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Presence in Action

MERLE MCKINLEY, MCC, CMSC

Co-Director

Welcome! I'm Merle McKinley, and I'm pleased to offer continuing education programs with my co-director, Claudia Salas. We share a deep love of the profession of coaching, and we are committed to delivering the best we have to our students and clients.


My Coaching Background

I began coaching in 1996 while working for Dr. Fernando Flores, the father of ontological coaching. I had been in the health-care profession and always found great joy in getting to know my patients and to understand their life. I designed their health programs to fit, as best as I could, their lifestyle.

Similar to Claudia, I realized there were other issues at play for my clients that diet and exercise alone could not address. I left clinical practice and moved into management. As part of my professional development, I did a management course with Dr. Flores. I saw he was able to have people observe the "soup they lived in" and how it produced the "reality" of their life. From these new observations, they could make new choices and take different actions.

This ability to assist others to achieve new results or become who they 'longed to be become', became my passion. People newly discovered a freedom from old habits and patterns. They were able to create their life, not just live their life. This, I believe, is the true purpose of education and is the bedrock of my work.

In 1992 I became certified as a Master Somatic Coach through the Strozzi Institute. I have learned to blend together my somatic and linguistic expertise to create a coaching experience that is insightful, revealing and compassionate.

In addition, I currently serve in a management and mentoring capacity for two ACTP schools.

For more about my professional background, please visit MerleMcKinley.com.


Embodied Learning

To ensure our participants learn at an embodied level, I use my somatic coaching background, coupled with principles from the martial art Aikido. Learning and embodying principles such as connection, receiving and centering ensures our participants gain new insight into themselves and their relationship to the Core Competencies.

This deeper somatic (embodied) learning enables the coach to produce a higher quality coaching experience for the clients and a mutually satisfying and rewarding coach/client relationship.

Claudia and I are excited to offer our combined 32 years of training and practice to professional coaches looking to increase their effectiveness through embodied presence.

Merle McKinley, MCC

"As my mentor, Merle led me through what looked to me, to be a maze – how to learn the ICF competencies in a manner that seemed natural for me. She linked where and when I would tighten in my body during my coaching and how that would stop me from exploring deeper with a client or jump over a critical moment for them. Through her coaching, I learned how to accept those moments, relax my body and re-engage my client from my compassion, not my fear. This has allowed me to enjoy my coaching as well as produce more significant results with my clients."

Nancy, St. Paul, MN


"I have been a coach for some years now and wanted to become ICF certified. As a coach and consultant, I appreciated the humor Merle brought to her teaching. It was obvious she knew what she was talking about – it flowed naturally, and she has a very engaging manner. Her relaxed, matter-of-fact presentation was refreshing. She was able to show us coaching, not tell us about coaching. I always felt that she appreciated my years of experience. I learned to design my sessions and engagements to produce the client’s desired outcome. Honestly, I enjoy my coaching more than ever because my clients are happier with their results. It seems like I work less in a session and produce more results. That works for me…and my clients."

Linda, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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