Asking Over Telling: Using Humble Inquiry to Build Great Teams

location_city Ottawa, Ontario schedule Nov 20th 10:45 - 11:30 AM EDT place Room 211 people 42 Interested

More asking, less telling. As an agile leader, adopt the approach of humble enquiry to build relationships, increase trust and collaboration, and deal with the challenges of organizational transformations.

"Humble enquiry is the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not already know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person." - Edgar H. Schein

Working in an agile way asks us to rethink how we relate to each other as we tackle complex problems and challenge the traditional structures of our organizations. Humble enquiry - the art of asking instead of telling - is a critical skill for agilists who seek to improve collaboration and address difficult problems head on. Inspired by Edgar H. Schein's book 'Humble Enquiry, this workshop will teach you the fundamentals of how to do more asking and less telling. Through mini-lectures and interactive exercises, we'll discuss the different types of questioning, consider the forces around and within us that inhibit our ability to ask instead of tell, and examine how this powerful technique can improve collaboration within agile teams as well as help to address some of the challenges of agile transformations.


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

This is a highly interactive workshop featuring a series of mini-lectures reinforced by practical exercises for skill development.


  • What is humble inquiry?
  • Active listening
  • Exploring humility
  • Asking open questions
  • Cultural and internal barriers to practicing humble inquiry

Learning Outcome

Learning Outcomes:

  • Improve your leadership skills by learning the basics of humble enquiry
  • Recognize the constraints (cultural and psychological) that make it difficult to ask instead of tell
  • Activities that you can use yourself and with their teams/organizations to practice this skill.

Target Audience

anyone in a leadership role

Prerequisites for Attendees

A curiosity about leadership and willingness to learn more.

schedule Submitted 5 years ago