Volume 5, Issue 11 | June 05, 2009
www.shift-it-coach.com | [email protected]



  1. A Note From Christina
  2. Article: The Ever–Expanding Visual Community
  3. Blog Entries
  4. Coaching Options
  5. Training Options


Been a busy time since last issue.  Hosted my 3-day Graphic Coaching Clinic here in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. 

Thankfully the weather cooperated beautifully so attendees were able to work outside on the lovely terrace at times. 

A group even went out kayaking on the final evening together – Sonya from the U.K. said it put the icing on the cake for her – big thanks to Rick and others who manifested that – great to hear! 

May's Graphic Coaching Clinic Attendees

Since this workshop immersed me back in my ‘graphic’ world (rather than the Law of Attraction and energy work that has been my focus of late) … I’ve opted this issue to share with you some of the different groups in the ever-expanding visual community.  My use of graphics with coaching and personal growth work is a sub-set niche in a larger pool of visual practitioners who work in many different mediums and venues. Doodlers Unite!


Christina Merkley,
The SHIFT-IT Coach

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FEATURE ARTICLE: The Ever-Expanding Visual Community

(Now Recorded!) To Listen to My Audio of This Article, Click Here)

With the launch of my Graphic Coaching Clinic this past month, I’m powerfully reminded about how much the graphic community has changed and expanded since I was first introduced to it fifteen years ago.  With the aid of the internet, people from around the globe are tuned in, tapped in and turned on to the visual way of working – and are keen to learn, connect and share with one another. 

For those who don’t know …I stumbled upon the graphic way of working back in ’94 while attending grad school in San Francisco at The California Institute of Integral Studies.  I was introduced to the visual way of working with groups (via a methodology called Graphic Recording / Graphic Facilitation) by the pioneering work of David Sibbet and The Grove Consultants International (previously Graphic Guides).  Back in those days, San Francisco was the hub for this innovative way of working and those early pioneers from the facilitation, adult learning, computing, military and social venture arenas spread their ideas and methods far and wide. 

As a ‘second waver’ (being mentored by those in the first wave – if you want to cut the cards that way), I’ve been fortunate for many years now to be a mentor myself to the third wave and beyond.  Integrating the fundamental skills I was taught into my own practice and personality, then teaching out my experience to others (first in my Meeting Graphics 101 and Graphic Bootcamp offerings, and more recently in my specialized niche of The Graphic Coaching Clinic).

This ripple effect is really miraculous to witness. It wasn’t that long ago that my colleagues and I from the ‘old days’ knew everyone in the community.  Over time, with the aid of technology and enhanced communications, individuals and groups from all over the globe have been linked - sharing discoveries, innovations and diversity, from many fields and classifications.  The visual field has quickly morphed from a relatively small group of creative, talented and perhaps somewhat eccentric (I’ll own that!) people into a HUGE buffet of choices, flavors and constituents. 

I think its safe to say that this field has progressed from its infancy and early adolescence and is going through the sometimes awkward stage of becoming its own adult person (hopefully a creative one who still retains some of her/his quirks and fun loving nature!).  There is plenty of forming, storming, norming and performing going on in this wide-ranging visual field (to quote Tucker’s Group Dynamics model for you process wonks).  Some calls for standards and certifications have been voiced.  And some more formalized groups and organizations have and are continuing to emerge to address vacuums in access to education, information and community building.

Its been fascinating to watch and participate to some extent in the evolution of this incredible field – and it will be very interesting to see what emerges and shakes out in the years and generations ahead.  Below (in case the visual way of working is part of why you are attracted to me and my work) is a short list of some of the current visual organizations that exist in this emerging field.  I’ve stayed away from naming particular companies, instead focusing on places where groups of visual practitioners come together.

1) Global Community of Graphic Coaches (GCGC)

I’ve recently created The Global Community of Graphic Coaches (GCGC) on Facebook.

GCGC is an informal, grassroots online home for those of us playing with ‘graphics’ in the personal development realm.  Open to anyone who likes visuals and is / or wants to use them in their professional helping work.  This group is not about my proprietary SHIFT-IT system, but rather a place for members to create and experiment with visuals in their own unique ways.  Many people (my mentees and others) are experimenting with visuals in the coaching and personal growth realms. This is a place for us to connect.  While I am hosting it to get it going, should it turn into a vibrant community, my desire is to become a regular member and fade into the background as things grow. 

Global Community of Graphic
Coaches (GCGC)

Join GCGC Now

2) The International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP)

Fourteen years ago the International Forum of Visual Practitioners was formed via the inspiration, heart and vision of Leslie Salmon-Zhu and Susan Kelly.  Started as an informal gathering of Bay Area graphic recorders and graphic facilitators the IFVP has grown to official association status run by a rotating volunteer board.  IFVP hosts a website, practitioner directory, list serve and runs an annual conference (locations change each year – this year its wonderful Montreal, Quebec!).

Check Out IFVP Here

Voices of Visual Practice

3) VizThink

VizThink was initially conceived by Dave Gray, Chairman of Xplane (an information design consultancy).  A long time proponent of Visual Communication, Dave envisioned a global community of visual thinkers.  VizThink was launched in 2007 with the help of a generous funding patron.  They host in-person conferences, a developing online community (including virtual courses) and seed VizThink communities in various communities.


More Info on VizThink

So, whether your interest is in using graphics and visuals like I do, to enhance personal growth work (GCGC).  Or, group work via the skills of graphic recording or graphic facilitation (IFVP).  Or, you are more into the computer or info design end of things (VizThink).  You now know that there are several organizations and specialty communities to chose from in the rapidly expanding visual frontier.  No matter which way you turn, the visual future looks bright!

Join the Visual Tribe and Doodlers Unite! 

Blog Comments: Thoughts? Reactions? While its totally fine to be a ‘lurker’ I do value your interaction and participation – please click here to leave comments and read those left by others.

© 2009 Christina L. Merkley

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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: www.shift-it-coach.com

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Looking for more rich, SHIFT-IT content? Check out my blog for recent ramblings, resources and general interest features:

Besides the Blog, there are plenty of articles to read in the Ezine Archives. Browse past issues here.

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Ready for your SHIFT? There is a HUGE TRANSITION going on in the world today both at a spiritual and physical level. Many people are feeling the call to ascend to a crisper, cleaner and more soul satisfying life - are you one of them? Enlist me as your personal transition aid. Define your vision, bust through your interfering resistance and start taking action. Pioneering Graphic Coaching and Law of Attraction methods.

Coaching Options




Are you a helping professional with a creative bend? Are you intrigued with the visual way I work with my clients? I've trained hundreds of facilitators, consultants, trainers and now coaches, counselors, social workers, etc from around the globe. Learn fundamental graphics skills that you can use in your own work with groups and individuals. Come join the graphic tribe!

Training Options



Christina Merkley is The SHIFT-IT Coach. Creator of the SHIFT-IT Graphic Coaching Process®, she guides individuals, partners and groups in defining and getting what they really, really want.

A teacher of Law of Attraction, she is also an expert in visual meeting techniques, strategic planning and visioning: having worked for such notable companies as BBC, Readers Digest Funds, eBay and Stanford University. After a move from San Francisco, she now lives in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada - where she maintains a vibrant coaching, facilitation and training practice.

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