How to Brainstorm with the Best of Them
“I love brainstorming!”
One of the most helpful tools a coach can use is brainstorming. Why? Because brainstorming releases creative ideas that would otherwise remain untapped. We all get stuck in ruts now and then when it comes to creativity. “Writer’s block” happens to everyone, not just writers. Brainstorming unshackles the bonds and restrictions that people place upon themselves. It allows them to dream out loud. It fosters creativity. It helps them discover new ways of addressing their challenges.
Brainstorming is all about coach and coachee collaborating together in order to create new ideas, opportunities, options and goals. After a list of ideas has been generated, the coachee then chooses to pursue the option that makes the most sense to him or her.
Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of brainstorming:
1. Remove all restrictions.
This is about helping a coachee remove mental barriers that block creativity. A coach might say “Think about what you could do if time and money were no object.”
2. Generate as many ideas as you can.
Quantity is the goal here. Don’t worry about quality ideas yet. There will be time later to determine which ideas are best.
3. Don’t discuss or judge your ideas.
If a coach or coachee prematurely criticizes or judges ideas, creativity will be sabotaged. Avoid this like the plague..
4. Be wild and crazy
Have fun! Encourage your coachee to dream big and be outrageous!
5. Prime the pump
When a coachee hits a wall and seemingly runs out of ideas, a good coach will “prime the pump” by interjecting a new idea and/or direction. Take a coachee’s idea and “tweek” it slightly to generate new ideas and possibilities. I call this “hitchhiking” or “piggybacking” ideas.
Once brainstorming is over, ask the coachee “Which of these ideas would you like to pursue?” Ask them which idea is most realistic, feasible or resonates with them the most.
I hope you can see why I love brainstorming and use it often in my coaching relationships. Give it a try the next time you’re trying to help someone go from stuck to unstuck. You’ll be amazed by their creativity.
For more from Rainer Kunz, click here.
Rainer Kunz is a pastor, church planter, college professor, and of course, top level coach. Rainer also lives out his passion for the Great Commission by assessing and coaching church planters throughout the world. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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