Adult Development Assessment:  The SOI

Conducting and Analyzing the Subject Object Interview

“If you want to understand another person in some fundamental way you must know where the person is in [their] evolution… What is most important for us to know in understanding another is not the other’s experience but what that experience means to [them].”

– Robert Kegan, The Evolving Self

The Workshop

The Subject-Object Interview (SOI), described in In Over Our Heads, Immunity to Change and An Everyone Culture, is our adult development assessment tool that has been used all over the world, across all sectors, over the last forty years. A trained interviewer/analyst can use this instrument to identify, with high degrees of interrater reliability, where someone is in their evolutionary journey.

The assessment can be used for multiple purposes including to:

  • understand the deep structures someone is using to make meaning
  • explore how and why a person may be struggling with challenges they face
  • target growth – a next, more complex way to make meaning
  • assess the effectiveness of a developmental intervention

The interview is used widely by leadership coaches and program directors, HR professionals, and researchers whose primary focus is adult learning and development. Successful completion of the course will allow you to use it to fit your professional or research purposes, and there is an added benefit to participants as they join a community of professionals who share a common goal in supporting adults. Participants will also experience and learn best practices for conducting the SOI interview + debrief virtually.

The optional, additional certification as a Reliable SOI Scorer includes additional practice with the tool, analyzing and scoring 5 new SOI transcripts, and feedback on your work.


Cohorts are facilitated by Deborah Helsing, EdD or Annie Howell, EdD

Program Dates

January 2025 Morning Cohort: 9 am – 12 pm US Eastern Time January 14, January 21, January 28, February 4, February 11, and optional Q+A on February 18




2025 Tuition

For a limited time, register for 2025 sessions at our 2024 rates!


Standard tuition


Discounted rate for those working exclusively in the non-profit sector


Full time student


Certification Fee (optional)

Fees include all materials and 15 hrs of ICF CCE credit (8 Core Competency hours and 7 Research Development hours).


The facilitator has such a critical role. She could have framed this as right & wrong and BTW I’m smart and you’re not. This was never done. She created a space for us, unhampered by her knowledge, to agree, disagree, open our minds or dig into our own tendencies of being right or wrong…then expanded our experience with her thoughts. Very satisfying to approach a very complex topic and stay focused on deeper understanding.

I cannot tell you how valuable this experience has been. Enlightening, challenging, expansive, intensive. One of the best learnings experience of my life (along with the ITC Certification process). I feel like we get immersed in an evolution process as we study this material. That is humbling and beautiful at the same time… a fabulous experience, a deep dive into the nature of what it means to be human.

It’s impossible not to love this work, because you can sense how much [the facilitator] loves it herself.

I am questioning, listening, and coaching at a deeper level than before. Thank you!

Could not ask for better clarity in teaching concepts.

Content, depth of discussions high and satisfying. Small group discussions we excellent as we were primed to take and entertain opposing views, which worked well. [In] the plenary group [I found it] easy to get a question asked & answered or explore a point of view.

[The facilitator] was amazing in answering questions, very knowledgeable, and probing to make you think instead of telling you the answer.

[It was] extremely helpful to get concrete comments and suggestions on the interview I made. I also agree with the things that were said about how the sessions were facilitated – everybody was held and supported. Admirable!