Are Mind Maps Effective Coaching Tools?

I’ve been interested in mind maps since experimenting with them as a teacher in the early 1980s.

Of course it was pencil and paper back then – which made editing colored maps a real pain.

Still, there remains something uniquely creative about the low-tech way and I continue to use it for my own impromptu idea sessions.

Nowadays there are a fair number of free and commercial mind mapping software tools available for use on a PC – with MindGenius as my software of choice for business planning, product creation and some client coaching exercises.
(Aug 2014 Update: I now use the open source software, FreePlane: )

Here’s an example of a very simple MindGenius map I created which outlines a coaching process used by a fantastic business coach, Christian Micklesen:


With face-to-face career coaching, I’ve noticed that a paper or software mind mapping approach can be very effective for those clients who are ‘visual’ and/or ‘kinesthetic’ learners.

For example, we can explore the personal vision and goals the client is most interested in, gather this information in a simple mind map format – and then use that for client fieldwork (fancy name for homework lol!) and follow up.

However, when the client’s on the far end of a telephone is where the laptop or A4 mind mapping approach has a teeny weeny problem…

There are tools available to share mind maps online in real time and the image below is something I created in 5 minutes while checking out


This is not (AFAIK) a collaborative real-time product where client and coach can share and update the same map.

If you know of any online real-time collaborative mind mapping tools, please leave a comment and let me know.

Here’s to exciting times ahead for online collaborative coaching tool!

– Mark McClure

PS – March 2012 Update:
This short video about mind maps and self-coaching may give you some ideas:

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About the Author

Author: Mark McClure is a science fiction author who lives in Tokyo, Japan.

Current project: A three-book series of novels involving time travel, parallel worlds and emerging technologies. All being well, these will be published in the 2018 timeline. Visit my blog for updates: My Books

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