Ken Norton Ken Norton

Product Leadership Coaching with Ken Norton

Executive Coach

Before becoming a full-time executive coach to product leaders, I spent more than fourteen years in product leadership at Google, building products that are now used by more than three billion people worldwide.

My clients are primarily Founders, CEOs, Chief Product Officers/CPOs, VPs of Product, and other C-suite leaders at venture-funded startups and leaders at the director-level and above at larger tech companies. But I also work with COOs, CTOs/VPs of Engineering, VPs of Design, and anyone else in a product leadership role.

I have worked with leaders from many industries and companies of all shapes and sizes, from Series A startups to trillion dollar market cap public companies in consumer software, e-commerce, enterprise, hardware, life sciences/healthcare, frontier tech, and FAANG.

I’m passionate about the craft of product management and dedicated to helping other product leaders achieve success through the power of coaching.

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. 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.

“Ken’s coaching is transforming me as both a human and as a professional and I am forever grateful.”

Senior Director of Product, Big Tech Company

Typical Engagements

Below are just a few areas my clients and I focus on:

  • Connecting with your values
  • Developing as a leader
  • Finding your purpose
  • Dealing with chaos, confusion, and inertia
  • Evolving from a reactive to a creative leader
  • Building a healthy and robust culture
  • Designing your vision for a fulfilling career
  • Creating a personalized vision for a compelling future
  • Team and organizational structure and dynamics
  • Identifying self-defeating influences and underlying motivations
  • Hiring, coaching, and mentoring others
  • Working with other groups and challenging personalities
  • Building outstanding relationships
  • Improving strategy and process
  • Setting goals and objectives
  • Coping with setbacks and building resilience
  • Connecting with your authentic leadership style
  • Working through emotionally charged issues
  • Long-term planning and vision
  • Learning to have difficult conversations
  • Working effectively with CEOs, other execs, and board members
  • Developing self-awareness and processing feedback
  • Gaining confidence and overcoming impostor phenomenon
  • Work/life integration
  • Choice and perspective
  • Getting unstuck
Winner, Top Product Leadership Coach of 2022
Awarded by Scale in partnership with Reforge, On Deck, and Products By Women

Client Testimonials

I’ve coached hundreds of leaders from across the technology industry, including executives from these top companies:

Logos of coaching clients

After working with Ken, I’m better at seeing around corners and getting in touch with the root of any issue. I’m able to articulate who I am as a leader, who I want to be, and what it means to show up and lead authentically.

Ken’s coaching is transforming me as both a human and as a professional and I am forever grateful.

Ken has been really great at keeping me from getting into the weeds of the details and challenging me to imagine what my CPO role is at a bigger scale.

My CEO told me recently: ’I don’t know exactly what your secret is these last 12 months, but I know you have a great coach and it’s showing.’

I have learned more from Ken’s coaching over the last six months than from any manager in my career.

Ken helped me better articulate my core values, lean into my authentic leadership side, and uncover ways to create leverage. If you’ve ever wondered if coaching might be for you, I’d highly encourage you to work with Ken.

There’s no one better to have by your side as you navigate the challenges of being a product leader at a growing organization.

One of the defining moments in my life has been working with Ken as my executive coach. I can’t stress how valuable it has been.

Read more testimonials »

What I Offer

My coaching rate is on a monthly retainer basis and typically paid for by your company. All individual coaching engagements require a minimum six-month commitment and most of my clients come to me looking for long-term (12+ month) engagements. 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.

Individual 1:1 Coaching

  • Minimum of two one-hour 1:1 sessions every month
  • Includes one-hour discovery session
  • All coaching sessions are fully remote, using your choice of Zoom video or voice-only
  • Unlimited email correspondence between sessions and occasional ad hoc ”laser-coaching” sessions as necessary
  • Lifetime subscription to my private email newsletter for clients and alumni

360° Leadership Assessment

  • Most coaching engagements begin with a 360 assessment early in our relationship. Unlike a typical leadership assessment, a 360 leadership assessment takes into account feedback from your peers to evaluate your leadership skills, influence, overall effectiveness, and other key competencies relating to leadership.
  • I am certified to work with the industry-leading Leadership Circle Profile™ (LCP) 360-degree leadership assessment—supported by research and validated through statistical analysis
  • LCP is the only instrument that measures the two primary leadership domains—Creative Competencies and Reactive Tendencies. Used by organizations from Google to NASA, it measures behavior, underlying beliefs, and assumptions—the habits of thought that run much of our behavior
  • Includes two-hour debrief session (in addition to our regular coaching sessions) where we’ll discuss how to incorporate growth opportunities into our coaching work

Available to my clients at any time during our work together

I especially welcome the opportunity to coach leaders from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds: Ask about scholarships if your company cannot or will not cover the entirety of my fee.

Contact Me

About Ken Norton

Hi, my name is Ken Norton. I’m an executive coach, speaker, and writer.

Before becoming a full-time executive coach to technology 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 launched my career about a month after the Mosaic browser was released to the public. I knew immediately that I wanted to dedicate my career to building digital products that help people collaborate and connect. I joined Google with the acquisition of JotSpot, where I was vice president of products. JotSpot’s innovative collaborative wiki software would evolve into Google Sites. Before that, I led product management at Yahoo. Even farther back, in the Web 1.0 days, I was a software engineer and one of the earliest employees of CNET, and the founding CTO of search engine Snap (which became NBC Internet).

I received my coaching training and certification from the Co-Active Training Institute (CTI), the “gold standard” of coaching programs. I am credentialed by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

I earned a bachelor’s from Boston University and a master’s from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). I am a listed inventor of more than forty issued patents.

I started blogging 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, user-centric 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.

All these years later, I remain committed to helping human beings collaborate and connect.

Coaching Credentials

  • PCC, Professional Certified Coach, International Coaching Federation (ICF)
  • CPCC, Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, Co-Active Training Institute (CTI)
  • Leadership Circle Certified Practitioner, Leadership Circle
Professional Certified Coach (PCC) Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) Leadership Circle Profile Certification
Ken Norton