Another client story from my coaching work with Process Professionals … this one’s about developing your niche and getting yourself out there as a content leader.

internalMy client is embedded in a well-known IT company. I think it was her first real job and she’s climbed herself up over 15 or 20 years. She has a passion for female leadership and assisting young talent (female and male).   She’s smart, knowledgeable and a tad disgruntled.

She’s been through my SHIFT-IT System years ago and is certified to use it with others. She swung back recently cause she continues to be attracted to my work and what I represent to her … living your authentic life and being a skilled, successful and self employed process worker. So she wants another shot in the arm to continue her unfoldment (she’s in my Magic Marker Mastermind).

Her biggest driver is a desire to get her “IT” (it not I.T.) out there (to have programs and products like I do and use the web to attract her clientele). She’s followed me and others who use a similar online marketing model … and truth be told, she’s thinks if I/we can do it, then she should be able to too.

i can do that, c merkleyShe’s absolutely right (of course she can, we aren’t rocket scientists) … however I also teased her that she’ll need to dump the hint of judgment I picked up in her tone and instead roll up her sleeves and get busy! What I and others do may not be rocket science, but we thrive because we actually put the model into play instead of just intellectually knowing it. That’s what separates the girls from the women in successful process work!

During our coaching sessions I’ve been helping her define her interest areas and how they might lend themselves to curriculum development — initially inside her current position of developing new hires, then potentially cascading out beyond that.

She’s been really intrigued with my forays into ‘virtual graphic facilitation’ … with her cohort and other programs I lead (using web conferencing attached to drawing tablets … so I can mimic the visual work I do with my in-person clients). So she marched out and purchased a tablet and has been going through her learning curve with it … I’m thrilled to say she’s advancing in leaps and bounds (a lovely added bonus has been the interest in the tool that her young daughter is showing too … Mom and daughter get to ‘play’ together as she develops her visual chops).

Unlike my earlier article with advice to a budding Graphic Recorder (He Needs to Get in the Room), this gal, due to her process leadership needs to CREATE A ROOM (not get in someone else’s). There are four main ways of working visually with groups and individuals (see article). Some are more supportive and passive and others are more integrated and directive. His is supportive. Hers is directive. It’s a different kettle of fish process-wise so hence the strategy needs to be different too.

Her strategy needs to be to develop her own offering (create the room).   Create a container (online or in-person) where she can start to pool together her audience and her content.   Work it out and hash it out, over time, into a cohesive, structured offering. And concurrently develop her marketing.

shift-it-yellowboxTHAT’S HOW I DID IT:

That’s what I did in the early days of developing my SHIFT-IT System®.   Step by step I worked out my system (complete with its 17 visual maps) with whomever I could get my hands on.   Over time its grown into the sweet, kick ass structure that now exists (that folks from across the English speaking world are attracted to).


I’m happy to report that she’s had a major breakthrough. She created a beginning, informal offering for her direct reports and she’s had her very first web huddle (they are sprinkled across the globe). And she’s got her second one scheduled with growing interest.   She used her tablet and did some graphic recording of check ins and brainstorms. And also visually communicated some info about the topic at hand (time management I think it was).

It was just the shot in the arm she needed! She’s hooked. She now sees how starting with where you are is the trick to getting to where someone you want to be like is. I didn’t miraculously get to where I am overnight. I started with where I once was just like she did and took step, after step, after step.   My discipline and perseverance paid off. As it will for her too if she keeps going … I’m pretty sure she will! She’s got excellent ideas, good experience and a place to start applying immediately.Plus she’s getting great feedback from the folks she is working with – which is gratifying and addictive. And she’s finding the work a breath of fresh air that is invigorating her.  The rest will unfold as she keeps going. It always does!

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The SHIFT-IT Coach and Interactive-Visuals Mentor

P.S. Are you a Process Professional wanting to define and build your ‘it’ too!? What landed for you in this post? What lessons do you take away? Where can you start in your now situation? Where there is a will there is a way …

© 2014 Christina L. Merkley

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