Design Thinking Coach: The Best Guide [2023 Edition]

Design thinking coaches are more in demand than ever as a lot of large organizations are implementing design thinking. Why?

Design thinking is centered around the human core and helps organizations to develop better products and services for their customers.

What is your take on this?

Are you creative?

Have you ever given creative solutions to your friends for their issues?

Yes? Then check out design thinking coaching.

I feel, if you have a creative thought process then you can venture into design thinking coaching.

Still, confused? Then check out this article to understand everything you want to know about design thinking coaching.

The design thinking coach is someone like a team coach. They help the team and each individual to grow and learn. They also work on a personal level. It is their behavior as a role model that helps in design-led innovation. For making the organization develop new ideas, these coaches work as a changemaker.

Let us find out more in detail about the design thinking coach.

Who is a design thinking coach?

One who embeds design thinking practices is a design thinking coach. He or she ensures that the team in different sections of the business designs the right solution. The main aim of a coach is to train people using design thinking tools.

The coaches follow an iterative process to find a creative solution for a problem. This involves understanding people and their challenges. Based on which alternative strategies are developed. These strategies develop with time and thus the role of design thinking coach is crucial.

It requires the interest of a coach in understanding different groups of people. Their role is to observe the clients and ask them various questions. These questions are about problems, assumptions and their implications.

Many problems are unknown or not defined well. Design thinking coaches work upon it. They use brainstorming sessions for creating new ideas. In a lot of areas, design thinking works.

Design thinking coaches drive the team towards a positive outcome. They focus on human-centered methods. They always ask what is the human need behind a particular design thinking. This helps in finding innovative solutions for problems that are challenging.

Coaching techniques used by design thinking coach

Design thinking coaches focus on people’s requirements. It leads to better internal processes along with products or services. So what are the techniques a design thinking coach follows?

Let us find out.

Design thinking coach follow the investigation as the first technique

Design thinking coaches go into the depth of the problem. They find solutions for real-world situations. Further, there is interaction with the people who are facing those situations. There is a proper investigation. This involves interviews having all kinds of open-ended questions.

During the process, a lot of information is uncovered which may be surprising. They find the hidden points. These are important in design thinking strategies.

Design thinking coaches give ideas visual look

The investigation leads a coach to notes. There is a lot of documentation done. Things are either in notepad or laptops. But turning them into visual tools can make a lot of difference. Coach uses post-it notes, whiteboards or sketches to give thoughts a shape. Many coaches use clay figures, LEGO too. This technique is known for creating visual images. Clients find this more useful as they can see their own goals in image form.

Focus on the process than the outcome

A design thinking coach develops a process and focuses on it. This technique emphasizes on the process and not on the outcome. In this approach, there is more room for exploration.

Both coaches and clients can find endless possibilities. One can generate infinite solutions to the problems. There is no pressure in this technique.

Take failure in a positive way

A lot of people are afraid of failure. They cannot see themselves fail. Hence, one tries to avoid taking risks. People are ready with excuses because they fear. Design thinking coaching uses early failure as a technique. It is about moving ahead in life no matter what.

As a coach, you can use this technique with your clients so that they don’t have the fear of failure.

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Collaborate and partner with your clients

Collaboration is an important technique used by many design thinking coaches. You need to work as a team and build new ideas. It is also about accepting the opinions of others. This involves the formation of a team between the coach and the client.

There is an agreement in which both parties are equally responsible for each task. There is a sense of respect for the client’s needs. In the same way, they also follow your guidelines.

Conduct brainstorming session

The brainstorming session technique enables wild ideas. It requires some motivation. As a coach, conduct brainstorming sessions as that will generate creative thoughts. It is used for diverting the client’s mind from reality. This will motivate clients to unleash their creative side and come up with better innovative solutions. It makes way for creative designs and not putting any limitations. This is mostly done to build out of the box ideas. You can give them your ideas as a coach and they can take them as an example.

Have a fresh approach

As a coach, you have to check the pre-existing problems. This can make you act with a preconceived notion. You should look at things with a fresh mind. It also means you are observing new angles in the issue.

You can go deep inside the problem if you are looking at things with a beginner’s mind. Clients also can have a new perspective as this technique brings out variations.

Who are your prospective clients as a design thinking coach?

As a coach, you can find your prospective clients by identifying the needs of the people. Here are the ones who need your coaching.

Product or service designers

Product or service engineers make products and services for users with a lot of thought. They want to give users meaningful experiences. A happy customer is important for the business.

As a coach, you can guide and mentor them in the process of building the products.

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Business owners

Companies always want to create value through designs. Innovation has changed the functioning of the business. Business owners are now design-driven and focusing on customer requirements.

A design thinking coach like you can help in developing user-experience-focused designs. CEOs believe in designing thinking. It is an important and effective strategy for them. Your coaching can prove beneficial in organizational changes. Entrepreneurs can achieve business goals with ease.

Leaders of the nation

Designing thinking is not constrained to business. Leaders of the nation also need your coaching. As a coach, you can drive innovation programs. This way leaders can find new pathways. They have various social projects in which design thinking is a must.

As a design thinking coach, you can give them innovative solutions for better functioning of the economy.

How can a design thinking coach help clients?

A design thinking coach links the desires of people with technical feasibility. Their techniques are economically viable. The designers who are not trained enough can use those techniques. It can help them overcome the challenges. The design thinking coach takes action and handles the problems in a new way.

Here are the points about how they can help:

Guide and give full support in human-centered design

As a coach, you can develop human-centered solutions for real-life problems. Be it services or product design almost all are developed for human usage. So, as a coach consider all the factors and guide your clients to come up with human-friendly solutions.

Work on innovative ideas across different projects and industries

As a design thinking coach, take care of cross-functional project teams. This is all about dealing with design, strategy, technology, and many other features for different projects.

The major function of design thinkers is delivering top quality creative outputs. They build strategic outputs based on user research, designing and implementing concepts. There is an infusion of empathy and creativity. It is the touchpoints where the coaches work. This, in turn, helps in achieving business goals.

Design thinking coaches can increase the output

As a coach, you have to work in coordination with various stakeholders of the firm. It is a continuous work for identifying the areas of improvement. This is where human-centered innovation can help in creating value. It builds up the project and increases the output.

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Crafts appropriate strategies to achieve business goals

Coaches partner with clients to find out business needs and objectives. According to the business goals they craft appropriate strategies. They put in place different plans. It is their role to check if the plan can successfully achieve the goals or not.

Optimize the available resources and achieve the best possible results

A lot of businesses have limited resources. Now, here a design thinking coach has to use all the resources optimally and achieve the best results. Resource optimization will lead to cost reduction and more profits.

How much can a design thinking coach earn in 2021?

Most design thinking coaches earn around $50 to $200 per hour. As a coach, you can earn more than that if you market your services in the best way.

Do you want to increase your earnings? Then offer different packages with different charges. Market your services offline and online. Package or group offers sell better than per hour sessions. Take advantage of different offers and increase your earnings.

Top qualities you should own to be a design thinking coach

Here are some of the essential qualities of a design thinking coach. These are essential for guiding people through a design thinking learning journey.

Empathy and interaction at a social level

A coach works as a conductor. It means they observe individual qualities and moods. They find their roles. It is through empathy they highlight the members about strategies. This involves social interaction. Thus, coaches need skills such as high perception and awareness about everything.

Design thinking coaches should be team players

The design thinking coach should have teamwork skills. They have to deal with different people. Hence, they should appreciate diversity. As a coach, be a great team player who can successfully support individuals. This will increase productivity.

Also, as a coach, you should have the skill to deal with yourself. This is because people will adopt your attitude.

Reflection as a skill

Reflection is a major source of imparting knowledge. It is crucial while you are coaching teams. Coaches can use this skill to learn from their experiences. It also means sharing the signals to the clients.

Reflect whatever you have learned and experienced through your actions. This will make people confident and trust you as a coach.

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Share the right information

Design Thinking coaches share their experiences. But it is important that as a coach you share the right information at the right time. You should deal with coaching practices tactfully. The team should not be influenced in the wrong manner.

Follow what you preach

Design thinking is based on authenticity. People follow the coaches. They always judge based on their appearance and performance. Hence, a coach should be an effective role model. They should themselves apply the basic principles of design thinking. Also, use them as an example while coaching.

Bring flexibility

Design thinking coaches adapt to new situations. Innovation gives uncertain results.

Thus, a coach must respond to changing circumstances for getting the right outcomes. They should have intuitive reading skills. This can help in building new strategies. Decision making requires a flexible approach. This is a must for design thinking coaches.

Top marketing strategies to get coaching clients fast as design thinking coach

As a coach, make your profile as a design thinking coach. You can create awareness for your brand across your industry and peer network.

Here are some examples of marketing strategies. This you can leverage to grow your profile as a design thinking coach:

Do guest blogging as a design thinking coach

As a coach, you can share content that is helpful to his/her ideal audience on other websites. You can build up your profile as a helpful expert. It also gets the message out to a new audience.

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Market through social media

First, decide which social media website is helpful. There are many like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram. Then identify where your audience is most engaged and invest the time there. You should use relevant hashtags and captions. This is done while linking relevant content on your site or blog. This will help people find the coach faster.

Create podcasting shows

Podcasting is one of the best ways to increase your status as a thought leader in your space. Podcasting is done by either hosting your show or being a guest speaker on other shows. This is the way to start. You can dive a little deeper into leveraging podcasts. This can happen once the audience gets eager to listen to you.

Build online communities for design thinking coaching

If you have a community to connect with your audience then it’s the best option. It serves as an engine for all your further marketing efforts. Also, this establishes you as a helpful facilitator. This will get you a way to engage with your audience in real-time.

Promote through Email marketing

Once you build up your email list, start keeping your audience informed. Keep the content engaging and see how clients respond to the Email. Create content about how you may help them. For more details send emails to help them which have links and descriptions.

There are many other marketing methods or options you can put in place. They are like SEO, video creation, and a robust content marketing strategy. But the five above are a great place to start!

Six stage process that a design thinking coach uses

Coaches use a six-stage process that can help them in fact-finding and design thinking. So let’s talk about them briefly:

Phase 1: Empathise

The critical starting point of design thinking is always provided by ‘Empathy’. In the first stage of this phase, it is important to know the user. You must understand their wants, needs, and objectives. With this process, you can engage with the people. A coach can observe them. This way one can understand their psychological and emotional levels. In this phase, the designer needs to set aside their assumptions. They should collect real information about the user.

Phase 2: Define

The second stage in the design thinking process is to define the problem. You may collect all your information from the empathize phase and start to make sense of them. It can be like what difficulties and barriers are your users facing? What patterns are you getting to know? At the end of this phase, you will be clear with the problem statement. The main aspect here is to frame the problem in a user-centered way.

Once you’ve evaluated the problem in your words, you will start to come up with answers, solutions, and ideas. This brings us to stage three.

Phase 3: Ideate

You must first have a solid understanding of your users. Next, you can clear the problem statement in mind. Once done, you must start to work on potential solutions. This is the phase in the design thinking process where creativity happens.

It’s sensitive to point out that the ideation stage is a judgment-free zone! To come up with as many new angles and ideas as possible, designers will hold ideation sessions.

Designers can use a wide range of ideation techniques. This includes brainstorming and mind mapping, roleplay scenarios and provocation. It’s an extreme lateral-thinking technique. It challenges the established beliefs and checks new options and alternatives. At the end of this phase, you’ll narrow it down to a few ideas with which to move forward. In this phase, all the most important ideation techniques can be learned.

Phase 4: Prototype

In this step, the design thinking process is about experimentation. It is about changing ideas into tangible products. It creates potential solutions identified in the above stages. This is the key step to put each solution to the test and highlight any constraints and flaws.

Throughout the stage, the proposed solutions may be accepted, improved, redesigned or rejected. It depends on how they fare in prototype form. You can read all about the prototyping stage of design thinking in this in-depth guide.

Phase 5: Test

User testing comes after the prototype. But, this is almost the end of the design thinking process. The results of the testing phase will often take you back to a previous step in real. This provides the insights you need to redefine the original problem statement. You can also come up with new ideas you wouldn’t have thought before.

Phase 6: Launch

Share the idea with your client and market it. Get the reviews during the launch phase. The review is done to find out how great the idea is.

There is so much shared with you about the design thinking coaching. It is a valuable option as a coaching business. Hence, you might think about how to grow yourself as a design thinking coach. How can you apply the skills in your work?

You can grow as a design thinking coach by being realistic. You should have a deep understanding of the different design thinking principles. The coach achieves success if he or she has a mindset of design thinking. It will help you apply the right approach in your discipline and practice of coaching.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a design thinking coach?

One who embeds design thinking practices is a design thinking coach. He or she ensures that the team in different sections of the business designs the right solution. The main aim of a coach is to train people using design thinking tools.

What skills are needed for design thinking?

Here are some of the essential qualities of a design thinking coach.
1.Ability to emphasize and carry out interactions at a social level.
2.Be a team player.
3.Ability to share the right information at the right time.
4.Be adaptable to changes to try out innovative ideas.

How do i become a design thinking trainer?

Getting a design thinking training certificate is the first step in becoming a design thinking trainer. Programs are available online, in-person, or a combination of both.

How much does design thinking cost?

Most design thinking coaches earn around $50 to $200 per hour.


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