You’re probably familiar with Brainstorming, the process of two or more people throwing out ideas without judgment or attachment to stimulate creative problem solving.
This is one of the best strategies for empowering our clients to generate and find solutions and get unstuck.
However, one of the most common FAQs we get from new coaches is-
What do I do when my client doesn’t have any ideas for brainstorming?!?
Simple, ask for one idea, no matter how dumb or wild. Be persistent and patient. Then ask for another one and keep on going.
It’s not that your client doesn’t have any ideas, they are pre-judging their ideas and trying to come up with a good one and getting stuck. Deep down these clients really want YOU to provide their magic answer, and while you might have ideas and suggestions, doing so outside of brainstorming is dis-empowering and ineffective.
Don’t jump in with your own contributions until they seem engaged, creative, and taking responsibility.
If you respond too early with your idea and they feel uncreative or stuck, they will simply agree with your idea and the brainstorm ends.
Explain how brainstorming works- any and every idea no matter how dumb or wild, and don’t judge any idea as good or bad yet.
The initial goal is creativity, and the magic, perfect solution emerges as a result of a lot of creativity, not from one idea or suggestion, no matter how good it sounds. The more time and effort devoted, the better the result, so commit to the process and don’t accept or take shortcuts.
And, I recommend NEVER ending the process at the end of the coaching session. What are the odds that one brainstorming session will do the job?
Don’t settle for being stuck due to a weak brainstorming session or mediocre, uncreative solutions; finding the best, most creative solution happens when this process is continued between sessions by the client via polling and research:
Polling is the process of asking the folks in your network (friends, family, colleagues, social media followers, etc.) for their ideas, opinions, and feedback about your situation. You’ll get a wide range of opinions, both informed and uninformed, helpful and unhelpful, but you only need ONE gem to break the logjam.
Research is getting online with the Magic Google Machine (MGM) or going to the library and diving into the knowledge, wisdom, and research of the ages. There is no such thing as a unique human experience or problem and accessing what others have done and learned about your situation is a great problem solving strategy.
Anything worth brainstorming is worth putting the time and effort to come up with something great, and polling and research are easy, free and effective complements to brainstorming to come up with the most creative and effective solution possible.