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Home » Blog » Innovation for Coaches

Imagine being teleported back to the stone age, when meat was still eaten uncooked and everyone was forced to hibernate until spring. 

They did not know much about fire. They somehow managed to create some when the bushes were struck by lightning. They also learned how to preserve it by having a firewatcher protect the embers. However, the fire could go out anytime, and lightning strikes were few and far between. 

So what did they do? 

I believe one of the tribal members helped them in their endeavours by unconsciously taking the position of the world’s first innovation coach. When the accidental coach, who has no idea how to ignite fire but clearly has a vested interest in a successful conclusion, noticed that they were all stuck for ideas and listened intently to the conversations, he or she might have said, “What else might work?” or “Have we tried everything?” 

Were these questions raised by the world’s first coach the catalyst for one of the first innovations? Who can say!  What matters is that coaching is not a new concept, and for certain people, it is a natural method of approaching problems. 

Our first Stone Age coach possessed all of the necessary ingredients: curiosity about the method, interest in the outcome, and the ability to recognise when to ask a question that would likely move the experiments forward through good observation and careful listening.

Maybe this is how innovation began, with the first accidental coach, but the question is what would have happened if the coach didn’t have the curious head?

What is Innovation?

As defined in Managing Creativity and Innovation (Harvard Business Essentials, HBR Press, 2003, p. 2), ‘Innovation is the embodiment, combination, or synthesis of knowledge in original, relevant, valued new products, processes, or services.’ It’s about fresh and helpful things that offer value, to put it another way. Being inventive in a way that provides value to the customer in whatever you do or how you do it is already innovation in our eyes. The customer could be internal or external — or even you!

Why innovation for Coaches?

To make innovation happen, you don’t have to be the innovator yourself, nor do you have to do it alone. You will likely collaborate with and require assistance from others in an organisational setting. You can act as a catalyst for innovation, doing whatever it takes to get things moving. 

Driving the innovation process and making it happen include contributing to the creation of a culture that encourages idea development, deciding what to do with the ideas generated, and then putting them into action. When it comes to becoming a catalyst for idea development and driving innovation, the best place to start is with yourself – and making it nothing less than a purpose to do so.

Coaching Conversation Drives Innovation

What conclusion can be drawn from the story of the stone age?
For me, I guess some people have a natural tendency to ask these kinds of questions, but they may not realise that this is coaching. Others may ask questions with greater awareness. Whatever the case may be, I believe it is safe to conclude that very little innovation would occur without the creative inquiry and production of various ideas that result from asking questions.

So the point is that every coaching conversation drives innovation. Why???

Several elements go into while having a coaching conversation. Two of the most crucial are the use of strong questions and paying close attention to the replies to these questions. 

When you’re thinking about innovation, the questions you ask during a coaching conversation elicit knowledge, assist you to discover connections, and encourage you and others to think bigger and generate more ideas. Furthermore, knowing which questions to ask at what time can help you manage the entire innovation process, from concept development to selection, testing, decision-making, and execution. The appropriate questions can help you learn from your triumphs as well as your disappointments.

To summarise, a coaching conversation allows you to ask meaningful questions for yourself and others while paying close attention to the responses. Coaching talks are the missing connection when it comes to innovation.

Here Are Some Questions For Great Coaching Conversations Around Innovation
“What is the best culture for innovation?” 

“How does our culture measure up against this?” 

“What is currently working and what is not?”

“What will happen if we do nothing?”

“What do we have that could work in a different context / for a different customer?” 

“If we were starting afresh with…, what would we do differently?

Concluding everything, I want to ask you, do you want to get your clients to come up with more and better ideas of the way forward, and implement these new ideas with less restraint? Then join this session by Michael at the International Coaching Week. Register Now.

In this session, we’ll take a look at how to use the tools of creativity and innovation mindset to help you get breakthrough results in your coaching by connecting your clients to their inborn creative genius. These methods work for all forms of thought partnership, for facilitators, trainers, teachers, speakers, writers, and anyone looking to make an impact on others. Register Now.

About The Speaker

Michael is a rare combination – a working creative professional who is also trained and skilled in facilitating creativity and innovation breakthroughs for leaders, entrepreneurs, teams, and coaches.

He is certified as a Master of Creativity and Innovation Coaching, Master NLP Practitioner, and in the following disciplines: Executive, Recovery, Thought Leadership, Intercultural, Laughter, Abundance, and Hypnotherapy.

His shows have won 5 South African Film and TV Awards (SAFTAs) and he recently edited the 3x award-winning best-seller Innovation Starts With I. He bases his training philosophy on the fact that the most important innovation you will ever make is to innovate yourself.

Come, join us for a free webinar experience with Michael Lee as an intense master in introducing innovation in our lives. Discover Michael’s innovative side during powerful coaching sessions. Register Now.