The P.A.T.H.*™ Process

* Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope (Pearpoint, O’Brien and Forrest^)

When you only have a half day to “kick off“ a planning effort, this short and powerful graphic planning process is excellent for individuals or groups about to begin a project or explore a new life/work direction. This exercise achieves great motivation and focus for groups and individuals who want to focus only on the next 12-24 months, as opposed to the typical five year strategic planning effort.  It does not replace the strategic planning process but can be used to as a “stop” gap measure if your time or budget is limited, or you are focusing on only one specific aspect of your organizational mission. It is excellent as a team building exercise.

It is best with groups of  6 to 30 persons. It also works very well for single individuals, couples or families who are in a transition phase of their life or career.

^This process was developed by Jack Pearpoint, John O‘Brien and Marsha Forrest in the 1990s in Toronto, Canada based on their earlier model called MAPS.  It was originally developed as a person-centered planning process designed to level the playing field for people with disabilities to co-plan their ways forward with their network of community/support.  

PATH Collage

Benefits of the P.A.T.H.™ Planning Process:

Participants find the following benefits from participating in a P.A.T.H.™ planning process:

  • Builds common understanding and support for a group or individual
  • Mediates conflicts for people who desire changing the ways they work
  • Kick-starts a project or a program
  • Tangible product which can motivate future actions

Description of the P.A.T.H.™ Process:

The process ideally involves two facilitators – one to graphically illustrate the group’s thinking; the other to graphically depict the individual’s or group’s thinking on each part of the process.

The facilitators guide the group to explore the vision and short term goals, then identify who will support you in realizing the goals and action steps to achieve the goals. The group or individual receives a visual, colorful record of the ideas that emerge from the process for future reference. This process can be followed up with a more thorough strategic planning process some time later.

We take you through 8 steps:

1. Touching the Dream – the “North Star”

2. Sensing the Goal

3. Grounding in the Now

4. Identifying People to Enroll

5. Recognizing Ways to Build Strength

6. Charting Action for the Next Few Months

7. Planning the Next Month’s Work

8. Committing to the Final Step

Interested in Learning More?

Visit our blog article, Gaining Clarity And Meaning For Your Life In 3 Hours. We also explain the benefits of a P.A.T.H. below.

Ready to begin?

Go here to register for a virtual one-on-one P.A.T.H. planning session with Barbara

Go here to email Barbara to book a group P.A.T.H. planning session.


After participating in a one-on-one virtual P.A.T.H. session with Barbara, Kathleen writes,
“I am so jazzed about this….thank you for your beautiful graphics and your deep listening. I appreciate it more than I can express. Thank you again for your thoughtful attention, sharing this wonderful process, the photo scans of my PATH, and mailing it so quickly.”
–Kathleen Paulo, Public Health Manager & External Consultant, Oakland, CA