January 31, 2023

240: Change Your Questions with Marilee Adams

Of all the mindset tips and tricks, there is one aspect that is often overlooked: the questions we ask ourselves. Questions have the potential to shift conversations, open new ideas, and broaden understanding. The thoughts we have are in response to the questions we ask ourselves, often without conscious thought. Managers can learn how to use these internal questions as a tool to transform difficult relationships, spark creativity, reduce stress, and much more.

Today’s guest is Dr. Marilee Adams. Marilee is an award-winning author and pioneer in the fields of inquiry-based coaching, leadership and organizational culture. She is CEO/Founder of the Inquiry Institute, a solutions and performance-focused company providing consulting, coaching, training, keynotes and eLearning. She is the author of the best selling book Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 12 Powerful Tools for Leadership, Coaching and Results.

Marilee and I talk about the powerful questions we ask (without even realizing it) that shape our thoughts and actions. We get into what you can do to recognize these questions and start to change them, so you can truly transform your relationships and really, your life.

Members of the Modern Manager community get a $10 Discount on The Choice Map Course. The Choice Map is your roadmap to creating a foundational awareness of your mindsets and questions. It will help you to live predominantly on the Learner mindset path, or ‘Learner Living’. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community or become a member of the Skills Accelerator.

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Read the related blog article: How to Ask Yourself the Right Questions


Website: https://inquiryinstitute.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marileeadams

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/questionthinking

Personal LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marileeadams

Institute LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/inquiryinstitute/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/InquiryInst

Key Takeaways:

  • Our inner dialogue is a series of responses to questions we ask ourselves. We are either in Learner or Judger mindset.
  • The Learner Mindset thinks win-win. It is open to possibilities. It asks “What’s my responsibility?” and “What would help my team thrive?” and “What is possible right now?”
  • The Judger Mindset thinks win-lose. It is critical of the self and others, seeing few possibilities. It asks “Who’s to blame?” and “What’s wrong with me (them)?”
  • We all have Learner and Judger mindsets and will flow back and forth between them all day.
  • To switch from Judger to Learner, start with awareness of how you’re thinking. Ask ‘switching questions’ such as “Is this what I want?” and “How else might I approach this?”
  • Fear or denial of your Judger will be counterproductive. Listen to how it shows up in you—what questions it asks and how your body responds. It helps to calm down your body before switching to Learner.
  • These techniques work for all aspects of our lives: at home and work, to improve relationships, creativity and problem solving, to reduce stress and more.


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