The P.A.T.H.*™ Process

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

Why P.A.T.H.™?

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. You will have clear concrete steps and supports articulated to ensure it happens. All in 3 hours! Then you can offer this gift to friends, family, colleagues and groups. A side bonus is building your graphic and visioning skills.

P.A.T.H.™ vs. Strategic Planning

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? Can you…

  • Choose a time where you can give your full attention to the process?
  • Make sure it is quiet where you are?
  • Make sure you have a good internet connection where you have good audio and good ability to speak?
  • Bring some colored pens or markers and a large sheet of paper to the session?

What You get

  • Pre-work instructions to help you get the best out of the session
  • 2.5 hour planning session (10 minute break at half way point) (value – $500)
  • 30 minutes of coaching in drawing simple graphics (bonus – offered 30 minutes before session starts) (value – $100)
  • A 3-5 year plan with words and images for your life and work (which you will easily create yourself) with clear 12-18 month goals and specific steps for the next 1-4 months (value – very high!)
  • Colorful PDF handout with step by step instructions to be able to offer this session to others after your own PATH is done (value – $100- $1000’s if you offer this to others for a cost)


$595 for one-on-one individual session

Please inquire for group pricing

Get Started Here

In the short term, Barbara is unavailable to do the P.A.T.H.™ process with clients. Please email one of our trusted colleagues with a minimum of 3 dates and times that are convenient to you.

Lyn Wong (Singapore),
Grace Tan (Singapore),
Robin Parsons (Canada),
Dawn Newman (Florida, USA),
Rangineh Azimzadeh Tosang (California, USA),
Shelby Pierce (Iowa, USA),

Note: Graphic coaching session starts 30 minutes before each planning session. This is optional but will greatly enhance the beauty of your P.A.T.H.™  We can also send you written tips of doing graphics if you cannot join early.


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