Graphic coaching is a new, visual way to do coaching and personal development work. This article gives you the lowdown on this emerging methodology: the who, what, where, when and why of it, as well as a little bit of the how thrown in for good measure.

The WHO:
‘Graphics’ has been used in corporate and business settings as a thinking, planning and decision-making technology with great success over the last 30+ years (see History of the Field article). As a graphic coaching pioneer, I have woven the visual skills of graphic recording and graphic facilitation into the realm of life coaching, personal development and law of attraction work.

Why should the benefits of interactive visuals be reaped just by large corporations and organizations? They shouldn’t! Now you can have these fantastic thinking methods applied to you, your couple and/or your business partner or small team. Get clarity about what you really want and how to get it. Graphic Coaching literally draws your answers and actions right out of you.

Graphic coaching is an alliance between the coach and client. The coach creates a ‘container’ in which the individual, couple, or business partners do strategic thinking on whatever is most pressing for them. The process has a very visual component to it – meaning that the client’s thoughts and feelings are literally drawn out of them, by their coach, who uses paper and markers to write down what they are saying.

These displays act as large mirrors, helping people to see just what is going on inside their head and heart. And make decisions about their next moves and options – what they next want to create (I call it “Become Your Next Self”).

Graphic coaching occurs either in person or over the phone. Coach and client(s) meet face-to-face to create large, wall-size displays, or work by phone off of small, pre-drawn templates that can be faxed and/or emailed back and forth.

Clients normally come to Graphic Coaching when they are standing at a crossroads of some sort … and/or their satisfaction has been interrupted and they want to get it back (in Law of Attraction speak, they are ‘out of the vortex’ and want to get back in).

The coaching work might occur in an intensive retreat over several days, or be spread out over weeks or months in separate meetings or through a series of calls.

The WHY:
Graphic coaching is a very effective medium. People are drawn to it (full pun intended!) for a variety of reasons: it’s engaging, creative and highly practical. It makes thinking easier and more enjoyable. It appeals to many types of thinkers: especially visual and kinesthetic people (88% of the population). It is a systems-approach: meaning you get all the different aspects of an issue or problem onto the large paper: enabling you to connect the dots and see how things ar inter-related. Insights, ahhas and breakthroughs are prevalent. You see how you are creating your current reality and you can choose if and how you want to course correct.

Working in a visual way gives coaching clients something tangible to see, hold and distribute – there is a tangible record of what you have done and the decisions and conclusions that you have reached. Typical coaching techniques rely primarily on the auditory sense (the thinking goes off into thin air), with graphic coaching you have visual reports from your sessions that remind you of what occurred. It’s functional art to post around your home, office and on the computer. And, you can use these visual aids to communicate your coaching work and decisions to loved ones, colleagues and trusted advisors.

The How:
If you are standing at a crossroads and would like to be coached, see my various private and group coaching programs to find the right one for you.

If you are a coach, counselor, therapist, consultant, etc … and are interested in learning foundational graphic skills to use in your own practice, then see my recently announced Graphic Coaching Clinic. I’ve been asked for years to train other helping professionals in my rare skills, and now I am in this three-day fundamental skills training held in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia.

© 2009 Christina L. Merkley

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it:

Christina Merkley, “The SHIFT-IT Coach” and creator of the SHIFT-IT Method® is a Visioning and Strategic Planning Expert specializing in Graphic Facilitation and Law of Attraction techniques. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she works deeply with individuals, partners and groups in defining and getting what they really, really want. For more information visit:

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