Since interpersonal communication is a learnt skill, and a crucial asset in Life Coaching, it would make sense to create a simple working model to improve my self-awareness capacity in relation to this skill. Fortunately, we have at our disposal such a model which is called, “Johari’s Window”. The metaphorical use of the word window is applied in this instance to separate the four quadrants, which represent different aspects of the whole self. These are namely: the open self, the blind self, the hidden self, and the unknown self. These different “parts” work as a dynamic, interdependent and transactional process that is ever-changing (DeVito, 2019).
Therefore, if I am to improve my interpersonal interactions and communications with those around me, I will open myself to applying the teachings of this model. In my view, the whole point is to grow my “open self”, while exploring and shrinking the rest (DeVito, 2019). In time, I will better understand many of my unconscious processes when dealing with myself and the world, and further will be able to alter those processes that may be limiting or sabotaging my potential for success.
First, we must understand each quadrant and its function.
The first quadrant is the open self. This relates to your beliefs, behaviours, values, desires and ideas that both you and others know about you. Examples of this may include your skin colour, nationality, name, age and religion. This is often information that you are happy to share with others, without fear of repercussions (DeVito, 2019). A good Life Coach in your area will be able to add great value in helping you to recognise the positive aspects of your open self.
Next, is the blind self. This relates to elements about you that you are ignorant about, but which others are aware of. An example can include moments when you are nervous and you talk faster than usual, which someone may point out to you (DeVito, 2019).
Thirdly, is the hidden self. This pertains to the things you know about yourself of which you choose not to share with anyone. This may include embarrassing habits you may have, or even your financial situation (DeVito, 2019). This information is often hidden due to self-disclosure concerns.
Lastly, it the unknown self. The pertains to things about you that no one, include you are aware of. It is yet to be discovered (DeVito, 2019). This can include how you deal with major trauma if you have not yet been exposed to it, or a useful skill you have yet to learn.
I find that before a person works with their own self-improvement, whether with a counsellor or not, tend to rely on whatever they have been taught in the past, and whatever has worked for them in the past. I relate this to basic survival mechanisms. I say that those behaviours, beliefs, values etc, helped you to survive. These can always be useful when survival is necessary. However, in order to thrive will require a whole new set of tools, and this is where use of the Johari’s window come in. If a society is to aim for high levels of mental health and self-awareness, then education and guidance activities should be considered from the first years of education (Osmanoğlu, 2019).
Thanks for reading
Donovan – Life Coach
DeVito, J.A. (2019). Perception of the self and others. The interpersonal communication book. (15th ed., pp. 69-100). Pearson education.
Osmanoğlu, D.E (2019). Expansion of the open area (Johari window) and group work directed to enhancing the level of subjective well-being. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 7(5). https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v7i54128