Shift-it Coach Newsletter
Volume 9 | Issue 9 | November 29, 2013


Well, here in the Northern Hemisphere we've entered into the dark zone of the year. It's dark here in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada by 4:30 pm (rather than 9:30 in the height of summer) so the days are seemingly so much shorter. I always find these last weeks rather off-putting, even though I know they serve an important purpose. Deep processing of an emotional / spiritual nature always seems to hit me now.

Who am I now? What is most meaningful now? What needs to be pruned or rolled under? What needs to be nurtured? What wants to emerge? A necessary sorting through of things happens at this time of year - even if much of it is unconscious or just under the surface still. It gets clear by the New Year, when the swing towards light and action gets underway again. For now, it's mysterious and slightly invisible. But I can feel it. I'll just have to have patience with the process - not an easy thing for someone who likes things visible!

Wishing you all the best as you process your own stuff in prep for the shiny New Year just around the corner! And Happy Thanksgiving to the Americans reading this (us Canadians do ours back in October).

Yours in SHIFTing IT,

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



Francesca de Bastiani
Facilitator, Trainer &
Curriculum Developer

Are you a visual person? Do you like to work with images that evoke thoughts, emotions and concepts? Do you enjoy using colour, simple lines and succinct vocabulary to tell a story? Do you enjoy discovering with like-minded individuals?

Do you like being mentored by an exciting individual who has a keen ability to "get you" quickly and coach you to develop a clear action plan with meaningful, concrete activity to move you closer to your goals?

When I signed up for Christina Merkley's Magic Marker Mastermind (MMM), I wasn't sure what to expect. However I knew that after experiencing her "Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals" I wanted more! And MORE I got ...

I recommend MMM to anyone inclined to explore a fun and direct craft for getting messages across for work, personal life or continuous learning. Be ready to work large, Large, LARGE! The experience is very liberating in an extremely safe environment. I am in no way an artist but I love learning about capturing ideas and perspective quickly in a visual manner. I had the pleasure of learning with individuals who I would consider to be artists and excellent conceptual planners but felt that my participation was just as valuable. The experience for me was one of honouring my capacity to learn the craft at my own pace. Sure there were people that were better and more driven to produce. I never once felt that I had to keep up, rather, was coached to be where I was at and this made the experience very rich and enjoyable.

MMM is of particular use to someone, like me, who is in a position of facilitation, process planning, recorder of meetings, instruction and lesson planning. Was invaluable and the visual way of working has become a very important part of my life. I encourage you to dive in and embrace The Magic Marker Mastermind. You will learn a lot, enjoy what you are learning and be able to help others along the way too. Christina Merkley makes sure of that!"

Francesca de Bastiani
Facilitator, Trainer & Curriculum Developer
Vancouver, British Columbia,Canada


Magic Marker Mastermind
Jan. 16 - June 24, 2014 (includes three retreats)
Visual Skills & Biz Development Incubator For Process Professionals

Claim your visual persona! Serious about up-leveling your process skills and career? Give yourself a wonderful gift --- come learn and bond with Process Professionals united by a shared mission to effectively use Interactive-Visuals with groups and individuals. Develop your brand, signature style, visual and biz competencies and overall confidence, whether you are internal in an organization or have an independent practice, business or content area. Unique, one-of-a-kind experience with great return on investment!

6 Spots Left
Deadline to Apply: December 20th

Full Details and Online Application Process

Pre-requisite: Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals (or equivalent experience)

7 Weeks Online: Feb. 1 - March 15, 2014
Video Webinars: Saturdays, 10-11:30 a.m. Pacific

Ready to SHIFT?! Only offered twice a year! My signature coaching system - gets you what you next want whether professionally and/or personally. Develop a clear vision, unravel your resistance ... and rapidly take aligned action. Practical real-world strategic planning coupled with leading-edge inner wisdom --- all in my innovative 'Visual Coaching' style. Join this supportive online course with other like-minded SHIFTers from across the globe, includes The SHIFT-IT Home Retreat Kit® with 17 visual maps.

Full Details and Online Registration

Note: Pre-requisite for Visual Coach Certification

Repeater Option available for those who have taken this program before and want to refresh.

Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals (Online Version)
9 Weeks Online: Feb. 17 - April 23, 2014
Video Webinars: Mondays & Wednesdays, noon-1pm Pacific

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 professional skills training (fully online) thoroughly covers custom studio work, visual recording, 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 process toolkit. This is the online version of my popular 3-day fundamentals training (no travel required).


Full Details and Online Registration

Note: Pre-requisite for Visual Coach Certification

Repeater Option available for those who have taken this program before and want to refresh.

Visual Coach Certification
April 8 - June 10, 2014, Tuesdays, noon-1:30 pacific, 10 webinars

For coaches, therapists and other Process Professionals who work with individuals, couples or personal growth groups. This one-of-a-kind experience teaches you how to work visually with your clients and licenses you in our SHIFT-IT System® (17 visual maps as complete process or piecemeal). Join our amazing international cohort of Certified Visual Coaches® and add the power of Visual Coaching to your own practice.

Applications Now Being Accepted for Cohort 2014
Combo Packages and Plans Available

More Info and Online Application Process

Two Pre-requisites: SHIFT-IT Online and Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals (or equivalent experience).

Private Apprenticeships & Biz/Life Coaching
Online and In-person Options

Christina Merkley has some availability in 2014 for customized Private Trainings and Apprenticeships and Biz/Life Coaching. Excellent if you desire a fast SHIFT or prefer tailored, premium attention.

Email [email protected] to book Exploratory Chat with Christina to discuss your goals and determine which package best for you.

Private Biz Coaching        Private Skills Training



To Listen Or Download Mp3 Version of This Article, Click Here.

I'm right smack in the middle of leading Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals, the online version of my visual skills course for Process Professionals who work with groups and/or individuals.

The Wonderful World of Interactive-Visuals

* FYI, I choose to use my umbrella term "Interactive Visuals" (because it encapsulates four main types of visual process work) however this work is also known as: Story Mapping, Graphic Facilitation, Visual Facilitation, Graphic Recording, Visual Recording, Graphic Coaching, Visual Meetings, Visual Synthesis, Scribing, and is close cousins to Visual Thinking, Mindmaps, Sketch notes, etc.

Every offering we attract wonderful people with a diversity of backgrounds and interest areas. However this fall's cohort was particularly interesting to me as several attendees are well versed in neuroscience and multiple intelligences - a topic very new to me.

Rising Popularity of Working Visually:

When I started in the visual process field two decades ago, it was a small community of rather avant-garde practitioners, mostly grouped in the San Francisco Bay area in California. Now, particularly in the last few years, interest in the visual way of working has grown in leaps in bounds and has spread across the world and into many varied practice areas. While it's still a unique niche area it has gone way more mainstream than it ever was. And there are many more players and practitioners than there used to be.

Growth Factors:

My guess is that there are many factors to account for the growth. First off, it's a fascinating technology that works well (when properly applied) that is enjoyable for both client and practitioner alike. Secondly, different technological advancements have made the use and distribution of Interactive-Visuals easier (i.e. digital cameras, scanning, large file email distribution, online conferencing and tablets, etc.). The need for good, impartial facilitation and other process leaders (consultants, coaches, therapists etc.) is much more recognized and appreciated than it once was (organizations, associations, groups and even individuals more deeply understand its strong return on investment).

And public doodling has experienced a renaissance of sorts with it infiltrating mainstream media and the internet (via commercials, advertisements, explainer videos ala RSAnimate fame, etc). I also think that the recent advances in neuroscience tune many onto the demonstrated power of visuals and how they process in our human brain. So appreciators find their way to Interactive-Visuals work and other Visual Thinking processes naturally.

The Neuroscience Connection:

The Neuroscience Connection

I'm reluctant to write a full article on Neuroscience and Interactive-Visuals because frankly, at this point in time (and maybe never!), I can't ... I'm much too new to what neuroscience is and what it tells us about the work that I do and teach others to do too. However I am mightily intrigued by it (not only for the visual work that I do but for the emotional processing and alignment work that my coaching involves).

Thankfully some of my students are more versed in it than I, and are making connections for me --- recommending research, books and professionals to connect with (FYI, I'm in the midst of negotiating with a neuroscientist to be a guest expert in the current Fundamentals class - an interview that will enter our class video library for the benefit of future class participants too).

Suggested Reads:
If you too are interested in this topic, here are a few reads that are making their way to my reading shelf - courtesy of current students who recommend them:

Brain Rules by John Medina Art Therapy by Richard Carr
Multiple Intelligences Contemporary Theories of Learning

Your Suggestions Welcomed:
Well, I've definitely got some reading material for the winter holiday. I'd love to hear further recommendations if you have them. If you have suggestions to add to the list, please leave a blog comment so I and others can benefit.

P.S: Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals is a GREAT First Step
Intrigued by the visual way of working?! Want to learn how to apply this powerful methodology to your own work with groups and/or individuals? My Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals workshop provides a thorough training on the basics for all four genres of the work (Custom Chart Work, Visual Recording, Visual Facilitation and Visual Coaching). Offered online in the Fall & Winter (new class just added!) and In-Person in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in the Spring. Private Trainings and In-House Workshops are also available.

P.P.S: Advanced Offerings:
Not a beginner - i.e. already have taken Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals (or have equivalent experience)? If so, see our advanced programs: Magic Marker Mastermind, Visual Coach Certification and Private Apprenticeships.

Thoughts? Reactions? Have something to add? Click here to leave comments and read those left by others.

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©2013 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


pursuing In the scheme of things, life is short. It's a shame not to live it in alignment with who you truly are. We have successfully SHIFTed to a life of authenticity, creativity and abundance that is aligned with who we truly are.

Let us assist you in doing the same via private mentorship. We specialize in individuals who need to get their 'special it' into the world (entrepreneurs, biz owners, team leaders, teachers, consultants, facilitators, trainers, coaches, therapists, visual practitioners, etc.).

We coach you to build/enhance your internal or external practice or small business (including identity/brand, biz basics, creation of effective offerings, necessary systems (tech and socio) and marketing & sales). As well as having a satisfying personal life of supportive family, friends and community. Stop splitting your energy - create a congruent life that truly works for you!

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Are you a process professional with a creative bend? Are you intrigued with the visual way we work with our clients? We'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!

Training Options



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

SHIFT-IT Coach, Inc. is a boutique training and coaching company specializing in visual process work for groups and individuals. Founded by Christina Merkley, pioneering Visual Facilitator and Coach, we work deeply with individuals, partners and conscious businesses to define and manifest what you really want. We also train Process Professionals from across the globe in our innovative ways of working. For more information visit and

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

How Coaches,
Therapists and Other Helping Professionals
Use Interactive-Visuals

How Organizational Leaders, Consultants and Facilitators Can Use Interactive-Visuals

How Content & Process Professionals Can Use Interactive-Visuals

The Merits of In-Person vs. Virtual

The P Words of Your Professional Practice: Process & Positioning

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