How to Use The "Johari Window" Tool for a New Perspective on The Inner Critic | By Ruby McGuire

peopleMH900443443I was taught the Johari's Window model many moons ago by one of my mentors. It's a fabulous model to help your clients see both how they perceive themselves, and how others might perceive them.

Because we make a LOT of assumptions in life. For example, if someone looks us up and down we might assume they're judging our appearance or clothes, when they're actually thinking how fantastic we look! Assumptions like these can lead to the inner critic kicking in, creating lots of unnecessary and often untrue stories.

Let's go through the model to become clear how it relates to coaching and the inner critic.

Box 1 (top left – the "Open/Free" area)

This is what you know about you AND others know about you too. Example: You know you're kind and others confirm that to you too.

The Goal:  Explore with your client what they know to be true about themselves, and help them acknowledge what comes up in the exploration. They could be positive traits, for example, "I'm a good listener, I really help people to feel heard". Or it could be more 'negative' traits for example, "I'm a perfectionist and it's impacting on my life and driving my partner completely crazy".

Ruby Johari Window

As with any coaching tool, help them to understand that awareness is the first step in creating positive change, and then brainstorm ways in which they can make positive changes in their lives.

Box 2 (top right - the "Blind" area)

These are the things that you don't know about yourself, but OTHERS know about you. This is your 'blind spot' and again could be positive or negative. Example: Those moments when someone tells you, "You're amazing at such and such", and you're surprised. "Ooh am I?! I didn't know that about me."

The Goal: To develop this area with your clients so they raise their self-awareness - and see a fuller picture of themselves. Help them come up with strengths that they have overlooked because it's something that comes naturally to them.

Tip: If they're coming up with lots of negative ideas then help them reframe their perspective. Challenge their assumptions and work with them to see things differently. Once you've done that, you can work with them to identify ways they could develop and grow.

Box 3 (bottom left - the "Hidden" area)

This is what YOU know about you, but others don't know. This is where you put on a brave face or hide things because you think people won't like you if you share that potentially darker part of you. It could also be things that you're afraid of, your fears and insecurities. Examples: I'm afraid people won't like me if they find out that I didn't graduate, or I hate the way I look without make-up, or I feel like a fraud - pretending to be a coach when I've only just finished my training.

This last one comes up ALL of the time with business owners, especially with my clients when they're thinking about stepping up their visibility. The reality however, is that people LOVE it when you're real, when you share your vulnerabilities. They connect with you on a much deeper level than when you hide away.

The Goal: Work with your client to uncover the insecurities, explore the worst-case scenario with them, work on those limiting beliefs together. Reassure them that fear is a normal response when approaching something new, and help them come up with a fabulous plan where they can take small steps to achieve their bigger goal.

Box 4 (bottom left - the "Unknown" area)

This is what's unknown about you and also unknown by others - sometimes called your unknown self. I always find this one a bit bizarre at first, but once you dig a bit deeper it makes more sense! Examples of this might be subconscious feelings, fears, limiting beliefs, conditioned behaviours etc. These will be revealed over time. Example: We sometimes know something is holding us back but are not sure what it is. It might be that there is some experience that needs to be uncovered and released, or even hidden potential.

The Goal: Help the client start on a journey of self-discovery. Through exploration they can start to notice repetitive behaviours, recurring patterns and limiting beliefs that are holding them back, and you can then work with the client to shine a light on these areas and help them be the best they can be.


The Johari Window is a great tool for communication and helping a client learn more about themselves. It helps them understand that they can't always see what others see in them. They might have blind spots (Box 2) and hidden fears, insecurities or (Box 3). By exploring, sharing and talking about those fears they will learn they aren't on their own with their fears, and that their fears can be overcome.

And finally, what could you learn about you from using The Johari Window Tool?

PS. Are you ready to stop being invisible? You didn't sign up to running your own business to struggle or stay broke. It's time that you and your fabulous business were seen, both on and offline. To check how well you're doing with your visibility, subscribe and grab your copy of Ruby's free Visibility Quiz here.

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Contributing Author:

Ruby McGuire is a Business & Mindset Queen. She's an Accredited Master Coach & Master Mentor with the IAPC&M, Trainer, Inspirational Speaker and Author of multiple books. She loves helping her clients step up and become leaders (aka Queens) of their businesses. She helps her clients develop their leadership and business skills, create a success mindset and attract dreamy clients. She is a Brit on a mission to live a simpler life without marketing on social media so that she can spend more time in her beautiful Scottish surroundings. You can find her at her pretty online home, over on her podcast show, Rock Your Fabulous Biz, and here where she shares her Mini Guide to Marketing Without Social Media. When she’s not working you’ll find her surrounded by books, making hand-made cards, and enjoying life with her hubby, little dog and chickens (usually with a Whittard Vanilla cappuccino in her hand)!

Learn more about Ruby & see all their articles here >>

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