Enquire to Inspire

20 Questions to Mentor Your Innovation Team to Success

Buy now

Work doesn't have to suck!

In fact, it can be cathartic and life-changing-- if your search team has the right permissions and resources to set it up to bloom. But only an interrogative leader can deliver these. My new book, "Enquire to Inspire: 20 Questions to Mentor Your Innovation Team to Success" will free you from the burden of directive management for the satisfaction of mentoring through questions; and it will free your team from those management constraints that limited the quality of their work-- and their lives.

With this book you will:

  1. Understand and help to create the micro-culture required for your team to run fast, lean, and focused as they dive into the ambiguity of their innovation assignments.
  2. Use permission and resources to keep your team from getting "stuck". And if they do get stuck, be able to identify those moments and give the team what they need to get back on track quickly.
  3. Mentor your teams to successful outcomes with provocative questions through the design process, from idea validation and customer discovery to product prototyping and scaling.

Click on the below thumbnails of the book covers and contents to enlarge.

Book Cover  Book Back  Book Contents

Click to sample "Chapter 1, Why this book?" (pdf download).

Buy now

Why This Book?

Today’s successful search teams counter ambiguity with the tools and behaviors of startups: they move fast, convert learnings to actionable insights, then turn those insights into right-sized prototypes to test assumptions of customer behaviors. But new ways of working require new leadership. 

Today’s leader must have all the right questions, not the right answers. Through those questions, the leader opens up the team to a world of possibilities, and bestows the permission essential to transcend the pedestrian and embrace the extraordinary.

This book is the guide for emerging leaders to confidently let go of managing teams to static outputs, and – instead – efficiently mentor them to customer-driven, dynamic outcomes. To this end, the book is short; at 106 pages, and to the point: 

Detailed Book Synopsis

Our story opens on a team of passionate knowledge workers, toiling away on projects that lack meaning. Their spirits crushed after years of building solutions without true understanding. Suddenly, a mentor arrives to lead them on a journey of discovery. Armed with questions instead of answers, this sponsor helps the team fall in love with the problem, not the solution.

They observe customers in the wild to uncover insights about motivations and needs. Failures provide valuable lessons as they test assumptions through rapid experiments. Surprises reveal they are on the right track. The team synthesizes learnings into an evolving understanding of the customer and their struggle. They recommend next steps based on real evidence, not biases.

As the solution takes shape, new challenges emerge around feasibility and integration. With care, new players are onboarded, responsibilities transitioned. Our team struggles to find closure as their creation leaves the nest. But their patron reminds them of all they've accomplished. Their passions are reignited for the next adventure.

In the end, the mentor realizes it is not answers, but the right questions that empower people to find their own solutions. Mastery is never finished, there are always new perspectives. By lifting up others, we rise together.

Chapter 1: The book introduces the concept of mentoring innovation teams through asking questions rather than providing answers. The author explains his passion for helping teams embrace ambiguity and drive customer value. He describes the transformational impact of good mentors who build trust.

Chapter 2: This chapter advocates for bringing in an experienced coach to support the team's methods and the sponsor's transition to mentor. It discusses common problems teams face without a coach. Coaches accelerate learning, focus teams, and help optimize team and sponsor interactions.

Chapter 3: Effective sponsors assemble cross-functional teams, establish environments of trust and psychological safety, help set team scope and direction, provide resources, and advocate for the team. They mentor through enquiry, not advocacy. Sponsors support the team's development and mediate conflicts.

Chapter 4: Asking "how do you know?" prompts teams to validate assumptions and learn deeply about customers through observation and experiments. Insights fuel prototypes to test value delivery. Failures provide learning. Surprises indicate the team is doing something right.

Chapter 5: Sponsors help teams derive meaning from data through actionable insights. Experiments test risky assumptions about customer behaviors. Teams refine their value proposition and recommend next steps based on evidence.

Chapter 6: Consider viability, integrate new resources carefully, understand assumptions around scaling, and plan for transition of ownership. Help the team handle the emotions around project conclusion.

Chapter 7: Keep effective teams together. Reflect on what worked well and have frank discussions about improvements. Publicly recognize team accomplishments. Understand motivations as you identify the next challenge.

Chapter 8: Find a mentor, mentor someone else, involve your team in your learning journey. Ask good questions. Help people unlock their potential. Stay passionate about driving customer value.

Appendices:  Team Interaction Planning: This provides a 3-step guide for sponsors to plan interactions with the team - connect with the coach ahead of time to understand current status, meet with the team and coach to ask focused questions based on that understanding, then follow up with the coach to get feedback on how the interaction went. Suggested Reading: A list of books and online resources related to innovation, design thinking, lean startup, agile, customer insight, and team development. Each has a brief note on its relevance.

And Even Better...

Proceeds from this book will help build a trust fund for my disabled son to ensure that he is able to live in safety and receive professional care after my wife and I are no longer physically able to care for him.

About The Author

Bill Murray is an evangelist, bent on democratizing the mindsets and toolsets of innovation. He has coached customer discovery and product design teams at companies and startups of all sizes and from every populated continent. Along the way, he learned that teams thrived when their sponsor served as a mentor, not a manager. These mentors excel in leading their teams by providing the right permissions and resources at the right time.

Cobbling together his experiences, the wisdom of his fellow coaches, and his favorite startup gurus, he wrote this book to extoll the transformational partnership of a great team and a great leader.

Connect with Bill on LinkedIn
 Visit the coachingup.us website

Buy now

For personal or media inquiries or for non-US orders and deliveries, please contact: coach@coachingup.us.


Enquire to Inspire: 20 Questions to Mentor Your Innovation Team to Success © 2023, Bill Murray. 106 pages, softcover.