Are You Coachable? – Coachability Interview Questions

As an executive recruiter, my goal is to help people grow personally and professionally. When I meet with a candidate, I listen and recognize the coachability factor.

What is Coachability?

A coachable employee has a genuine willingness to be taught, to act upon that guidance, and to handle missteps while being motivated to learn and do better.

Key coachability traits:

  • Demonstrates self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses
  • Finds a way to get feedback; assumes that there is always room for improvement
  • Shows energy and motivation for improvement
  • Is open to multiple ways of growing and developing
  • Notices impact on others and adapts
  • Experiments with new approaches
  • Monitors own behavior

Examples of Coachability Qualities

Listening skills and flexibility: People who are coachable pick up on the subtlety of a conversation and recognize verbal cues. During an interview, they can adjust when the topic moves in a new direction – they can be flexible without having to be told. This tells me they will respond to coaching opportunities in their careers. With the help of a coach, they will be able to come to their own conclusions and solve their own problems.

Team focus: A team focus is important in a candidate. I look for people whose background includes being part of a team. That team can be in any environment – for example, sports, business or the military. Having played sports, being coached comes naturally to me. A coachable person has an internal capacity to absorb information from leadership and recognizes his or her impact on teammates.

Humility: Humility requires an open heart, an acceptance that we can’t do everything on our own. When I am coached, I know that it is not a personal attack; the advice helps me improve. Make sure your humility shines through during an interview.

Self-awareness: I think one of my best attributes is my ability to be self-critical. Coachable people can look honestly at themselves and see where they need to grow and improve. It’s important for candidates to demonstrate self-awareness during an interview.

Action bias: When I started at Lucas Group, my biggest challenge was getting caught up in the details. My boss told me, “I want you to get out of your own way. Get out of your head. Initiate conversations. Take action.” Doing so doubled my output. When I interview a candidate, I listen for an example of how they’ve taken action when faced with a challenge or opportunity.

Coachability Interview Questions

  • In what capacity have you worked as part of a team in the past? How did you feel about collaborating with others?
  • Tell me about a time when you received feedback from a manager? How did you respond to that feedback?
  • What is one area, personally or professionally, where you see the need for improvement in your life?
  • Describe a project that you initiated from start to finish in your previous role.