Professional Development Session

These sessions are limited. Register now to secure your spot!

Powerful Questioning for Coaches and Leaders

Day: 7 November 2024
Time: 9:00 – 16:00
Price: $149 for ILA members; $250 for non-members
Location: Hilton Chicago Downtown 
Facilitators: Marilee Adams

Sign-up for the pre-conference workshop:

Full Description

In the context of coaching and leadership, the workshop introduces Question Thinking™*, a breakthrough methodology for transforming thinking, action, and results through intentional and skillful question asking as well as mindset mastery. Participants will learn how to discern the mindset and kinds of questions that block success and change them to help evoke breakthrough thinking and desired new results. The Question Thinking material is foundational for any coaching application (life coaching, business coaching, and executive coaching) as well as for leadership development. It aligns with and supports emotional and social intelligence as well as positive psychology. This material is based on the theory and practices in Dr. Adams’s bestselling book, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 12 Powerful Tools for Leadership, Coaching and Results (4th Edition.)  

Learning Objectives: 

  • Understand that for both coachees and leaders, attitudinal and behavioral change begins with changing mindsets and questions 
  • Learn how identifying and changing mindsets and questions (especially internal ones) is a potent source of change and new possibilities (includes learning how to distinguish between questions that help and those that hinder progress) 
  • Appreciate why the Learner mindset is the coaching mindset as well as the leadership mindset and how to activate and reinforce both 
  • Explore Question Thinking methods and tools that empower the Learner mindset, including the Choice Map, Learner/Judger mindset distinctions, Learner/Judger questions, and Switching questions 
  • Increase the quantity and quality of questions coaches ask clients and themselves (along with increasing their comfort level in asking and being asked questions)
  • Learn how to use these perspectives and tools so leaders can foster engagement, creativity, productivity, and sustainable learning and results 
  • Strengthen resilience, agility, and flexibility as thinkers and communicators and how to manage emotions successfully in multiple different professional and personal contexts  

NOTE: For coaches, it is not enough to simply understand that questions are crucial for coaching success. Coaches also need methodologies, skills, and tools that are accessible, systematic, and practical. This session introduces a methodology of expert question asking that promotes their ability to guide coachees to think more clearly and strategically, communicate more effectively and gracefully, and reach their goals and desired changes more easily, efficiently, and predictably.  

*  The Question Thinking™ Approach describes a unique methodology for building capacity for individual, team, organizational and cultural effectiveness. It focuses on fortifying the most productive mindset and empowering individual and collective critical, creative, collaborative and strategic thinking for the sake of more effective action and desirable results, including with challenging and complex issues. Question Thinking™ perspectives, skills, and tools have proven to have a positive impact on multiple aspects of an organization, including leadership; management; culture; individual and team problem-solving and collaboration; decision-making; critical thinking; innovation; productivity, negotiation (conflict resolution); strategic planning and implementation, project management as well as workforce and executive professional growth and development. Question Thinking perspectives and skills also fortify resilience, psychological safety, and emotional and social intelligence.  


This workshop is highly experiential, didactic, and practical. It includes models, stories, reflections, somatic practices, and large and small group exercises. It introduces Question Thinking Tools such as the Choice Map and Q-Prep (a planning tool for conversations and meetings). It further includes a Learning and Application Scenario through which participants apply the QT material to a personal, current professional challenge. By the end of the workshop, participants will have discovered new thinking and new possible actions that can make a successful difference in their challenging situation. 

Timing: 9:00 – 16:00 (includes hour for lunch) 

Part 1 

  • Welcome/ Context / Objectives 
  • Introductions 
  • Icebreaker 
  • Small and large group interactions 
  • Introduce Learning and Application Scenario  

Part 2 

  • Introduce Question Thinking and supportive practical models 
  • Introduce Learner and Judger mindsets and questions in experiential way 
  • Introduce Choice Map 
  • Somatic Practice #1 
  • Explore together relevance for coaching and leadership  
  • Continue with Learning and Application Scenario 

Lunch Break 

Part 3 

  • Reflect and Debrief material and experience from morning 
  • Exercises for deepening mindset and questioning awareness and skills 
  • Introduce and practice Switching questions  
  • Somatic Practice #2 
  • Continue with Learning and Application Scenario 

Part 4 

  • Explore relevance of QT for coaching and leadership in context of teams and organizations 
  • Introduce and practice Q-Prep 
  • Somatic Practice #3 
  • Complete work on Learning and Application Scenario 
  • Takeaways and Action Pans 


Marilee Adams

Marilee Adams, Ph.D. 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 an affiliate instructor for Weatherhead Executive Education at Case-Western University and a former Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University in the Key Executive Leadership Program. She is faculty for the Institute for Life Coach Training and Expedition Coaching. She is a Fellow at the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University and received the Lex Dilworth Award for Lifetime Achievement in Executive Learning.