Someone recently wrote, kind of disparagingly, that there are hundreds maybe thousands of kinds of person centred planning tools. Well, not really. I’ve found about 80 and while there continue to be new ones created all the time, they often replicate other resources, for reasons of corporate or personal branding rather than because someone has a new, better idea. These are also often uninformed by theory and contemporary practices. If you really don’t have a better idea, don’t bother, really. If you do, please create and share it!
Of these processes, the most elegant and beneficial that I’ve found are Christina Merkley’s suite of Shift-It Coaching Tools. Her site is amazing and full of little pockets of good thinking and practices. I’ve been lucky enough to study with Christina a few times – I did the Shift-It process with some friends as a graduation gift when I was done some serious studying, and it led me to a much wilder vision of my future; then I studied to become a Shift-It Facilitator, and I took her course on Graphic Recording, and she also coached me for a while – which was good because to become the new self she’d helped me envision, I needed some support! I also think her online teaching practices are some of the best I’ve seen. She works endlessly, and networks beautifully, to create really seamless products that work for people. These can be fun processes but they’re often intense.
I think of her best creations is the template for the Magnetism Map and if you check this part of her site out you’ll find a generous bunch of free resources, including this one, and also recordings of her processes so you’ll get to see what her facilitation looks like. I was delighted to see that she’s now got magnetism maps for people in relationships of all kinds as well as groups working together. There is a free e-book that gives you instructions on how to fill out the map for yourself.
Christina has a deep and particular understanding of human development as part of a societal shift, and it is pretty interesting. Her tools are very thorough and complete and her teaching of those tools is rigorous. In about 30 years of going to schools of various kinds her test was the only one I ever had to re-write! (or, re-draw?). In the Shift-It process there is an early part of the seven sections that asks you to draw your history and this exercise freed me of about 40 years of burdensome wrong thinking about my own past. Things I had felt bad about for years suddenly became apparent, in the drawings, as part of an avalanche that was intent on destroying me and my only choices were to be extinguished or jump out of the way (I jumped).
I am a certified Shift-It coach – I am pretty busy these days with teaching, writing, and some community development, strategic planning and developmental evaluation projects but people have been able to convince me to work with them, particularly around leadership and marginalisation issues. If you want to change the world, I’m always interested, and if you feel called to do so, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is part of a series that discusses some of the person centred planning tools I’ve been looking at as I work on a new book. If you are interested in other tools click on the tag “person centred planning.”