Foreword

How can reading Change Your Questions, Change Your Life help you and the people who are important to you have better lives?

To begin with, Marilee shows how we can become more effective and efficient by focusing on learning rather than judging.

Marilee shows us the power of questions to direct our thinking, and therefore our actions and results. This means that we can intentionally affect the future by designing the most powerful questions for getting us there. That’s what great coaching is all about. It’s also what great leaders do — they provide us with visions of new futures.

Racecar drivers are taught to “focus on the road — not the wall.” As you read this book, focus on the road that represents your highest potential by asking questions that lead to a better future, such as “What are the greatest positive possibilities I can imagine?”


Introduction

the heart of the book, takes on an age-old issue — our ability to be in charge of our own thinking, moment by moment by moment. QT provides skills for observing and assessing our present thinking — including the questions we’re asking ourselves — and then guides us in designing new questions for getting better results. In other words, QT helps us think productively rather than reactively, and to choose wisely rather than simply react.

One fateful day, expecting high praise from my advisor for some work I felt great about, I instead heard from him, “Marilee, this is just not acceptable.” At that moment something new happened. Instead of tearfully wondering what was wrong with me, I took a deep breath, and becoming calm and curious, simply asked him, “OK, how do I fix it?” That simple shift took me from feeling powerless to being confident enough to take constructive action. Afterward I wondered, Could this seeming miracle be turned into a reliable method for myself and others? And so I began.

real change always begins with a change in thinking, and most specifically in the questions we ask ourselves

Another example: A switch from those two questions about her boss:
“What’s he going to do wrong now?” and “How’s he going to make me look bad?”
To this question: “What can I do to make my boss look good?”

questions are like treasures hidden in broad daylight.


1 Moment of Truth

Like everyone else, I believed the way to fix a problem was to look for the right answers. Instead, Joseph showed me that the best way to solve a problem is to first come up with better questions.
The skills he taught me rescued my career and saved my marriage as well. Both were definitely in trouble at the time.

‘Are you willing to take responsibility for your mistakes — and for the attitudes and actions that led to them?’
‘Are you willing — however begrudgingly — to forgive yourself, and even laugh at yourself?’
‘Will you look for value in your experiences, especially the most difficult ones?’
‘Are you willing to learn from what happened and make changes accordingly?’

Question everything! It was a quote attributed to Albert Einstein.