The mission of the Inquiry Institute is to create a global community of Learners engaging in open-minded, open-hearted inquiry with each other, their colleagues, teams, and organizations as well as with their families and communities, utilizing Question Thinking™, The Choice Map™ and best-in-class practical and powerful inquiry-based strategies to create the results and futures they desire.
We invite you to join us in our Learner Living movement.
“Questions, whether explicitly or implicitly, shape how we think, feel, act, and relate. Therefore our questions, whether directly or indirectly, lead to our experiences, results, and relationships in life.”
- Dr. Marilee Adams
While Marilee’s learning path has been largely academic, her most impactful learning was not only in formal classrooms but also in many thousands of hours of training, seminars, personal counseling, mindfulness practices and study with pioneering masters of change.
After earning her Bachelor's degree in Sociology and her Master’s in Social Work, Marilee became a psychotherapist in private practice and for 25 years worked with individuals, couples, families and groups. During this time, she also facilitated workshops in her own training company and began studies for her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.
Highlights of those thousands of hours of immersive study include: over three years with Dr. Milton Erickson - the father of Modern Hypnotherapy followed by five years of study with Richard Bandler, John Grinder, and Leslie-Cameron-Bandler who used Erickson's work to create the field of Neurolinguistic Programming.
Marilee also spent 3 years training in Gestalt Therapy (developed by Fritz Pearls) and developed her systems thinking perspectives over many years studying with Murry Bowen (the father of family therapy), Sal Minuchin (father of structural family therapy) and Fernando Flores (in the Ontological Design Course focusing on the power of language).
Marilee’s doctoral research focused on understanding the experiences of feeling out of control for women who were overweight and binge eaters. The big “ah-ha” was in recognizing that the language they used to talk to themselves about themselves, including the questions they asked themselves, kept them stuck in a no-exit loop of feeling miserably out of control, frustrated, and hopeless about changing.
Marilee coined the phrase Question Thinking™ to articulate her breakthrough recognition about the nature of thinking, the questions we ask ourselves, and the mindsets from which we ask those questions. These ideas formed the basis of new understandings and methods for deep and sustainable change.
Marilee was encouraged by her patients and students to write her ideas into a book. In 1998 she published her first book, The Art of the Question: A Guide to Short-Term Question-Centered Therapy (John Wiley & Sons Publishers), a cognitive-behavioral psychology textbook. It was hailed as the “book of the decade” in the field of psychology.
That book was the first time Marilee had fully articulated the outcomes of her theories about the intrinsic role of questions (in thinking and communication) and about the impact of mindsets on feelings, behavior, relationships, and outcomes. The Choice Model™ was a core illustration that was the precursor to the current Choice Map™.
The effectiveness of Question Thinking™ that emerged from The Art of the Question started to spread beyond Marilee’s workshops. The idea that living a more peaceful life, with better relationships, and the core to change was changing your questions at any moment was intriguing not only in the world of psychology but in the world of organizations.
Marilee soon became a sought-after speaker and trainer in organizations like the National Defense University and other high-level governmental agencies including the Department of the Treasury and with companies such as Lockheed Martin, Johnson & Johnson and DHL.
With the success of The Art of the Question's methods and theory, Marilee wanted to bring Question Thinking™ to more people. Inspired and challenged by her brother to make her work relatable for anyone wanting better results personally and professionally, Marilee decided to write a book to help professionals and leaders in businesses and organizations discover and practice her methods.
First published in 2004 by Berrett Koehler, the book Change Your Questions, Change Your Life has become an International Best-Seller, selling close to 400,000 copies in 24 different languages; now in its third edition. It is now required or recommended reading in many coaching schools and leadership programs. The Choice Map™ being the central illustration in the book.
The growing success of Change Your Questions, Change Your Life created an increased demand for Question Thinking™ training and consulting, especially in coaching, leadership and large organizations. Marilee was recruited to teach her work on Inquiring Leadership as an adjunct professor at American University in the School of Public Affairs and now she teaches at Weatherhead Executive Education at Case Western University.
Kim Aubry joined Marilee as partner and Chief Operating Officer of Inquiry Institute to help expand customer service, coaching and our sustainability in organizations. The Inquiry Institute added a comprehensive program called The Chief Question Officer Certificate Program and offered the ability to become an authorized trainer, thus spreading the Question Thinking™ methodologies into organizations.
Change Your Questions Change Your Life expanded to the K-12 education sector. Responding to requests from this growing audience, Marilee wrote Teaching that Changes Lives: 12 Mindset Tools for Igniting the Love of Learning, a fable set in the classroom for educators, which also incorporates the Choice Map™.
The focus of the book is on the professional development of the teacher as well as on students’ critical thinking skills and their social-emotional development. Published in 2013 by Berrett Koehler, the book received a Gold Medal Independent Publishers Award. It is also used by learning and development professionals worldwide.
In 2018, Andrea Lipton joined the Inquiry Institute team as the Director of Learning. Her role is to bring her knowledge and expertise to create and enhance our workshops, create online courses and to build and support our global network of facilitators and coaches.
She creates workbooks, guides, and online trainer services and products and participates in licensing the Question Thinking™ materials. Andrea has been instrumental in helping meet the needs of our global Learner Living community.
With the evolving changes in the learning economy, due to market forces and the pandemic, the Inquiry Institute continues to grow its products and services and global footprint. We are building platforms for our community to talk, share, and learn together.
With leaders, coaches, consultants, educators, parents, and counselors, from around the world such as: Abu Dabi, Qatar, India, the Americas, Brazil, Singapore, China, Poland, Australia and Russia, virtually attending our workshops, reading our books and joining our Learner Living movement, our vision of Creating a World of Curiosity, Inquiry and Possibility is being filled. We invite you to join us as a part of our Learner Living movement today.
Dr. Marilee Adams is an award-winning author and pioneer in the fields of inquiry-based coaching, leadership, and organizational culture. She is the founder and CEO of Inquiry Institute, the originator of the Question Thinking™ methodologies and a consultant, executive coach, and keynote speaker. Marilee is the author of the internationally bestselling book Change Your Questions, Change Your Life as well as The Art of the Question and Teaching that Changes Lives.
Marilee remembers this experience as it was yesterday. She was leaving the psychologist’s office, after hours of testing for ADD, when the doctor patted her on the shoulder and said in a consoling voice, “Don’t expect too much of yourself.”
That was years before she published her first book, a cognitive-behavioral psychology textbook entitled The Art of the Question, which one reviewer hailed as the “book of the decade” in the field of psychology.
Marilee is driven by an unrelenting passion for learning and making a difference with what she learns. She credits this passion for learning as having been her saving grace and the basis for all she has developed. Her work is based on insights into the profound power of inquiry and mindsets in shaping our lives, our relationships, our results, and our futures. This work is making a global impact for individuals, executives, organizations, and teams. Marilee is happiest when people say things like: “Your work is so practical and it has changed my life—or my company, or my leadership, or my team, or even my marriage—Thank you!"
Click here to download Marilee's detailed biography.
Founder and CEO
Marilee is a psychologist, consultant, executive coach, speaker and best-selling author of Change Your Questions, Change Your life and two other books, Teaching that Changes Lives and The Art of the Question. She is faculty at the American University in their Key Leadership program at Case Western Executive Education and at the Institute for Life Coach Training.
Partner and Chief Operating Officer
Kim serves as the operations and program manager for Inquiry Institute. She is a QT coach and has studied Question Thinking and the Q-Work Approach for over 17 years. She has over 20 years of entrepreneur business experience in communication, operations and has specialist training in leadership, teams, coaching and client satisfaction.
Senior Director of Learning
Andrea serves as a facilitator, coach and instructional designer for Inquiry Institute. She has over 20 years in corporate global learning and development. Most recently has been serving as Interim Director Global Learning at Harvard Publishing.
Consultant, Coach and Facilitator
Carmella has 20 years working with leaders and teams in manufacturing operations to developing strategy and innovation utilizing the power of inquiry, with specific tools like Q-Storming. Her expertise is Leadership Development, Executive Coaching and supporting teams’ higher performance.
Consultant and Coach
Jeremy has over three decades of diverse experience including roles as CIO of a Fortune 500 telecom and Director of Global Strategy and Organizational Development for Ford Motor Company IT. As an executive and organizational design and development strategist, he brings a wealth of knowledge, perspective, and proven methods for achieving transformational change.
Senior Director of Business Development
Mark serves as our senior business development director and has excelled as a business executive, management consultant, executive coach, learning and development leader, and business development professional. He has expertise from startups to multi-million dollar enterprises. He leads in strategy and transformational change initiatives. Mark brings his targeted expertise, relentless drive, passionate leadership, and innovative solutions to Inquiry Institute.
With over 25 years of experience in marketing and communications, Lisa develops strategic marketing plans, social media and digital marketing strategy plans; sales and business development training and lead generation initiatives. Lisa also supports implementation tactics for these initiatives.
Lorianne provides logistics and administrative support to Inquiry Institute with 20 years in the corporate learning and speaker engagement world. She helps people grow their business through virtual office support and social media management.
The Choice Map™ is your GPS that you can use anytime, anywhere, with anyone, and in any situation. This powerful and practical tool is an illustration that shows where you could be with your thinking and emotions at any moment.
Are you ready to make your first Inquiring Mindset Choice?