The “Johari Window” and the way how to make sense of it.

Published by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, this tool is intended for the assessment of positive attributes. (The so-called Nohari-window is used for assessing negative attributes.) The name of the model is a hybrid of the names (Joe and Harry – Johari). Initially, this model was designed to measure individual effectiveness.


Making sense of the Johari Window


To understand the “self”, two dimensions are delineated- the behavioral features that are known to self and those concerning the person known to others. The areas very in size. Thus, for instance, when a child is born, the “unknown” area covers almost the entire diagram. As life progresses and a person gains self-knowledge and the people around him or her become acquainted with him or her, the “Blind spot” area continuously shrinks ant the size of the other areas grows correspondingly.

The Johari Window

Arena – Illustrating the public “self”, this quadrant represents traits of subjects of which both they and their peers are aware. The “arena” quadrant contains information such as name, physical appearance, family, corporate, political or other open affiliations, etc.

Blind spot – The “blind spot”  quadrant presents data to which others, but not the subject, are privy. For example, a person can be flamboyant, bumptious or mannered without realizing it and he or she might be surprised and skeptical when hearing a remark about this aspect of his or her personality of which he or she is unaware. This is a field where coaching plays a significant role in that the coach, who holds up a mirror and provides objective feedback, helps to reduce the “blind spot”.

Hidden – The so-called “hidden” quadrant represents information about individuals of which their peers are unaware, that is to say, secret information. For example, an employee might feel uncomfortable about being not offered a seat by his or her boss at an office meeting but would withhold their opinion and accept the situation. A substantial segment of the “hidden” quadrant contains suppressed remarks for the purpose of maintain a good relationship.

Unknown – The “unknown” area is unapproachable for both the “self” and “others” who are in contact with them. Some psychologists describe it as a very large area consisting attributes and actions coming to light only under certain circumstances (accident, emergency, a special life stage, or other very rare and exceptional cases.) For example if someone asks me whether I could swim in an icy river I would say no. But if my child fell in, I am sure I would be able to.

This is a great tool which can help improve self-awareness and is recommended to coach and coachee. 


Source: Toolful coach – SPARKLE coaching model with 150 useful tools and case studiesAuthor: Laura Komócsin PCC; Coach editor: Zita Delevich, PhD