The following information provides you with some of the insights we share with the participants of the Natural Superheroes events.

03-THE-ACHIEVER-1Type Three – The Achiever

Also known as: The Motivator World View: I am loved for what I have achieved Focus on: Winning Underlying Fear: Of failure Natural Virtues: Courage, honesty, potential, tenacity, excellence Natural Coaching and Leadership Style: Motivational, action orientated

Enthusiastic and highly efficient, THREES have an incredible drive to succeed and produce results. Achievers like to be responsible for their own output and work very quickly indeed. In business they always keep the market in mind and love to work with strategy planning designed to produces results fast. They shine in the workplace because they are naturally driven to make things ‘work’. Self-starters, THREES are happy taking risks; the danger comes when they cut corners to produce results that cost them dearly later. Their core motivation is that success will bring them praise and positive attention from others. THREES like being noticed for their accomplishments and know what it takes to make things happen. Superb at focusing on the task in hand, THREES want to win and believe they can do anything they set their mind to.

Having an infectious energy, THREES can effortlessly motivate and inspire others to do well always focusing on solutions and not problems. At times their approach to a task is so fast that they leave their colleagues behind.

Underlying Issues that arise for Threes

There is a core belief that to gain approval and love of others, one has to promote an image of success and achievement, through performing well, through accomplishment, through constant ‘doing’.

At their worst (when feelings of apathy, grief, fear, lust and anger arise) Deceitful, vain, vindictive, embellishing, self-centred, pretentious, opportunistic, veneered, and superficial, lazy, sloth like, spaced out

At an average-healthy level (when feelings of pride arise and courage) Self-motivated, optimistic, empowering, go getting, energetic, industrious, competent, effective, successful, persistent, focused.

At their very, very best (when they are feeling acceptance for what is and completely at peace) Honest, thoughtful, trustworthy, team driven, practical, responsible

Connected Types


These behavioural tendencies are highlighted through the enneagram diagram by the lines of integration (healthy behaviour) and disintegration (unhealthy behaviour). The arrows within the diagram below follow the direction of where the types move towards when they are feeling stressed.

Healthy – When relaxed and productive, THREES take on some of the characteristics of Sixes (Loyalists)
Unhealthy – When stressed, THREES take on some of the characteristics of NINES (Peacemakers)

Enneagram Type Threes in Relationships

With a strong motivation to succeed in the outer world, threes feel loved for what they have achieved in terms of status or material wealth, and not for who they really are as human beings. Their passion is their work, and getting results. They expect their partner to appreciate their success and winning image and style. This can lead them to presenting a ‘front’ that later they may not be able to live up to. In relationship they can be very enthusiastic, helpful, encouraging and supportive and very action oriented. There can be difficulty in relaxing and having a good work life balance. Personal friends can become expendable when so much time is spent with work related colleagues, and the intimate partner can feel as though they are playing second fiddle to the threes work and achievement agenda.

Threes at Work

The focus is on being competent, efficient, quick, effective and busy and there is an expectation for others to work in the same way. Seeing themselves as experts, there is competitiveness and a desire for quick promotion up the organisational ladder when rewards for progress are clear-cut. There is a desire for incisive and supportive feedback on their progress. There is a desire to be admired for their image, and what they achieve and produce, and there can be confusion between their job identity and their real identity, and the two merge into one. Feelings seem to ‘get in the way’ of getting the job done and are ignored or suppressed. They are often anxious when they have nothing to do and will pack the day doing many different things at the same time. Because of this tendency to avoid their feelings they pretend to ‘do’ them rather than feel them. Doing this is better than self-introspection which may uncover a hollow sense of self. Activity is a quick antidote to anxiety or pain. They will do their best to avoid failure, sometimes at the cost of their integrity as they cut corners and manipulate others in their single-minded desire to achieve a goal. The continual focus on goal-oriented activity can produce collaboration and a win/win result for the team; or this can lead to ignoring the contributions that others can make to the goal, with a desire to take all the credit oneself.

The Leadership style of Threes

The Three leader believes in management by objectives. They are very hardworking, take risks and are real go-getters, and very productive. They are great optimists and motivators and very social. They expect the same of their workforce in terms of motivation to succeed and work hard. When there is success, the whole team is congratulated for their contribution. The downside at the unhealthy level is that success is everything. There is impatience with meetings and getting consensus. Corners have to be cut. This might result in deception (of self and others); using others for their own ends, and taking the credit for all the work.

Time Management Strategies for Threes

Threes rarely have the patience to plan their day effectively. Consequently, their days are often action orientated with over ambitious to do lists for themselves and others.

They have no difficulties in delegating tasks, but they perceive that their patience is all too often tested as people around them are not as naturally driven to produce results as they are.

They achieve successful time management when they set more realistic goals and produce more realistic plans for themselves and others.

They also need to learn to plan in detail to avoid cutting any corners to reduce the risks of failure and ensure that they can enjoy the authentic process of achieving personal and business their goals even more.

Enneagram Type Threes as Coaches

Threes are natural motivators and as such they can inspire almost anyone to do anything. Their energy is infectious but this can lead then to unconsciously lose the reality of a situation which is evidenced by setting goals that are too big. For threes they are better served agreeing realistic and aspirational goals and being happy with the achievement of the first.

Their challenge is also to not push people too hard to fast to get a result. Long term results are often more beneficial to teams than short terms success.

Taking a risk averse approach to coaching ensures a sustainable performance over time.

Threes in Sport

Threes have a natural motivation for winning, sometimes at all costs and they will train hard (sometimes too hard). They benefit greatly from taking time to think about how they will win instead of taking the just do it attitude which in hindsight they always know. They benefit by taking a little more time to consider which shot to play for example in a tennis match.

Winning can be very easy from them when they slow down a fraction and re-channel their desires for winning into the sports performance itself. Patience is a virtue which needs to be developed for training and preparation.

Suggestions for the personal development of an Enneagram Type Three

Start to notice:
  • How have you falsely tried to convince others of your success and credentials.
  • When you have a drive to cut corners
  • When have you burnt yourself out in the never-ending quest for success?
  • When have you treated feelings when they appear to get in the way of your activity?
  • What were you doing when these feelings came up?
  • How much admiration and respect do you really need?
  • Who are you trying to convince or impress?
What you can do and ask of yourself:
  • Could you allow yourself to be more discerning about what you feel you have to do and what you can let go of?
  • Could you allow yourself to be receptive your real feelings?
  • Could you allow yourself to slow down?
  • Is this who you are or are you trying to fit an image?
  • Give equal attention to what you really feel about yourself as you do to what you think others feel about you.
  • Be honest about your own weaknesses and failures.

Famous ‘threes’
with a ‘two’ wing

Business/Political Leaders

  • Sir Alan Sugar
  • Duncan Bannatyne
  • Jeffrey Archer
  • John F Kennedy
  • Theo Paphitis

Sports People

  • Rafael Nadal
  • Michael Schumacher
  • Frankie Dettori
  • Pat Cash
  • Andre Agassi
  • Ayrton Senna
  • Carl Lewis
  • Lance Armstrong


  • Al Pacino
  • Tom Cruise
  • Nicholas Cage
  • Antonio Banderas
  • Sharon Stone
  • Rob Lowe
  • Patrick Swayze
  • Jonathan Ross

Historical Figures

  • John F Kennedy

Famous ‘threes’
with a ‘four’ wing

Current Business/Political Leaders

  • Georgio Armani


As fours are not drawn towards sport there are no examples


  • Madonna
  • Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice)
  • Cher
  • Michael Flatley
  • Janice Dickinson
  • Derren Brown
  • David Copperfield
  • Daniel Day Lewis
  • Rupert Everett