How Organizational Leaders, Consultants and Facilitators Can Use Interactive-Visuals

Note: This article is the second in a 3-part series. The first article explained how Authors, Speakers and Trainers can use Interactive-Visuals to better their work . In today’s article, the second in the series, I’ll explain how Organizational Leaders, Consultants and Facilitators most commonly use the visual approach. And in an upcoming third article, I’ll explain how Interactive-Visuals are used effectively in coaching, therapy, counseling and other personal development work (a topic close to my heart).

Before We Begin: Some Background Info …
In the Interactive-Visuals genre, there are four main ways of using visuals to work with groups and individuals, they are: custom chart work, visual scribing / recording (i.e. graphic recording), visual facilitation (sometimes called graphic facilitation) and visual coaching (sometimes called graphic coaching).

Depending on the nature of your Process Practice you may use one, several, or all of the approaches. I have covered these four applications in another article, so I won’t duplicate myself again here. Rather, in this new series of articles, I’ll explain which types of professionals tend to use which applications and why. (if you aren’t familiar with the four ways of working, you’ll want to read that article first).

Part Two:
One arena where Interactive-Visuals is used very successfully is in the organizational world. By being strategically used by organizational leaders and the employees, consultants and facilitators who are engaged within companies – often focused on organizational change and its implementation and management.

Already Have an Articulated Story with Clear, Concise Messaging:
-If the leadership is already clear about the changes their organization needs to go through, and the ways that the change will be implemented and managed … then handy custom visual materials can be created in partnership with an Interactive-Visuals specialist to effectively communicate the intended journey and outcomes. These materials can be created in a whole slew of different forms and formats, depending on what would best serve the particulars of the situation (i.e. large size murals, smaller size charts and printouts, digital & web versions (with or without embedded multi-media, explainer videos, etc … for more information see “Custom Chartwork” section of the 4 Main Ways of Working article).

Don’t Have a Clear Story, Plan or Messages Yet:
If the organization does not yet have a clear story, plan or messaging … then other Interactive-Visual methods can be used either by internal staff or external contractors to get the story, plan and messages clearly defined and articulated (then cascaded throughout the organization so everyone understands and implements their role in the Big Picture).

The most effective visual method for this type of clarity, communication and implementation work is true Graphic Facilitation (some also call it Visual Facilitation). I say ‘true’ because there is currently A LOT of misunderstanding about this term in the visual community and in the client base who hire us. Many are mixing this term up with Graphic Recording (also called Visual Recording, Scribing or Sketchnotes) its more passive/benign cousin where visual notes are taken off to the side with little or no interaction with the participants.

True Graphic Facilitation is where the visual methodology is fully integrated into the meeting process (not just a cute, entertaining, artsy thing done off on the side). True Graphic Facilitation is not particularly neat, tidy or pretty. Instead it is in-the-moment, co-created, roll-up-your-sleeves, messy, functional … its all about wrestling and teasing the wisdom out of groups in real time (if you want it pretty … you take that hard won content and tidy it up later in Custom Chartwork or videos, etc.). For more info on Graphic Facilitation, see 4 Main Ways of Working Visually article.

 Facilitating Grove's Portfolio Analysis Map

Facilitating Grove’s
Portfolio Analysis Map

School Principal Building Vision
with Teachers

Useful Facilitation Aids:

In the earlier years of my career, I was employed by David Sibbet via his company The Grove Consultants in San Francisco. Its wonderful to see David getting well deserved recognition for his pioneering work in true Graphic Facilitation (via his popular Visual Book series by Wiley Press).  FYI, for you internal change agents and/or outside contractors who facilitate — The Grove produces a whole series of Visual Facilitation products that are excellent. I direct you most specifically to their suite of Graphic Guides (back in grad school I helped write some of these while on an internship).

Note: I have been a long-time associate of The Grove since I created my own company in 2001. Use my last name “Merkley” to receive 15% off most products.

Other Visual Facilitation Processes:
Change Management is a large umbrella term that many different types of consulting, facilitation and group processes fall under. To be clear, Visual Facilitation techniques can be used in many, many different types of group processes including:

… brainstorming/idea generation, history & life mapping, visioning, strategic planning & action plans, conflict resolution/mediation techniques, succession planning, entrepreneur/partner discussions, family councils, world cafes, dialogue circles, value proposition work, values & mission/vision clarification, product development, process mapping, etc. etc. etc.

Basically any group gathering where people come together to talk and sort things out can benefit from proper application of Visual Facilitation methods. School District Visioning Project Mapping Ideas From Breakout Group.

School District Visioning Project

School District Visioning Project

Mapping Ideas From Breakout Group

Mapping Ideas From Breakout Group

Strategic Planning Event

Strategic Planning Event Gathering Together Top Leadership

As you can see, Interactive-Visuals gives Organizational Leaders, Consultants and Facilitators some wonderful tools in which to more effectively engage their companies and clients. Next issue, I’ll continue with Part 3 of this series … how Coaches, Therapists and Other Helping Professionals can benefit from the use of Interactive-Visuals.

P.S: Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals is a GREAT First Step
Intrigued by the visual way of working?! Want to learn how to apply this powerful methodology to your own work with groups and/or individuals? Our Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals workshop provides a thorough training on the basics for all four genres of the work (Custom Chart Work, Visual Recording, Visual Facilitation and Visual Coaching). Offered online in the Fall and In-Person in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in the Spring. Private Trainings and In-House Workshops are also available. For more info contact

©2013 Christina L. Merkley

You can, as long as you include this blurb and a functional link to my site:

Author’s Bio: Christina Merkley, “The SHIFT-IT Coach” and creator of the SHIFT-IT System®, is a Visioning and Strategic Planning Expert specializing in Visual Thinking and Law of Attraction techniques. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she works deeply with individuals, partners and conscious businesses to define and manifest what they truly want. And, trains other process professionals in her innovative ways of working. For more information visit: and

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