Before becoming a full-time product management coach, I spent more than fourteen years in product leadership at Google, building products that are now used by more than three billion people worldwide. I have coached and mentored product managers and product leaders of all experience levels, from recent grad associate product managers to newly promoted product directors to experienced VPs of Product and Chief Product Officers.
I’m passionate about the craft of product management and dedicated to helping other product leaders achieve success through the power of coaching.
I have worked with PMs from many industries and companies of all shapes and sizes, including consumer software, e-commerce, enterprise, hardware, life sciences/healthcare, frontier tech, FAANG, and Fortune 500.
Coaching is distinct from advising, mentoring, training, or therapy. Our governing body, The International Coaching Federation, defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Unlike advisors or consultants, coaches help you get to the root of the challenges you’re facing. They don’t tell you what they would do; they collaborate to help you discover what you should do. Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance.
There’s no finish line when it comes to growing as a product leader. Although I specialize in coaching product leaders, I focus on the whole person and the topics my clients bring to our sessions span the entirety of their lives. A cornerstone of the Co-Active Training Institute, where I trained as a coach, is the belief that clients are naturally resourceful, creative, and whole. That means the definition of success is uniquely yours. Executive coaching is about asking the right questions and using innovative techniques to evoke in clients the realization of their fullest potential. A coach is someone in your corner you can test out ideas with, speak with candidly about your fears, and who will push you and hold you accountable.
I’ve benefited throughout my career from coaching, and I wish I’d discovered it earlier in my career. Sometimes it was helpful to just work through a problem with someone who’d been there, or even just someone who didn’t work at the same company. They helped me resolve conflict, create great cultures, make tough decisions, become an authentic leader, chart the direction of my career, and deliver world-class products. My twenty-plus-year career in product management and product leadership has sharpened my skills as a coach.
I’m passionate about the craft of product management and am dedicated to providing that same help to others. I hope we get the opportunity to work together.
Below are just a few areas my clients and I focus on:
And here are some typical situations where clients reach out to me:
I’ve worked with hundreds of product leaders, product managers, executives, and teams from the following companies:
All individual coaching packages require a minimum six-month commitment. That will give us the time and space to work together on the challenges you face, get to know one another, and develop a powerful coaching alliance based on authenticity and trust. I offer a free, no-obligation one-hour exploratory session to determine fit.
If you represent a company with multiple team members looking for 1:1 coaching, contact me for availability and discounted pricing.
Check to see if your company’s learning and development stipend covers coaching, or ask your manager about receiving sponsorship. People are often pleasantly surprised to discover their employer — even early-stage startups — will cover all or a portion of individual coaching. (Here’s some helpful advice on making a pitch.)
Are you interested in learning more? Send me a note at the email address below, and tell me a little about yourself, your company, and what you hope to get out of coaching. I’ll respond with my availability and how to schedule a free exploratory session to make sure that there’s a fit. I’ll do my best to help you find the right coach, whether it’s me or someone else.
I especially welcome the opportunity to coach PMs from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds: Ask about scholarships.
Hi, my name is Ken Norton. I’m a product leadership coach, speaker, and writer.
Before becoming a full-time executive coach to product leaders, I spent more than fourteen years at Google, where I led product initiatives for Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Mobile Maps, and GV (formerly Google Ventures). These products today are used by more than three billion people worldwide.
I joined Google with the acquisition of JotSpot, where I was vice president of products. Before JotSpot, I led product management at Yahoo. Back in the day when I was a software engineer, I was one of the earliest employees of CNET and the founding CTO of Snap (which became NBC Internet). I am a listed inventor on more than forty issued patents.
I earned a bachelor’s from Boston University and a master’s from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). I trained as a Co-Active Coach at the Co-Active Training Institute (CTI), the “gold standard” of coaching programs.
I started writing about product management in 2005 because I couldn’t find anything on the web about what it meant to be a product manager in an empowered, customer-first tech company. My classic essay How To Hire a Product Manager has since become the playbook for a generation of product managers. Hundreds of people have contacted me over the years to say that my writing inspired them to become a PM, convinced them they were capable, or motivated them to keep pushing when times got tough. I am also the reason donuts and product management have become synonymous.