The E.E.A.© Coaching Model for Brainstorming

A coaching model serves as a framework to represent a process. But, it must be agile enough to continue to serve your clients. In this post, I will recommend a powerful process to make the most of brainstorming in coaching.

Furthermore, the purpose of brainstorming is to generate ideas. The traditional definition of brainstorming is that of a group, problem-solving activity. In my experience, it is not limited to group activity. It includes elements of alone-ness and togetherness, which can easily be accomplished in a coaching session.

What is the E.E.A.© Coaching Model?

The best coaches in the world and the most respected coach federations already have a treasure trove of models you can leverage. My recommendation here is a result of my own coaching journey with my clients.

The E.E.A.© Coaching Model expands to:

  1. Explore options
  2. (Review) Experiment outcomes
  3. Appreciate Learning

The figure below illustrates the workings of the coaching model in addition to a sampling of questions. Let’s now examine this closely.

Explore Options

In this phase of the coaching model, understanding of current state and mindset of the client is already established. The Explore phase is really about playing. It invites your client to open up, become curious, and simply explore, as they would, a toy. They don’t need to be experts. So, the options they explore are merely ‘observables’

Questions to encourage your client include (but not limited to) the following:

  1. What is emerging for you from your current thinking?
  2. What alternatives or options seem possible?
  3. Which of these bring you energy or excite you?
  4. Which options haven’t you considered yet?
  5. How will these alternatives serve you in the short and long-term?
  6. What gives you energy to move forward?
  7. How else can you see this?
  8. What aspect about this option appeals the most to you? What doesn’t?
  9. If you could frame 3, potential paths forward from these options, what would they look like?
  10. What first step can you take to deepen your understanding of this alternative?


Once your client has explored all possible options, invite them to:

  • Select top 2 – 3 options to experiment with
  • Outline what the experiment includes
  • Consider what support they need
  • Share timeline of when they will complete the experiment
  • Remember that they’re getting ready to experiment and it’s too early to define what success would look like
  • Be comfortable not knowing what the outcome could look like
  • Prepare to share experiment outcomes with the coach in the next session

Step 2: Experiment Outcomes 

In the second phase of this coaching model, the client prepares to share the outcomes of their experiment. The Experiment Outcomes phase is about reviewing and analyzing results. It encourages the client to examine the outcomes with intention, kind attention, and with an open mind [Dr. Shauna Shapiro – IAA Model of Mindfulness].

Questions to encourage your client include (but not limited to) the following:

  1. What did you set out to do?
  2. And, what happened?
  3. How do you feel?
  4. What insight(s) does this help you gather?
  5. How do they inform your path forward?
  6. What did you discover about yourself through this experiment?
  7. What surprised you?
  8. If you were to conduct this experiment again, what things would you change?
  9. What would you retain?
  10. What is the opportunity and challenge here?
  11. Which of these experiment outcomes resonate with you?
  12. Which ones make you uncomfortable? Where do you wish to take that?


Now, invite your client to consider the following actions:

  • Highlight outcomes that did (and) did not resonate with you.
  • Use the outcomes to refine ideas that will help you move forward
  • Prepare to share learning with the coach in the next session.

Step 3: Appreciate Learning 

In this last phase of the coaching model, your client will take stock of their learning journey. The Appreciate Learning phase is a time to reflect and absorb learning. Prof. Tal Ben-Shahar often says: “When you appreciate the good, the good appreciates.” While that statement truly inspires intent, I’d like to push that a bit further and say: “When you appreciate the journey, your learning appreciates.” Because our greatest wisdom comes from adversity, not from success.

Questions to encourage your client in this last phase include (but not limited to) the following:

  1. What will you take away from this exercise?
  2. What was the learning?
  3. Five years from now, how will you think about this?
  4. What has this assignment/exercise meant to you?
  5. How does it align with your purpose?
  6. What can you appreciate about the learning?
  7. What new insights did you discover about yourself?
  8. How is that likely to change you?
  9. Where do you go from here?
  10. What are your next steps?


Now, invite your client to consider these as final actions:

  • Capture learning in your personal journal
  • Review the evolution of ideas from explore phase to current state and describe how they improved.
  • Share your learning with a peer or a significant stakeholder(s) in your life.

Paradigm Shifts?

Our paradigms are not permanent, forever, and always. – Chalmers Brothers in “Language and the Pursuit of Happiness”.

Our current realities are constantly evolving. And, brainstorming is a powerful technique that lets a client play without fear or inhibition in creating new realities. When integrated with a strong, coaching model, it’s fun and empowering. It creates a world of possibilities. Indeed, even potential paradigm shifts! 

Anitha Aswath | Coach, Consultant, BloggerAnitha Aswath is a Senior Leadership Coach, Team Consultant, and Global Facilitator. She has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and is trained by The Marcus Buckingham Company in StandOut and Strengths Coaching for Business Leaders. She is a Results Certified Coach from the NeuroLeadership Institute. An avid photographer, blogger, aviation enthusiast, Anitha is also a student of Indian Classical Music of the Hindustani style.

In an illustrious career spanning 21 years, she has served organizations like General Electric, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Target, and Cisco in regional and global capacities. As a Leadership Coach, she works with clients from all over the world to serve, teach, and enable the success of leaders and their teams.

Anitha Aswath is currently in Advanced Coach Training with Coach4Excellence under the tutelage and mentorship of G. Sairamesh, Master Certified Coach (MCC) , Founder of TRAC, Coach4Excellence (C4E), and CoachEval.


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