34 work coach interview questions with sample answers

Updated 1 June 2023

If you have strong interpersonal skills and like the idea of helping guiding others in their career paths, you may do well as a work coach. Work coaches require enthusiasm and confidence as they inspire others to reach their full potential. Preparing for recruitment in this role by studying possible interview questions can improve your chances of impressing employers. In this article, we list 34 work coach interview questions, explain why employers ask them and share sample answers to help guide you as you prepare for your job interview.

10 general work coach interview questions

During the first 10 or 15 minutes of your interview, the recruiter may ask you some general work coach interview questions. These questions help them learn more about your personality and situation, including why you decided to apply for a job at their organisation. Here are some general questions you may hear:

  1. Why do you want to become a work coach?

  2. Why are you leaving your current position?

  3. How did you learn about this opportunity?

  4. What makes you an ideal candidate?

  5. What are some key qualities of a successful work coach?

  6. If you could change one thing about your personality, what would it be and why?

  7. How would your former colleagues describe you in five words?

  8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

  9. Tell me something about yourself that you didn't include in your application.

  10. Expand on the details in your CV.

Related: Why is work coaching important? (And how to get started)

Find work coach jobs

10 questions about background and experience

After initiating the introduction and learning more about you, the interviewer may ask about your background. This includes questions about your work experience and education. Here are some background and experience questions for work coaches:

  1. Have you coached anyone in the past?

  2. What have you done in the past six months to improve your coaching abilities?

  3. What was your biggest professional challenge to date?

  4. Describe the last time you failed. What happened, and how did you react?

  5. Do you hold any work-coaching certifications?

  6. How has your education prepared you for working in this profession?

  7. Describe the most challenging client you've encountered as a coach.

  8. Have you encountered a client or colleague who struggled with accepting criticism?

  9. Describe a time when you had a challenging conversation with someone in a work setting.

  10. Discuss a situation when you helped a client overcome an obstacle to reach their career goals.

Related: Interview question: 'Tell me about your educational background'

11 in-depth work coach questions

Next, the interviewer may ask about your in-depth knowledge of work coaching. During this part of the interview, they may use behavioural and situational questions to assess how you might react in work-specific situations. To answer these questions, consider using the STAR interview method by describing a situation, explaining your task in it, listing the actions you took and sharing the results of those actions. Here are some in-depth questions you may hear during your interview:

  1. How do you support a client who's unsure about the career path they've chosen?

  2. What additional steps do you take to help a client with a disability find a job?

  3. How do you help your clients get out of their comfort zones?

  4. What techniques do you use to motivate yourself and inspire clients?

  5. What do you do if a client insists on entering a profession for which they're not qualified?

  6. What measures do you take to determine suitable positions for clients?

  7. How do you keep track of all the clients with whom you're working?

  8. How can work coaches use reporting to improve their clients' results during a job search?

  9. What techniques do you use to help clients set their career goals?

  10. What do you do to update your coaching methods and learn about trends in the job market?

  11. How do you help clients prepare for job interviews?

Related: How to use the STAR interview technique in interviews

3 work coach questions with sample answers

Reviewing answers to frequently asked questions is an effective way to prepare for an interview. Doing so helps you not only discover what employers expect to hear from you, but also how to structure your answers. Here are additional work coach questions with explanations and sample answers.

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards:

1. What steps do you take to prepare for meeting a new client?

Interviewers ask this question to make sure you know how to make a new client feel welcome and make a positive impact on them. Your answer also tells recruiters how thorough you are when collecting the first set of information from clients. To answer this question, explain how you prepare and how that ensures the meeting is successful.

Example: 'Usually, as part of client onboarding, I provide new clients with access to a questionnaire that they fill out before our first meeting. This way, I can learn more about their needs and expectations before meeting them in person. Although I never create final schedules or plan goals before discussing them with my clients, this allows me to start my research earlier. I find that this approach presents me as a more thorough and professional coach who shows genuine interest in each project.

In addition to analysing the questionnaires, I determine if I have worked with clients with similar goals. Sometimes, this simply refers to people who want to pursue a career in the same industry or sector. This way, I can determine what strategies I used for a similar client, whether they worked and if it makes sense to use a similar approach again.'

Related: How to build client relationships with these top tips

2. You start working with a new client who has low self-esteem and complains about their inability to find a suitable career. How do you motivate them to engage in the coaching process?

Coaches use motivational strategies to help clients identify their strengths and believe in their potential. An interviewer may assess your understanding of client motivation by asking direct or situational questions like this. To answer, explain your thought process and how you help clients improve their self-esteem. If possible, provide an example of when your motivation and support helped someone become more confident in reaching their career goals.

Example: 'Some clients demonstrate low self-esteem because they let their emotions guide their growth and professional development process. I believe that my role as a work coach is to help them look at their situation and skills from a new perspective. For example, I may ask them to imagine that they're meeting a person with a background and set of skills similar to theirs. Most clients who engage in this exercise evaluate the imaginary person's qualifications positively. This also helps them understand that they're more valuable than they think.

If exercises like this don't help, I usually discuss that seeking help from a psychologist or therapist may be beneficial. Sometimes, the cause of their low self-esteem is deeper than they realise, and more qualified individuals can give them medical advice. Still, I propose continuing the coaching meetings so they can achieve their career goals on time.'

Related: Types of motivation to achieve career and personal goals

3. Do work coaches use the same customer service techniques and approaches as retail employees?

Customer service is the advice and assistance that anyone in a customer-facing role provides to their clients at work. There are different approaches to customer service, and knowing which ones to use in coaching allows you to provide services that satisfy your clients. To answer this question, explain how customer service differs in coaching and retail and discuss how this affects your work.

Example: 'I think that some elements may be the same, but generally, the customer service that work coaches provide differs from that of retail employees. The biggest difference is that the retail industry is more likely to work with one-time interactions. In coaching, the goal is to build long-term relationships with clients. Although retail employees still work to retain customers and make sure they return to the shop in the future, the goal of a work coach is to build ongoing relationships with people.'

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