Ethical Guidelines2020-06-15T14:24:14-05:00

Ethical Guidelines

Ethical Guidelines for IEA Members and Code of Ethics for IEA Accredited Professionals

Encouraging the ethical use of the Enneagram is central to the mission of the IEA. All IEA members shall adhere to the IEA’s General Ethical Guidelines. In addition, those accredited by the IEA shall adhere to the Code of Ethics for IEA Accredited Professionals.

If you have experienced or witnessed actions you believe to be in violation of these Guidelines and Code or have questions or concerns related to them, you may contact the IEA at [email protected]

The Enneagram can be used by people from a variety of backgrounds, including educators, business consultants, artists, therapists, spiritual directors, and medical professionals; all of whom use it in an increasing range of contexts and applications. Because the Enneagram is such a powerful and profound system for understanding human nature, it is important that those who use the system with others do so in an ethical manner.
We encourage each professional to use the Enneagram within his or her areas of training and expertise. For example, we expect that business consultants would use the system for organization development, team building, and leadership training; coaches might use it with clients to help them improve their personal and interpersonal effectiveness and work performance. Neither a business consultant nor a coach would typically do psychotherapy with individuals who have serious emotional problems, such therapy being the domain of licensed psychologists and other mental health professionals. Coaches and consultants using the Enneagram should follow the same practices. Likewise, those using the Enneagram in the business arena should have some expertise in business-related engagements.

The Enneagram of personality types is primarily an instrument for self-knowledge and personal transformation.

Keeping a conscious focus on our motives and behavior helps avoid the common pitfalls of our type. Self-knowledge involves constant inquiry into own agendas and defenses, and transformation requires the courage to act against the structures and habits of our personality.

Any individual who advertises himself or herself as an Enneagram teacher or expert shall have the requisite education in the Enneagram system to do so and shall apply the Enneagram system exclusively within their area(s) of professional expertise.

The Enneagram is a powerful and complex system that addresses human functioning and growth. As such, it is essential that every person who benefits financially from teaching or working with the Enneagram has a thorough knowledge of the system. And just as Enneagram practitioners should have a high level of knowledge of the Enneagram system, they should only teach Enneagram applications within their areas of expertise.

The Enneagram is a work in progress, so individuals shall be explicit in giving credit to the work of others. Individuals shall cite their sources when teaching and communicating about the system.

Many have contributed to it, and many will do so in the future, therefore, be explicit about giving attribution to the work of others. Name your sources and honor the originality and hard work of other contributors. We take it upon ourselves to maintain high standards of scholarship, thus promoting a collegial atmosphere in the sharing of information.

Type does not fully describe an individual.

The Enneagram does not tell us anything meaningful about a person’s history or quality of character, intelligence, or talents. People are more than their Enneagram type. We recognize that awareness of this is particularly important in the workplace.

We allow others to discover themselves as much as possible.

The Enneagram has profound effects on people. It is most effective when we allow others to discover their type, rather than assuming that we know them better than they know themselves. We seek to be sensitive to their reactions, their changing picture of themselves, and their need to integrate new information.

The Enneagram inspires compassion for others; it should not be used as a tool for stereotyping people.

In seeing the intentions and logic of other types, we become less likely to dismiss, judge, or demean each other. We listen closely to individual stories, recognizing that simply knowing someone’s type does not mean that we know that person. Stereotyping implies an assumption that we already know about a person’s attitude and motivations. Stereotyping limits growth and opportunities in the present.

No individual owns the Enneagram.

The Enneagram cannot be controlled, monopolized, or withheld from public discussion. Restricting the right to communicate, develop and share information about the system is contrary to the IEA’s spirit of being a global learning community.

The system encourages teachers and practitioners to “walk the talk” of transformation.

The Enneagram challenges teachers and practitioners to embody the work of transformation, to stand as living examples of self-inquiry and practical change in the service of growth.

We can and should be a source of help for one another. It is important to listen respectfully to different points of view and communicate honestly in exploring the possibilities of awakening connected with Enneagram teachings.

The Enneagram aids us in waking up from habits and recurring defensive patterns. As a learning community, we each serve to remind others of the differences among us and of the need to be respectful of different points of view. Adherence to doctrine and theory are far less important than keeping the conversation open.

IEA Accredited Professionals shall not confuse the public about their relationship with the IEA. They shall not misuse the IEA’s resources for their own personal gain. They shall not misrepresent the extent of any association with the IEA or authorization by the IEA of their programs, services, or products.
IEA Accredited Professionals shall not knowingly take any personal, professional, or monetary advantage of clients, fellow teachers, or the IEA beyond that which is agreed to through mutual agreement or contract.


IEA Accredited Professionals shall conduct themselves in their interaction with others in a manner that brings respect and honor to the International Enneagram Association.

It is the responsibility of each Accredited Professional to aspire to the highest standards of ethical conduct. The Code of Ethics for IEA Accredited Professionals applies only to the work-related activities of its members including the public or professional use of the Enneagram, research, teaching, consulting, personal growth training, personal and business coaching, and other Enneagram-related activities as well.

IEA Accredited Professionals shall strive to maintain the highest levels of competence in their work; they shall recognize and acknowledge the limitations of their expertise; and they shall undertake only those tasks for which they are qualified by education, training, or experience. They shall recognize the need for ongoing education in order to remain professionally competent; and they shall use the appropriate scientific, professional, technical, and administrative resources needed to ensure competence in their professional activities.

IEA Accredited Professionals shall seek to promote integrity in the study, teaching, practice and development of the Enneagram. They shall put the interests of the community at large and the interests of their clients in particular ahead of their own self-interest.

While the vigorous exchange of ideas and debate is encouraged, IEA Accredited Professionals shall show respect for and open-mindedness toward the views of others. Disagreements in public forums with respect to theory and application should be identified as based on personal opinion and experience and address content, not the person.

IEA Accredited Professionals shall strive to present their ideas in a way that is understandable to and appropriate for their audience. They shall remain open to feedback from their clients or audience regarding their content and style of delivery.

While the IEA Accredited Professional’s personal standards, ethics, and worldview are generally a private matter, the ethical standards of the IEA Code of Ethics shall take precedence insofar as they affect the public perception of the Enneagram and the well-being of the students and clients.

Professional Conduct with Clients and Students

IEA Accredited Professionals shall not enter into inappropriate personal or business relationships with their clients or students. Inappropriate relationships are marked by a significant difference in power such as by age, control of income or other forms of influence by the professional over the client or student’s personal or work life, or by a difference in ability to understand the implications of such a relationship.  If using the Enneagram as a consultant, therapist, teacher, spiritual director, or healer, IEA Accredited Professionals shall adhere to the standards of their field in their relationships with their clients and students.

Should an IEA Accredited Professional recognize any personal limitations or problems that might interfere with providing service to others, they shall openly communicate this and seek advice and counsel from one who is qualified to give it.

IEA Accredited Professionals shall show the utmost respect for the rights of privacy of others. They shall not violate the confidentiality of their clients or students.

Since the needs of the client are paramount, IEA Accredited Professionals shall terminate their services to a particular client should it become reasonably clear that the services are not providing benefit to the recipient.

IEA Accredited Professionals shall make only such statements and claims in representing their services that are true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and belief. No statement or claim shall be made that gives false information about their services or about the services of competitors. This ethical obligation extends to paid or unpaid advertising whether printed or not, interviews, press releases, media promotions, social media posts and comments and so forth. IEA Accredited Professionals are also responsible for the public statements made at their request by their agents and contractors.

IEA Accredited Professionals shall clearly describe the training objectives and requirements, if any, that must be met for satisfactory completion of all programs they deliver.

Ethical Pledge

All IEA Accredited Professionals acknowledge and agree to the expectations identified in the IEA Ethical Guidelines and IEA Accredited Professional Code of Ethics. They pledge to honor this commitment. They recognize that the IEA, at its discretion following appropriate due process, may hold them accountable for doing so. This accountability may include admonishment and/or sanctions, such as revocation of IEA accreditation and/or professional membership.

The IEA is a volunteer-run, non-profit, membership organization. All IEA Accredited Professionals recognize and acknowledge this and agree that the IEA is not liable for any alleged harm or injury, financial or otherwise, that might result from (1) a decision to award IEA accreditation to or withdraw IEA accreditation or membership from any individual, (2) any violation or alleged violation of this policy by any individual, or (3) any alleged action or failure to act on the part of the IEA in response to a claimed violation of this policy.

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