Models for coaching

Johari Window

The Johari Window Model offers a unique approach to fostering self-awareness, increased emotional intelligence and personal development.

Useful in coaching for Making a Change, Self-Awareness, Understanding Behaviour 

Johari Window Diagram and Model

The Johari window is a model used to improve communication and increase self-awareness. It consists of a four-quadrant grid that represents what is known and unknown to oneself and others. The four quadrants are the open/self area, the hidden area, the blind area, and the unknown area. The model is commonly used in psychology, business, and personal development.

History of the Johari Window Model

The Johari Window Model was developed by American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955 as a result of their research on group dynamics at the University of California. The name “Johari” is a combination of the first parts of the creators’ first names (Joseph and Harry). The model was initially designed to enhance individuals’ perception of others and improve communication within groups.

Over time, the Johari Window Model has evolved and become an essential tool for coaching, as it emphasises the importance of self-awareness, open communication, and feedback in personal growth and development.

Introduction to the Johari Window Model

The Johari Window Model is based on two core ideas: building trust by disclosing personal information and learning about oneself through feedback from others. The model is visually represented as a four-quadrant windowpane, where each quadrant signifies personal information, feelings, and motivations. These quadrants are:

Johari Window Diagram and Model
  1. Open/self-area or arena
  2. Blind self or blind spot
  3. Hidden area or façade
  4. Unknown area

1. Open/Self-Area or Arena

The open/self-area, also known as the arena, is the quadrant where information about an individual’s attitudes, behaviour, emotions, feelings, skills, and views is known to both the individual and others. This area is where most communication occurs, and the larger the arena, the more effective and dynamic the interpersonal relationships will be.

Johari Window - 1. Open Area or Arena

In groups or relationships, the size of the open area is heavily related to the level of psychological safety and trust within that dynamic. The higher the psychological safety and trust, the more likely people are to widen their open area. It’s generally accepted that having a larger open area is important in building stronger relationships, better team dynamics and enhancing self-awareness. By increasing the size of the open area through feedback solicitation and self-disclosure, we can develop a better understanding of our strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement.

2. Blind Self or Blind Spot

The blind self, or blind spot, refers to the information known to others in a group but unknown to the individual. This can include aspects of a person’s behaviour or personality that they may not be aware of but are observed by others. Reducing the blind spot is crucial for effective communication, increased self-awareness and personal development.

Johari Window - 2. Blind Spot

By seeking feedback from others, we can become more aware of our blind spots and work on addressing them. This process allows people to develop a more accurate understanding of their behaviour and how it impacts their relationships and goals.

The blind spot is, by its very nature, an area that requires others to feedback any observations in a helpful, positive and non-judgemental way. This is where a coach can be extremely valuable as they’re able to provide objective observations in an encouraging and safe environment.

By demystifying our blindspot we are able to increase our self-awareness and become more aware of the way others see us and our behaviour.

3. Hidden Area or Façade

The hidden area, or façade, represents information that the individual is aware of but chooses to keep hidden from others. This can include personal feelings, past experiences, fears, and secrets that may affect the individual’s relationships with others.

Johari Window - 3. Hidden Area

Our hidden self often represents our shadow side. The part of ourselves that we hide from others or have learnt not to show through conditioning or experience. We all have a hidden self, but it’s worth observing how this self impacts our interactions in the world and our day-to-day behaviour. Repression of parts of our self can often be linked to unhealthy behaviours or personal difficulties if not addressed.

Coaching can offer a safe and supportive environment where people feel comfortable disclosing their hidden areas. By doing so, they can work through any barriers or challenges that may be preventing them from achieving their goals and fostering stronger relationships.

4. Unknown Area

The unknown area refers to information that is unknown to both the individual and others. This can include undiscovered talents, abilities, or feelings that remain hidden due to various factors, such as traumatic past experiences or lack of opportunity for self-exploration.

Johari Window - 4. Unknown

Coaching can play a significant role in helping clients uncover and explore their unknown areas. Through open communication, self-reflection, and observation, clients can discover hidden qualities and capabilities that can contribute to their personal growth and success.

Often, our own self-limiting beliefs prevent us from exploring this area in greater depth and discovering unknown truths about ourselves.

The Johari Window Model in Coaching

Now that we have a clear understanding of the four quadrants of the Johari Window Model, let’s explore how it can be applied in coaching to foster self-awareness and personal development.

The Power of Self-Disclosure

One of the key principles of the Johari Window Model is the importance of self-disclosure in building trust and rapport with others. In coaching, self-disclosure can be a powerful tool for both the coach and the client. By sharing personal experiences and feelings we can build a greater level of self-awareness and understanding about our motivations. Coaching helps in this process as it can create a safe and supportive environment that encourages people to open up and share their own experiences.

Additionally, clients who engage in self-disclosure can develop a deeper understanding of their emotions, motivations, and thought processes. This process can lead to increased self-awareness and improved decision-making, ultimately contributing to personal growth and goal achievement.

Building Trust through Feedback

Another critical aspect of the Johari Window Model is the role of feedback in increasing self-awareness and improving communication. Honest and constructive feedback is essential for helping us identify our blind spots, strengths, and areas of improvement.

By actively seeking feedback from their others, we can develop a more accurate understanding of our behaviour and how it impacts our relationships and goals. This process enables people to make informed decisions about their personal and professional development, ultimately leading to greater success and satisfaction.

Exploring the Unknown

The unknown area of the Johari Window Model represents untapped potential and undiscovered aspects of an individual’s personality and capabilities. In coaching, exploring the unknown can be a transformative experience that helps clients uncover hidden talents, abilities, and passions that contribute to their personal and professional growth.

Through open communication, self-reflection, and observation, coaches can help clients navigate the unknown and discover new opportunities for growth and success.

Overcoming Challenges and Fostering Growth

The Johari Window Model provides a comprehensive framework for identifying and addressing personal challenges and barriers to growth. Incorporating the model into coaching practice can help build self-awareness, improve communication, and develop strategies for overcoming challenges and achieving their goals.

By working through each quadrant of the Johari Window Model, we can gain a deeper understanding of our emotions, motivations, and thought processes, ultimately leading to greater personal and professional success.

Incorporating the Johari Window Model into Coaching

Incorporating the Johari Window Model into coaching practice can offer several benefits, including:

  1. Improved self-awareness for you
  2. Enhanced communication and relationship-building skills
  3. A comprehensive framework for addressing challenges and fostering growth
  4. A structured approach to providing feedback and soliciting self-disclosure

To effectively use the Johari Window Model in a coaching session, it’s worth considering the following steps:

  1. Introduce the model: Begin by introducing the Johari Window Model and explaining its purpose and benefits. This will help establish a foundation for future coaching sessions and create a shared understanding of the model’s principles.
  2. Encourage self-disclosure: Work with each other to foster a safe and supportive environment that encourages self-disclosure. This can involve sharing personal experiences, feelings, and thoughts, as well as actively listening to and validating clients’ experiences.
  3. Provide feedback: Offer honest and constructive feedback to help identify blind spots, strengths, and areas of improvement. Encourage clients to actively seek feedback from others and integrate this feedback into their personal and professional development.
  4. Explore the unknown: Work with clients to uncover hidden talents, abilities, and passions that may be residing in their unknown area. This process can involve open communication, self-reflection, and observation, as well as the use of various tools and assessments.
  5. Monitor progress: Regularly review and assess clients’ progress in working through the Johari Window Model. Celebrate successes, address challenges, and adjust coaching strategies as needed to support clients in achieving their goals.


The Johari Window Model is a powerful tool to foster self-awareness and personal development. By incorporating the model into coaching sessions, we can help clients build trust, improve communication, and uncover hidden potential, ultimately leading to greater personal and professional success.

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