One of the many great coaching tools is brainstorming. The word “brainstorming” may bring up ideas of white boards with scattered ideas and the challenge of engaging or of managing enthusiasm of others. Brainstorming is a word for sharing and listing ideas. “Ideation Session” or “Creative Thinking Session” may improve the perspective of the value.
Clients who are stuck say, “I don’t know.” One thing we learned during coach training is to reply, “OK. If you did know, what are the possibilities?” That question may be followed by “What are the benefits of staying where you are?” when appropriate. Alternatively, another approach is to ask them if they were giving advice to someone else, what advice will they give? When the client is truly stuck and these questions do not produce insight or exploration, brainstorming offered as one approach to the conversation to choose from may lead to the sharing and listing of ideas.
Brainstorming is the practice of coming up with multiple ideas offered by both the client and the coach in turn. It helps to jumpstart the mind with new ideas. The idea itself does not matter because any idea can take the client into a new and interesting place of exploration.
With brainstorming, we realize that it is only our thinking holding us back. For this reason, some general rules apply to brainstorming:
- Be positive.
- Focus on quantity over quality – “silly” ideas create some of the best exploration.
- Encourage big thinking.
Brainstorming results in the client having a list of ideas to consider and choose from based on what they want. The beauty is that this list is theirs to explore and gain insight from, a jumpstart for moving forward.
A final tip from coaching certification: when you brainstorm with a client be sure you have three or more ideas so instead of being perceived as a suggestion, it really is a brainstorming session.