliftonStrengths assessments to the HIGH5 strengths test. Join over 3 million people in discovering what you are naturally great at.

Pros and Cons of CliftonStrengths

Just like the Enneagram has a variety of benefits and drawbacks, so does the CliftonStrengths talent themes test. It offers a fantastic depth of insight into numerous key aspects of your personality, though, which makes it worth taking for millions of people.

Some of the main advantages and disadvantages of CliftonStrengths are:


  • Extensive scientific backing by highly respected psychologists.
  • Gives immensely detailed insights into your strengths.
  • Is specific and easy to understand.
  • Encourages you to stay positive.
  • Helps teams facilitate collaboration.
  • Provides you with actionable insights into self-improvement.
  • Can lead to increased confidence.
  • One of the most widely trusted strengths assessments available online; taken by millions of people.


  • Could lead to overconfidence.
  • Overlooks your weaknesses.
  • Some experts doubt its validity.
  • Costly (at least $20).
  • Not very personalized insights (for $20, only get insight on 5 strengths).
  • Lengthy (approximately 30 minutes).
  • Does not offer much information on motivators or fears.

Practical Applications and Implications of Enneagram and CliftonStrengths

Taking personality and strengths tests can be fun. However, most of the tremendous benefits you gain from these assessments come from applying your results to the real world.

The insights you gain from either CliftonStrengths or the Enneagram can help you achieve your personal goals, boost personal relationships, and even help you find a new career.

Here are a few more specific ways your results can be applied:

In Personal Development

You can truly bolster your self-growth journey by taking a personality and/or strengths assessment. These tests allow you to see what makes you unique, boost your confidence, and make you more positive.

As a result, you will have a better attitude at work and in your interactions with others. This leads to more productivity, better teamwork, and the development of healthy relationships.

To add to that, strength tests can help you choose a career based on your abilities. Personality tests like the Enneagram help you stay self-aware and encourage you to control fears. They also help you with maintaining motivation.

In Organizational Development

The benefits you gain from CliftonStrengths or the Enneagram can be immense. However, these tests do not just benefit individuals. They are also very useful for teams.

Thousands of teams from across the globe trust these assessments to find out whether a new candidate fits well on their team. It also helps them evaluate if a candidate helps fill their team’s skill gaps.

These tests are also highly useful when forming new departments or assigning tasks based on strengths/personality.

Compared to HIGH5

The HIGH5 test is known for being immensely useful to both individuals and teams. For individuals, you can acquire unique insights into your strengths in an easy-to-understand manner.

The HIGH5 test truly shines when it comes to team testing. Although CliftonStrengths offers some team options, and the Enneagram can be taken by any team member, only the HIGH5 provides immensely comprehensive insights on a team-wide basis.

With the HIGH5, teams gain insights into how colleagues interact with one another, how certain strengths work, potential traits to watch out for, and much more.

Looking for a comprehensive strengths test?
People are switching from the Enneagram and CliftonStrengths assessments to the HIGH5 strengths test. Join over 3 million people in discovering what you are naturally great at.

How Accurate is the Enneagram Assessment?

Some personality tests have very little scientific backing. Psychologists to this day debate the efficacy of personality tests. Many believe the Enneagram is effective, while others do not.

In one systemic literature review, psychologists from the University of North Texas found the Enneagram’d validity was mixed (1). They showed it does help with spirituality and self-growth, but is sometimes inaccurate.

However, the test has been utilized by psychologists since the 1970s. It has even been taught to psychiatry residency as a key personality test (2). And, millions of people have taken it and claimed it has helped them with self-improvement.

Therefore, the test has the potential to improve your life and is quite accurate for many people.

How Accurate is the CliftonStrengths Assessment?

CliftonStrengths is one of the most famous online strength assessments and for good reasons. Millions of people have taken it, and even Fortune 500 companies trust the organization with their strengths and testing needs.

The assessment also has a strong scientific backing. It was developed through decades of research performed by Dr. Donald O. Clifton and his team.

If you answer the questions honestly and take your time on the assessment, you can get accurate results.

Compared to HIGH5

Both the CliftonStrengths and Enneagram assessments have been proven as valid and accurate assessments. Likewise, the HIGH5 is also a highly accurate and useful test.

The HIGH5 assessment is based on significant amounts of scientific data, and it has been repeatedly validated in studies and testimonials alike (3). Millions of people have taken this test, and hundreds of renowned businesses trust it, too.


Both the CliftonStrengths and Enneagram assessments offer great benefits to teams and individuals alike. You can learn more about what makes you unique, become more self-aware, boost your productivity as well as passion, and so much more.

With the actionable insights these tests provide, you can kickstart a long-term self-improvement journey that benefits you for ages. They are truly a fantastic investment of 30-40 minutes.

References and case studies:

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33332604/#full-view-affiliation-1

2. https://psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp-rj.2020.150301

3. https://high5test.com/methodology/reliability-validity/

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