Skip navigation

Ian Cron on What an Ancient Personality Test Reveals About Your Prospects

In this Elite Advisor Blueprint podcast, we cover a time-tested method for gaining deep insight into your clients’ hidden motives.


Ian Cron is a man of many trades. He’s a psychotherapist and an Episcopal priest, a bestselling author and an avid student of what makes people tick. He’s also a teacher of the Enneagram.  

What is the Enneagram?

The Enneagram is a personality-typing system that’s been in use for centuries. The origins are unknown, but its accuracy is uncanny. The Enneagram breaks down the human personality into nine types. Everyone falls into a category, revealing how the individual is wired, both positively and negatively.

This knowledge can be extremely helpful for financial professionals, which is why I invited Ian on the show. To truly understand how it works, I’d recommend figuring out your personal number first which can be done in about five minutes with Ian’s free Enneagram quiz. Then if you’d like to dig deeper, grab a copy of his book called The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey of Self-Discovery.

Ian’s teachings on the Enneagram have greatly impacted my professional life and personal life.

And I’m not the only one. Ian shared a great story on the podcast about another financial planner whose career prospered thanks to using the Enneagram.

One Financial Advisor’s Enneagram Testimonial

“Joe” was a Yale and Harvard Business School graduate who worked for many years at Goldman Sachs.

Soon after setting out on his own, Joe dropped by Ian’s office and said “I have a client who’s really thorny. I need some advice, because he represents a big chunk of our business, and I want more of it.”

Joe described his client as “combative, aggressive, confrontational ... a terrifically powerful presence and personality… a ‘General Patton’ type — ‘lead me, follow me or get out of the way.’”

“What should I do?” Joe asked Ian.

Ian asked Joe how he interacts with this client. Joe said, “I’m very diplomatic. He has tons of questions and gets right up in my face. I try to calm him down.”

 Ian responded, “Well, based on what you told me, I’m gonna bet this guy is an 8 on the Enneagram.”

Of the nine core personality types, people who are “8s” are called “Challengers.” They are blunt to a fault. They tend not to trust people until they’ve proven themselves trustworthy. Challengers test you and keep testing you until they feel you’ve “passed.” Challengers will get into verbal tussles to see if your hidden agenda will spill out, and won’t respect you unless they know you can stand your ground.

Here’s the golden advice Ian gave to Joe: “When you go on those meetings, be respectful. And when this guy powers up on you, you need to meet him with every bit as much power as he throws at you. If you do, he’ll relax. He’ll realize, ‘Okay, there’s another big dog on the porch, I’m not the only one.’ And then he’ll be ready to do business with you.”

Sure enough, that’s what happened.

Listen to Ian tell the story in his words here

Create Better Client Interactions with the Enneagram

Take the free quiz on Ian’s website to learn your Enneagram score. Once you’ve done that (and you’ve read Ian’s book to get a good overview of what different scores mean), you can begin applying it to your face-to-face client interactions.

Ian says the Enneagram will help you dramatically change your outlook on life. You realize that each person is seeing the world differently. Each client you meet with has their own perspective of the world.

You begin entering every client meeting with the realization that they probably don’t see the world the same way you do.

Once you become adept at scoring your clients with the Enneagram, you will have a much better idea how to serve them.

Find a Mentor

Ian had other excellent advice for financial advisors. A long time ago, he read this quote: “A young man who doesn’t have an older man who admires him is impoverished.”

If Ian has one regret in life, it’s that he didn’t have a mentor when he was young. His father was consumed with his own problems. Ian therefore encourages his generation to do something they don’t often do: Admire someone younger. And mentor them. Your time and care will make a profound difference in their life, especially if they are new in the business world.

Develop Your Self Awareness for the Sake of Your Business

Ian shared a final thought that stuck with me, a quote from neurologist and Holocaust survivor Dr. Viktor Frankl: “Between stimulus and response, there’s a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. And in our response, lies our growth and our freedom.”

The larger that space between stimulus and response becomes in our life, the more we can grow our self-awareness. In the moment, we can take a step back, and respond differently. This will make us better financial professionals, and better people.   

If you’re interested in hearing more about Ian’s work as an Enneagram expert, you have to listen to the rest of our conversation. You can hear the whole thing, get links to every tool and resource discussed, and download an exclusive gift from Ian at

Full show notes here:

Brad Johnson, vice president of advisor development for Advisors Excel, mentors a small group of the country’s most elite financial advisors. Find more episodes of The Elite Advisor Blueprint podcast at

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.