Ooh, I love brainstorming. It’s most fun when I’m part of the project, because I get to throw my ideas in the hopper right away.
If you’re a coach, though, your role is a little different. Your job is to get out of the way. One of the most important things you have to do is help the group (assuming you’re coaching in a group setting) to keep from judging ideas too quickly, by saying
The brainstorming time is not a time for thinking of all the reasons it won’t work. I found it rewarding to hear from some guys I trained in Kinshasa that they still remember this when they are discussing options for how to proceed. In a land full of poverty, they don’t allow themselves to have a poverty of options. They look at each other and say “Remember Adam: NO BUTS.”
They say it in French. But it’s the same in any language. The coach’s job is to stay out of the way, so while you may have brilliant ideas all day long, this isn’t the time to share them.
There’s nothing wrong with throwing a few ideas in (with your clients’ permission) towards the end of the session.
Tonight I worked with a guy who suggested doing a raffle for a seminar he’s preparing to host in the Philippines. After an hour of brainstorming and planning, I finally asked permission to share something, and made a suggestion that gave him a slightly different twist on his idea. And he liked it!
The discipline to keep your ideas to yourself is challenging, especially when you’re as creative as I am. But it’s worth it to practice this, because the most important thing is to play your part.