Growth Edge Interview

Are you ready to step-up as a leader?
To experience a step-change in your performance?


One of the fastest ways to grow and overcome a challenge that's been holding you back is to be able to clearly see what the core issue or conflict for you is. 

Whether you're struggling to: 

  • remain calm during frustrating meetings

  • say "no" and set boundaries without feeling guilty

  • feel confident (rather than like an imposter or fraud) in your decision-making

a Growth Edge Interview (GEI) can help you gain the clarity to understand why the challenges you have are challenges for you so that you can (finally) overcome them.

Scientific Background

The GEI was created by Dr Jennifer Garvey Berger and colleagues specifically to support individuals' growth and development.  In her book, Changing on the Job: Developing Leaders for a Complex World, she writes that the GEI process is designed to provide you with "a map of the current terrain of your sense-making and some support to help you move to a place that is a better fit with the demands of your life."

Growth-Edge Coaching

Growth-Edge refers to the mental boundary of the world you currently know and understand and the world you cannot know or understand - yet.

The GEI is an evolution of the Subject-Object Interview (SOI) research tool developed by Dr Robert Kegan and colleagues at Harvard University to measure Kegan's theory of adult development. 

(In brief, Kegan's Adult Development Theory postulates that adults have the possibility to transition through particular stages of cognitive development throughout adulthood and that increasingly greater capacities - for example to be more strategic, confident, diplomatic, innovative - become available for people as they progress through the stages.  Importantly, research by Kegan and others has shown that higher stages of development correlate to improved leadership performance.)

This complex and nuanced interview is conducted by a coach certified in the GEI process, who is able to listen deeply - beyond the specific stories the client shares - to understand just one thing: How does this person make sense of the world?


  • The GEI process offers a window into your current meaning-making system, a window into which you can peer to gain a new level of self-knowledge.

  • By understanding your cognitive meaning-making system, the reasons why you might be struggling with a particular challenge can become clear - as can the path forward.

  • The GEI will illuminate which areas may provide you with the greatest ROI (return on investment) in terms of your development, should you choose to focus on them.

If you want to better understand why the challenges you have (eg controlling your temper, struggling to set boundaries, lacking the confidence to speak up) are challenges for you, a Growth Edge Interview can help.

The Process

The GEI process may vary slightly depending on what the coach/client-pair decide will be best in their particular situation.  Generally, it has the following steps:

  1. An initial conversation to determine if a GEI is the right thing for you at this time (ie if it may help you with the leadership challenges you're currently facing).

  2. A 60 to 90-minute recorded interview where your coach asks questions and listens to understand not only what you're saying but the operating system you're using to make sense of your leadership challenges in the first place.

  3. The interview audio will then be transcribed and your coach may also develop a report to support your debrief session.

  4. A 60-minute debrief session where, supported by the report and/or transcript, you will discuss your reflections on the interview with your coach, along with your coach's understanding of your current operating system and what you can do to upgrade it.

How to prepare

The GEI will be a free-flowing conversation where you talk about whatever is most interesting to you and your coach will ask questions as you go along.

To ensure you're ready to dive into the conversation, consider the following prompt in advance and come to the interview with a few different topics in mind that you could potentially talk about:

In the last few weeks or months, when have you felt: torn, change, anger, delight, or taken a strong stand?