Leadership and Management

Questions I ask in interviews – Give me an example of how you’ve helped someone grow

Every now and then people behave in a way that negatively impacts their environment. Sometimes that’s because they lack a diverse toolbox, and sometimes they’re just repeating a behaviour that was helpful in the past.

Whenever someone gets in their own way, we (agile coaches) fill an important role – to help people learn and grow.

When I interview agile coach candidates I explore their experience in helping people learn and grow.

“Give me an example of how you’ve helped someone grow”


This question helps me understand:

  • If the candidate adjusts her style when she works with different people
  • What her default style is
  • How many people she has worked with
  • What tools she uses, and if she can motivate why uses those tools specifically
  • If she is fair and respectful when she talks about people e.g.
    • does she refer to them as problems or as people?
    • does she talk about what a person wants to learn or what they have to change?
  • If she has helped people with things they want to learn, or if she tells people what they need
  • Does she relay concrete objective observations about the persons challenges?
  • Does she know how this ties into the other persons long term goals?
  • If she has experiences any set backs or conflicts when helping someone grow

Helping people to learn and grow is an art

Agile coaches at Spotify are in a great position to offer help because we work so close to our teams. But depending on the situation and the person you might see us adopting different styles e.g. we can offer feedback, coach, mentor, teach, and pair etc.

When this is done well it leads to increased well being, motivation, and performance. When this is done poorly it leads to demotivated staff, and conflict that spreads through an organisation.

That’s why it’s important to us that our agile coaches have experience from helping people learn and grow. And our preference is of course coaches who have been both successful and unsuccessful. :)

Thanks for reading, and if you’re scheduled for an interview with us – Good luck! :)

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