There was one theme that emerged for me in 2019 which I think will make a big impact on 2020, the product coach. I think the impact will be so big that at Mind the Product Training we’ve been working on an entire platform to support it.
For the past three years, Mind the Product has been building a library of modules and full-day workshops to address product management’s biggest challenges, and we will continue to do so. However, something we hear regularly from clients and participants alike is that knowing the concepts is one thing, understanding how to implement them is another.
Wrapped up in that problem are complex issues that encompass empowerment, strategic communication, alignment, and confidence. Changing process and implementing new practices is always a public business that involves gathering groups of often skeptical people together: product managers must wrangle these groups, stand before them and facilitate discussions that are often new to everyone. It’s no wonder there is hesitancy and fear when it comes to being vulnerable in this way.
Within this question of fear and vulnerability lies the answer to why coaching as a need and a practice has grown so rapidly in the last year. Our world, our organizations, our customers, each have real problems that need to be solved, and our ability as product managers to deliver real value is needed more than ever. To deliver value we need critical thinking, creativity, the ability to spot friction and opportunity, and the courage to act. These are the skills of heroes. We need to overcome our fear and cultivate these skills, and coaches can help us do that.
To this end, Mind the Product is leveraging its extensive network of product thinkers and putting together a service and a directory for coaches, to help organizations and individuals match with the best coach for their needs.
So what’s the magic sauce of coaches? Why are they the perfect augmentation to training? Coaches have the ability to fully understand the context. They can work with an individual or team, and understand the past, the present, and help to clarify future goals. They also have the ability to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses, assess the politics, and help create a plan of action for navigating these aspects on the way to change.
As organizations move to make great changes in structure and process, they’re realizing that they need to invest in supporting key product people as they make these changes. If you are considering getting a coach, for yourself, for someone on your team, or a team itself, you should consider the following;
- Do you want the coach to be able to visit your team/product manager in person or are remote sessions sufficient?
- What outcomes would you like to see your product manager or team achieve with a coach’s support?
- Is the coaching engagement for a specific timeframe or for long-term ongoing support?
- How will you track success and gather feedback on whether coaching is helping?
Mind the Product Training will launch the coaching platform later this quarter. It will match clients with the experienced coaches we’ve assembled to offer this service. Mind the Product’s only role is to assist in making the match, because we believe that the coaches we have found should be allowed to follow their own unique approach to coaching.
Interested in learning more about our coaching service? We’d love to hear from you. Simply email us at email@example.com.