Many coaching frameworks encourage the coach to generate different or alternative ideas, to create newness for the client. The coach needs to have an array of approaches to creativity that are effective for the client. Coaches often get stuck and use the same set of questions and approaches which gets repetitive for client and coach alike. Here are multiple ways of generating creativity with the client.

Creative questions

Here the coach is simply using well structured questions to generate creativity within the client

  • If you were to start this piece from scratch how would you go about it?
  • What would different look like here to you?
  • How might an expert approach this situation?
  • How might your key stakeholders want to you deal with this?
  • If you were Google / Apple / Amazon what would your ideas be here?
  • How might a bank / supermarket deal with this?
  • What wouldn’t work here?
  • What could you take from what you have already tried, which might work?
  • As a consultant coming into this situation, what would you be advising?
  • Who is best placed in the organisation to help you generate some thinking on this?
  • What does you heart tell you to do here? What does your head say about approaching this?
  • Challenge assumptions made by the client.
  • Use questions which reframe the problem, to view it from a different angle.

Creative techniques

  • Use pictures, music or art as a way of interpreting or seeing situations differently.
  • Get the client to draw a representation of the problem, or write a series of random words that describe the situation. What do they see in the words or drawing?
  • Use a whiteboard or flip chart to mind map random thoughts or ideas
  • Try ‘what if…’ questions or scenarios to examine it from a different angle
  • Go for a walk or have a session in a coffee shop. Different locations can stimulate different thinking.
  • What is the opposite of the current situation? When you find this, what from this could contribute to new ideas?
  • Strip a situation back to its parts. What changes can you make to individual parts that might make a difference?
  • When an idea or thought comes forma he client. Say, ‘yes and….’ See where it takes the conversation.
  • Don’t think of a solution, think about how not to do something.
  • SCAMPER! Looks at ideas or modifications. Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, Reverse
  • Attributes. Don’t try and identify a solution. Get the client to describe what the solution needs to be like. Once you get a number of attributes sometimes the solution presents itself.
  • Get the client to visualise the future state that they seek. What will it look like and feel like? What will they be doing differently. These and other questions will create a picture of what a solution might give them.
  • Wishing technique. Begin by asking for the unattainable and then brainstorming ideas to make it or at least an approximation of it, a reality. Start by making the wishes tangible. The get the client to produce 5-10 wishes pertaining to their situation. Encouraged their imagination – the more bizarre the better. No restrictions on thinking.