9 Coachability Interview Questions (Plus Sample Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 17 June 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Coachability is the willingness to learn, act on what you learn and handle various challenges as you try to get better. Employees in many industries may ask specific questions to assess how you handle constructive criticism. Learning about coachability interview questions may help you answer the questions effectively. In this article, we discuss nine examples of coachability interview questions with sample answers you can refer to as a guide to craft your own responses.
9 coachability interview questions and example answers
Here are nine examples of coachability interview questions and sample answers you may use to help you prepare for the interview:
1. Have you ever made a mistake at work? How did you resolve it?
Mistakes may occur in the workplace, no matter your role or the precautions you take. Recruiters may ask this question to assess your accountability, integrity and ability to learn from your mistakes. They can also learn about your problem-solving skills from your response. Narrate a scenario where you made a mistake and suggest that you possess one or more of these skills.
Example: 'As I started my sales representative career, I didn't meet my target in my first quarter. I was feeling discouraged and was thinking about the reasons for this shortcoming. After talking to my supervisor, who had at least 10 years of experience, I realised I hadn't followed up with the customers enough. I applied his input in the next quarter and my numbers almost tripled. The experience taught me how to nurture leads better and that I have great potential to improve in various aspects of my career.'
2. When was the last time you required help at work? Why did you need the help?
Employers may ask this question to assess if you ask for help when necessary. Getting help from your colleagues or team members may make it more efficient to meet targets and deadlines. It may also be a sign of teamwork or interpersonal skills. In your answer, describe what you needed help with and the results of getting the help.
Example: 'When I was new in my previous role as a financial analyst, I was eager to impress with my work ethic and ended up taking on more tasks than I could manage with the deadline. My solution was to talk to my supervisor, who helped me to delegate some tasks and collaborate with my team members. All the projects we completed were of high quality. I also learnt more about my team members as we worked on the projects and came to understand some of their strengths, which helped in future projects.'
3. Can you mention a scenario where you have received feedback about your work? How did you handle it?
You may get feedback about the quality of your work from your manager, colleagues or clients. Employers may ask this question to determine how you receive feedback and understand how you process and use the feedback. In your answer, show that you can handle feedback well by describing an experience of getting feedback, the way you implemented it and the results of the feedback.
Example: 'In my first job as a web developer, I developed a webpage for the company and got mixed feedback from my colleagues and our customers. The webpage was not as responsive on mobile phones as it was on laptops and desktop computers. I was able to change to meet the needs and improve the user experience for our mobile and desktop users.'
4. What aspect of your professional life are you working to improve? How have you tried to improve it so far?
Hiring managers may ask this question to assess your ability to acknowledge your weaknesses. A coachable employee usually knows the aspects of their professional life they can improve. Be honest in your answer and express a desire to improve your weakness.
Example: 'One area in my career I can improve on is my computer skills. I may have some basic knowledge and skills of software like text or presentation editing software, but I feel I can expand my knowledge to increase my competence. There are many new software programs in our industry that I'm yet to learn how to use. I also have an interest in developing my coding skills to expand my skill set and grow my career.'
5. How would you take accountability for unfavourable results from a team you lead?
Employers may ask this question to analyse your leadership skills. Good leaders may have skills like communication, organisation and management. In your answer, highlight your ability to acknowledge your faults, take accountability and learn from the experience.
Example: 'When I worked as a customer service manager, customers made a lot of complaints about a member of my team. There was some mishandling of the customer accounts and the issue got the attention of top management. I took responsibility for the errors and called in the team member to discuss the issue. We realised he was new to the job and was using the software the wrong way. I organised for him to undergo the training course again and that eliminated the complaints.'
6. Have you ever disagreed with the feedback you receive? How did you handle it?
Part of being a coachable employee may include the ability to understand when you're right. There are times you may disagree with the feedback you receive from your colleagues or supervisors. You may have a valid reason to disagree with the feedback, but the employer may want to know that you can approach such situations professionally. It may also portray your interpersonal and communication skills.
Example: 'I once received feedback from my editor that my piece on entertainment may have been plagiarised. It was a serious concern and I thanked my editor for bringing it up. I asked which specific part was of concern. My work was original and I politely reaffirmed that to the editor as I checked it. It turns out that the editor had uploaded the article to the website twice because of an internet lag and the editor checked the second article, which was completely similar to the first article. We took down the latest article and kept the newest one.'
7. Do you prefer to develop solutions individually or learn from someone?
Employers may ask this question to assess your learning preferences. It's a question that may test your coachability and ability to take initiative. An ideal answer shows you can balance both aspects. You may work as a team to brainstorm solutions, but it's also important to develop some solutions alone.
Example: 'I believe it's both important to learn from other people and think critically to solve solutions independently. When I'm new to a subject, I learn from others and do personal research. I may prefer to develop solutions alone if I feel confident about a subject, but may still get help in case I meet unfamiliar challenges.'
8. Can you mention a time you applied knowledge you learnt from someone else?
You may encounter tasks you believe you can complete individually, but you may require learning from someone else to accomplish them. Employers want to determine your willingness to get help and if you can apply what you learn. Describe what you learnt from a colleague, supervisor or trainer. It may be beneficial to mention that you can learn things quickly.
Example: 'In my previous job as a customer service representative, I learnt how to use a software program that was unique to our organisation. It was a little challenging because it was my first time working with software like that. I got a colleague to train me on how to use it well to serve the customers. I became familiar with the software within two days and got to perform my duties well like other representatives.'
9. How do you manage a task you've never done before?
Employers may ask this question to assess your approach to problem-solving and creativity skills. They may also use it to determine if you're willing to accept feedback or coaching from others. Give a short and direct description of how you approach new tasks.
Example: 'When I approach a task I've never done before, I try to relate it as much as possible to previous tasks and think critically about potential solutions. If my current knowledge is insufficient, I may ask my colleague or someone with experience to show me how to approach it. I keep practising what I learnt to prepare for similar tasks in the future.'
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