In Your Words: Aaron Johannes


“The day I got word of my successful completion of Visual Coach Certification® I was working on a new chart for a client who comes annually for visual project updates. It’s great for them, and I love how much airplay the charts get in their work with various teams around the province.

Aaron Johannes Certified Visual Coach®

Aaron Johannes
Certified Visual Coach®

On that significant day of completion, I got to compare three charts; one from 3 years ago, another from 2 years ago and then the current one (made on the heels of the last 13 months in SHIFT-IT Online, The Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals and Visual Coach Certification). Comparing my charts was yet another powerful lesson in how good coaching can improve one’s work, and why I consider Christina Merkley one of the great mentors in my life.

While that’s about the improvement of technical skills, there’s also been an amazing shift in me as a person too. I think the word that comes to mind most about this program for me is “trust.” Becoming a Visual Coach with individuals was a leap for me after years of co-facilitating groups in various kinds of team planning processes. I had worked with individuals with disabilities using the PATH Process, however I was now trusted to add the SHIFT-IT tools to my toolkit too.

I made my way through the base training part of the program then progressed to working with clients: suddenly there was this one person (my first official visual coaching client); hopeful, daunted, nervous, wondering, and trusting to be coached, by me. In that moment (once I remembered to breathe) I recalled how Christina had told me the truth even when it was hard to hear, and also when she told me what she liked about what I had done and how I had improved – she asked me to try something different, in my graphics and in my life, and I trusted her sense of what I was capable of. And it worked. And she sent me back to redo something. Not many people send me back to do things over. Oddly, I liked that a lot.

All day I mulled over these ideas and then, as I coached someone through a shift in their life, they said, “I really trust your sense of this – I know I can trust you to help me get where I want to go.”

Aaron Johannes
Co-Director, Spectrum Society | Graphic Facilitator & Coach
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.