Good multi-tasking this morning. Got JJ walked, got some sun and some beach … all while listening away to the Test Client call of one of our 2014 Visual Coach candidates. Really beautiful morning!

Reviewing Visual Coach's Client Work ... on Beach!

Reviewing Visual Coach’s Client Work … on Beach!

Visual Coach Certification is a thorough program.   There are 10 training webinars, a self paced client phase (where students accumulate 24 hours of Visual Coaching time with their clients), plus a final ‘Exit Exam’ … where they submit their work for my review, including a recording of their session with a client (doing a map of my choice).

 That’s what I was doing on the beach (listening to this coach’s call with her client and reviewing her work, in this case the ‘Focus on Me’ move).

 This particular coach did a great job, I’ll release congratulations once we’re fully through the test process.


One thing she needs to remember, as do some of her colleagues, is to use red sparingly. Red (and black) are SUPER POWERFUL colors, which are very useful. We want to save them for content that is also super powerful (and on a few other things like titles, sub-titles and bullets … as an aesthetic enhancer). We don’t want to use red to record run of the mill content. If we do that, then its like the “Peter and Wolf story”, nobody will pay attention when we do use it.   So use red only for the really important stuff, that way its power will remain strong and the eye will be drawn on the page to the stuff that is red (same goes for orange and for black).


While I’m at it, here are some other general color tips for Visual Coaching (and other template based work).

Main Content Colors:  Blue, Brown, Green and Purple (main points in CAPITALS, supplemental in lower case … black ok for lower case, but don’t use on capitals unless is a title, sub-title or something super important).

Highlighting: Yellow and Orange (and other pastels, depending on nature of content).

Important Content: Black and Red (in capitals), and arches over or under.

Titles, Sub-Titles & Bullets: Black and Red (or if you use other color, keep it consistent across whole chart and only use for these things, not regular content).

Icons: Black (then a color layer of appropriate color afterwards, either inside the lines or outside as a halo).

Shadow/Depth: Grey (all the ‘lefts’ and ‘bottoms’ of shapes and icons)

Some Tips on Color Use

Some Tips on Color Use

The ‘only way out is through’ Visual Coaches … the more you do the work the more ‘unconsciously competent’ it becomes.  Mileage, mileage, mileage is the name of the game!

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The SHIFT-IT Coach and Interactive-Visuals Mentor

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  1. Jill Langer on

    Thanks for sharing your tips! You mention the four main content colours, do you have any other tips as far as how many to use? Are some better suited for certain topics or placement on a map?

  2. Christina Merkley on

    Hi Jill 🙂

    In template work (which differs from live graphic recording work) the number of colors you use depends on how many separate ‘containers’ are built in your template. The one above in the photo has 9 different containers (a nine-zie) … 8 are placeholders for the various areas of life (as this exercise helps a person evaluate their satisfaction level in 8 different areas of life … coaches will recognize it as a version of a ‘life wheel’) the final ninth one is to be completed after the other ones are done (called ‘insights’ … a container to hold clients’ ‘ahhas’ about their thinking work).

    Soooo, you have a few options. Either use the four content colors two times each. Or alternatively you could opt to keep it simple, just use two of them, and alternate them. For the insights, since its a summary move to extract out some real ahhas, I would opt to put those in red.

    Yes, colors have a meta tone to them. Which differs according to culture. Green is great for money/financial or for growth. Brown is good for more grounded or serious stuff. Blue is a good basic color (think ‘corporate blue’, you are pretty safe using it in lots of content areas). Purple is more passionate or creative, so save it for content that reflects that.

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