Shift-it Coach Newsletter
Volume 7 | Issue 15 | October 14, 2011


Been a bit of a whirlwind these last weeks - with closing out one location and setting up another. I just moved into my newly built live/work condo here in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It's called "The Zen". Yeah ---- you can see how that name and concept would be a draw for me! Friends of mine are the developers and it comes with a ready-made community, which is really nice.

Mine is the top right, the one with the vaulted ceiling. Unfortunately they missed putting blinds on the top windows … so I'm playing peek-a-boo with the office workers across the street! The Grand Opening is this weekend so the construction guys are finishing off their final details. Been fun to be in this brand new energy but I'll also be glad when the day doesn't start with construction tools!

It's a modern design --- so it's been out with the old and in with the new. Itching to paint as new inspiration is coming through. I'll be living here for a while but eventually it'll just be my art studio. My favorite art supply shop is right down the street ... dangerous!

Given my autumn Fundamentals of Interactive-Graphics course (online version) is right around the corner … I've decided to re-run my article on the four main ways of working visually with groups and individuals (giving you lots of visual examples to stir your creative juices). We start on Monday so come join us if you are so inspired --- going to be another GREAT group of consultants, facilitators, trainers, coaches, budding graphic recorders and the like.

Yours in graphic expansion,

P.S. Over the summer I was interviewed by Carlos and Bob of Drawn by Success. You can now find this audio on my articles & audio page (a good overview of the main ways of working visually).

Christina Merkley,
The SHIFT-IT Coach



Tamsyn Hawkins
Tamsyn Hawkins
Branding & Archetype

"I've had the privilege of Christina's support since 2007. She's a generous teacher/coach and savvy businesswoman who knows her stuff and delivers for her clients. I was initially attracted to her Law of Attraction (LOA) perspective via her SHIFT-IT System® and was later accepted into her Biz and Life Accelerator, which I massively benefited from. I successfully transitioned my corporate marketing and sales career into a sustainable consulting practice (more freedom of hours, work and client type) and also significantly shifted some challenging personal relationships. I've also studied Christina's pioneering interactive-graphics methods --- now employing visuals in my branding and archetype speciality including developing my own line of visual templates to better serve my clients! Christina has a knack for attracting really interesting and collaborative people and I have made great friends from across the globe (another goal achieved). I absolutely love working with her and highly recommend her coaching and teaching programs."

Tamsyn Hawkins
Branding & Archetype Consultant
United Kingdom


9-Weeks Online: Oct. 17 - Dec. 14 (Webinars, Mon. & Wed. 12-1pm Pacific)

Now available --- get access to this leading edge training without having to travel. My foundational 'learn-to-work-visually' course now available online!

Over 87% of your facilitation, coaching, training and consulting clients are visual thinkers - learn powerful visual skills to boost the effectiveness of how you work with them. This 9-week online professional skills training thoroughly covers custom chart work, graphic recording, graphic facilitation and graphic coaching (the four main applications of working visually with groups and individuals) so you can add these powerful tools to your own consulting, facilitation, coaching and training offerings. Register Now.

**** Note: this program is a pre-requisite for Graphic Coach Certification. This online version of the course is your LAST CHANCE for completing this prerequisite without having to travel to Victoria, BC, Canada … if you would like to join us for the upcoming 2012 Cohort. If you are ok with traveling, there is an in-person course offered in May 2012.

Graphic Coach Certification (2012 Cohort)
10-Weeks Online: April 10 – June 19 (Webinars, Tuesdays 10-11:30 pm Pacific)

Become a Certified Graphic Coach®. For leading-edge coaches, counselors and therapists from around the globe. Add the power and innovation of Graphic Coaching to your own practice. Includes advanced graphic coaching techniques, use of my SHIFT-IT System® (17 visual maps) with your clientele, instruction in the 'template-izing' of your own content into visual tools, plus marketing and biz development mentoring. Apply now to secure your place. Two Pre-requisites required. Full Details and Application Process.



(Now Recorded!) Listen Rather Than Read! Click Here

Interactive-Graphics is a wonderful way to work – whether in a group or individual setting. I've been in the overall field for 17 years now – and have worked in all of the four main genres: custom chart work, graphic recording, graphic facilitation and graphic coaching.

As the field continues to expand and generate more and more interest, I find it's helpful for people new to the field (either as clients or new practitioners) to understand the four main applications of working visually and how they are related ... and also profoundly different.

Below is a large wall mural that I use in my Fundamentals of Interactive-Graphics workshop to introduce the four main applications of the work and their distinctions, particularly the level of 'interactivity' between them – ranging from very passive or 'push' type uses to very interactive or 'pull' type uses.

interactive graphics
Wonderful World of Interactive-Graphics Chart (four main definitions).

Click to view on Flickr

The most static or passive type of work is what I call 'custom chart work'. Custom charts are the various visual materials one can create ahead to time to convey information to a group or audience. Custom charts can vary from very practical and easy pieces, like welcome posters, models, or agenda charts (like the one below from an old workshop of mine) --- to much more elaborate 'information architecture' pieces that takes days/weeks/months to complete and deep corporate pockets to commission. See Grove Consultants, XPLANE and Bonfire Communications for companies who play in that space. Generally, custom charts are used to gather and push agreed upon information to viewers (there is usually little interaction or co-creation unless facilitation or interactivity is somehow built into the process to prepare them or to gather pushback or feedback afterwards).

custom chart
Example of Custom Chart Work (Workshop Agenda)

Click to view on Flickr

Moving up the interactivity scale, we proceed into the area of 'graphic recording'. Produced by 'graphic recorders' these large, wall-size documents are created live during gatherings and meeting venues – usually the Recorder is silently doing her best to 'cut' or 'cull' what is being spoken about into an attractive (and hopefully rationally useful) visual summary. This method is best used when the topic is a general and easily tracked nature (graphic recording is not good for highly detailed situations).

Graphic recordings are usually produced to the side or back of a room, off from where the main action is taking place. Having done this kind of work for many years earlier in my career, I am at liberty to call them a 'bit of a party trick'. Entertaining, fun to produce, and adding spice to an event --- they can operate as novel takeaways for event participants and conveners.

graphic recording
Example of Graphic Recording

Click to view on Flickr

Above is an example of graphic recording work, done for a women's funding conference --- it's the highlights of a talk on branding.

Next we move into the area of Graphic Facilitation – in my mind the most useful genre for group work. Graphic Facilitation can either be provided by a true Graphic Facilitator (someone who both contracts for and facilitates a client engagement AND takes the visual notes at the same time) or via a Graphic Facilitation team (provided by a lead facilitator and one, or several, Graphic Recorders).

Given the facilitative nature of the work, Graphic Facilitation has a more text-based and functional appearance than Graphic Recording and the charts are 'co-created' by the participants in conjunction with the facilitation team. It is by far the most interactive of the genres --- with the charts being created in front of everyone's eyes and through everyone's words (sometimes through everyone's markers when participants are invited to get in the mark marking as well!). Usually pre-constructed templates or large wall forms (like the Content map from Grove Consultants behind me in the picture below).

graphic facilitation
Christina Doing Demo of Graphic Facilitation Using Grove's Context Map

Click to view this and other graphic facilitation photos on Flickr:

Graphic Facilitation is excellent for detailed work that requires precise documentation – the participants are literally telling the Graphic Recorder what to write (rather than the recorder silently doing their own cut of the information as is the case in graphic recording). Strategic planning, visioning, brainstorming, scenarios, value proposition, conflict resolution, branding --- all are excellent venues for true graphic facilitation work.

And, last but not least, we come to the specialty niche area of which I'm a pioneering practitioner and teacher – Graphic Coaching (the use of interactive-graphics in coaching and personal growth with individuals, couples and/or families). Graphic Coaching is interactive at its core (like graphic facilitation work) but instead of a group you are working with just one person or partners (or a few people if working with a family group).

Mentee Allison Doing Graphic Coaching with Her Workshop Partner

Click Here to View Other Graphic Coaching Photos:

Graphic coaching can be spontaneous recording of a person's thoughts or it can be much more constructed – depending on the type of coach, therapist or counselor you are and the process you follow. After many years of doing group facilitation (primarily strategic planning and visioning) and coaching work (I am a CTI trained coach, hypnotherapist and energy worker) – I slowly created my own step-by-step process and suite of visual coaching tools … called The SHIFT-IT Graphic Coaching Process®. Through my SHIFT-IT Certification program I now empower other helping professionals from around the world to use SHIFT-IT with their own clientele.

As you can see, the world of interactive-graphics is rich … and holds something of value for most process leaders --- whether you are a consultant, trainer, facilitator, coach, therapist or manager. Interest in this field is growing in leaps and bounds and clients are increasing asking and aware of the benefits of working visually (greater clarity, more effective use of time and limited resources, reduced conflicts and tensions, etc).

Virginia Doing Great With Her Icons

May's Fundamentals of
Interactive-Graphics Class

I have extensive experience in all four genres of the work and have successfully trained professionals for over decade, from all walks of life and art abilities. You DO NOT have to be an artist to do this work– and if you are an artist, great! There is room for all to play in this effective, rational/emotional and client-pleasing methodology.

For information on public and private trainings, including Graphic Coach Certification, see my Training and Workshops page.

P.S. Over the summer I was interviewed by Carlos and Bob of Drawn by Success. You can now find this audio on my articles & audio page (a good overview of the main ways of working visually).

Now Recorded! Listen Rather Than Read! Click Here

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©2011 Christina L. Merkley

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

Author's Bio: Christina Merkley is The SHIFT-IT Coach. Founder of "Graphic Coaching" … Christina has pioneered the use of interactive- visuals to help individuals, couples and business partners make and manifest clear decisions about their work and lives. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she maintains a thriving coaching and facilitation practice and trains other helping professionals from around the globe in her innovative ways of working. For more information visit:


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.

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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!

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Christina Merkley
The SHIFT-IT Coach &
Interactive-Graphics Mentor

Christina Merkley is The SHIFT-IT Coach. Creator of the SHIFT-IT System®, she guides individuals, partners and conscious companies 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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Looking for more rich, SHIFT-IT content? Check out my blog for recent ramblings, resources and general interest features:

Use Visual Life Maps to SHIFT Your Path

My Journey with Graphic Coaching

Smartly Use Your Summer for Strategic Growth

Thrive Tips for These Accelerating Times

The Generosity of Memoirs

Yes, Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

Soften The Sting of Betrayal

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