Shift-it Coach Newsletter
Volume 8 | Issue 2 | January 27,  2012


2012 started with a whimper (me in bed with a nasty flu … hate it when I get time off and that happens) but now it's off to a BANG … with lots of course registrations and private coaching & private training inquiries flooding in.

Every year the appreciation of and interest in Interactive-Visuals grows ... whether its via its use in scribing, facilitation, coaching ... or other processes. I am so LOVING my younger self who made the decision many moons ago to pursue her passion! As not only did I get turned onto a methodology that brings me great satisfaction but now I get to turn on others from around the world to this WONDERFUL way to work too.

Given the number of inquiries my team and I are fielding, I thought it was timely to write an article on "How to Effectively Select a Visual Practitioner". Whether you are looking for a Visual Scribe to take graphic notes during a keynote talk or dialogue. Or, a full-on Visual Facilitator to guide your group or organization through visual thinking. Or a Visual Coach to aid in personal strategic planning. Plus, writing this article helps me too --- so I don't have to keep repeating the same things over and over again! Hope you find it of good use.

Yours in visual expansion,

Christina Merkley,
The SHIFT-IT Coach
and Interactive-Visuals Mentor



Heather Martinez
Graphic Designer / Visual Practitioner

"New to graphic recording, I have found that the work itself is quite profound both professionally and personally. After taking the Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals, I took the opportunity to meet with Christina for a 1:1 coaching session. Her ability to listen and share the type of resources I needed to take my next steps has launched me into sharing new ideas at work and fulfill myself personally through further training in interactive graphics. I'm currently taking the SHIFT-IT Online Group and short of turning into a navel-gazer, I'm discovering my true essence, what motivates me, and how I can embrace my highest potential. I look forward to experiencing what the coming weeks will bring and how I can apply my "new found self" to my existing life in new ways.

Of all the healing modalities and techniques I have studied, Christina's approach to her work is impeccable. We are fortunate that she shares her gift with the world.

Heather Martinez
Graphic Designer / Visual Practitioner

Colorado, U.S.A.


Thrive in the Time of Awakening (with THEO)
12 Weeks Online: Feb. 21-May 8 (Webinars, Tuesdays, 5-6:30 p.m. Pacific)

This collaboration with Sheila & Marcus Gillette and THEO is a deep 'inner work' experience. With a focus on 'soul integration' and 'orphan rescue' work ... an intimate opportunity to learn techniques to heal core issues. For the spiritual minded. Supportive, international community using the unique 2012 energy to heal and grow ourselves, our work, our relationships and our world. More Info and Registration.

Visual Coach Certification (2012 Cohort)
10-Weeks Online: April 10 - June 19 (Webinars, Tuesdays Noon-1:30 pm Pacific)

Become a Certified Visual Coach®. For leading-edge coaches, counselors and therapists from around the globe. Add the power and innovation of Visual Coaching to your own practice. Includes advanced visual 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. Full Details and Application Process.

Magic Marker Advanced Mastermind
17 Weekly Webinars Plus 2-day In-Person Retreat. March 5 – July 2, 2012

I'm happy to announce a new program to support blossoming visual practitioners (recorders, facilitators and coaches). For people who have already received base visual training (from me or equivalent experience), and are serious about building a visual career. This mastermind provides up close instruction and support to enhance your skills and and biz (whether you are internal or external). Includes weekly drop-in calls, online forum for sharing, private mentoring with me, plus an in-person retreat. Group limited to 12 members.

Full Details and Application Process

Application Deadline: Feb. 24th

Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals
May 3-5, 2012 in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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 in-person, professional skills training thoroughly covers custom chart work, visual scribing, visual facilitation and visual 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  Just 12 spots left!

*Note: Pre-requisite for Visual Coach Certification.



If the rise in my web traffic and email inquiries over the years is any indication (and I think it is) then appreciation and interest in "Interactive-Visuals" is exponentially rising.

As a senior Visual Practitioner (my love affair with the visual way of working began in grad school in San Francisco in the mid 90s) ... I get all sorts of emails and phone calls from potential clients wanting to book me and/or ask me to recommend quality referrals in their area. As such, I think an article on how to effectively select the right Visual Practitioner is in order (and it'll act as a handy resource to make my client responses easier too!).

Susan Kelly, a colleague of mine from back in the day, did a wonderful chart that I use in my Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals workshop called "What's in a Name". In it she lists the many, many different terms that Visual Practitioners use to describe their work ... varying from Graphic Recorder, Visual Scribe, Graphic Facilitator, Visual Facilitator, Visual Synthesis, Corporate Graffiti Artist, Mindmapper, Meeting Doodler and the like! While this diversity is fun and entertaining ... it does make it a little challenging for people new to the field (especially new potential clients) to weed through the confusion to find the right professional practitioner to meet their needs.

Which Kind of Visual Practitioner
Do You Really Need?
The first thing I do when I receive a new inquiry is to clarify terms. What kind of Visual Practitioner does this client truly need? If they are an individual seeking coaching assistance in a visual way, then they need a Visual Coach. If they are with a group or an organization, then the questioning becomes a little deeper. Do they need a scribe who subtly and quietly takes summary notes off to the side (called a Graphic Recorder or Visual Scribe)? Or do they need a facilitation professional called a Graphic or Visual Facilitator who not only designs an appropriate intervention (based on their process expertise) but also leads it in a visual way (either doing the visuals themselves or working in tandem with their visual team). These are two very different roles ... with different skill sets, backgrounds and education.

For a more thorough examination of terms and roles, please see previous article: The Four Ways to Work Visually.

My Preferred Partners Network and Visual Coach Directory:

I myself no longer book out on Graphic Recording or Scribing gigs these days as I'm a lead Graphic Facilitator who creates and facilitates strategic planning forums (in addition to the training, mentoring and coaching I do). However, we do have a global Preferred Partners Network of seasoned colleagues and mentees. So, if I'm not available or the right fit, we provide inquiring clients with names of professionals I recommend depending on the specifics of the engagement.

If it's a Visual Coach that is needed, I direct clients to my services and my Directory of Visual Coaches. If it's a Visual Recorder or Visual Facilitator that is needed, I give the names of three professionals in their general region that I feel would be a fit. (FYI, if you are a Visual Practitioner interested in being on my referral list, contact us at [email protected] to discuss qualifications and terms).


IFVP Directory:
Other great resources for finding Visual Practitioners (although you'll have to sort out the Illustrators & Scribes from the true Visual Facilitators) are a couple of geographical directories. The first is the directory for The International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP). Their newly refreshed site is (although it seems to be missing the handy geographical directory that it used to have).

Neulands Network Area:
The second listing of Visual Practitioners is over on the Neuland company's site. Neuland creates beautiful training and facilitation resources and is increasingly supportive of the Visual Practitioner community. They have a recently launched a "Network" tab to their site, which is beginning to list trainers, facilitators and scribes:


The Grove Consultants International:
A third place to find Visual Practitioners is via my old stomping grounds, The Grove Consultants International in San Francisco, headed by my earliest visual mentor, David Sibbet. I worked for Grove in late 90s and highly recommend their products and courses (especially The Strategic Visioning Process). See list of associates, partners and consulting colleagues:

Peter Durand's Blog:
Finally, colleague Peter Durand (in addition to his WONDERFUL blog) has an eclectic collection of practitioners listed at:

The volume of folks hanging up a Visual Practitioner shingle has multiplied several times over the last few years as appreciation, interest and respect for the work is going through the roof (even though the work has existed for going on 40 years now!). With all the new entrants, if you are a client its important to test out a few things to make an informed choice. Here are the things I suggest you ask about:

  • What is the professional's defined role (scribe, facilitator, coach, etc)?
  • Level and length of experience?
  • Training and educational background?
  • Experience with your type of company or content area?
  • Do they LIKE/ENJOY that type of work?
  • Portfolio and examples of work ? (styles do vary)
  • Availability and willingness to travel and requirements?
  • Availability for exploratory and design calls?
  • Contracting details (agreements in writing in professional manner)
  • Back up in case of emergency?
  • Cancellation or rescheduling policies?
  • Ability to expand team if necessary (add more scribes, bring in illustrators for custom charts or videos)?

Working visually can be VERY rewarding if you have the right professional for the job --- and are using the medium intelligently. While awareness about Interactive-Visuals is growing, it's still a niche field. As such, you have the opportunity to be a pioneer in bringing this effective methodology into your own company, organization or environment and being on the leading edge of doing GREAT meetings and events. May the marker be with you!!!

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©2012 Christina L. Merkley

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

Author's Bio: 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 Law of Attraction 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 helping professionals in her innovative ways of working. For more information visit: and


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 Visual 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 visual skills that you can use in your own work with groups and individuals. Come join the visual tribe!

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Christina Merkley
The SHIFT-IT Coach &
Interactive-Visuals 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:

Visual Tools to Map Your New Year

Transformations Via the Tube

In Appreciation of Jerry Hicks

The Brouhaha About 2012

The Four Ways of Working Visually

Use Visual Life Maps to SHIFT Your Path

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