Product Culture Marty Cagan

Coaching the Coaches

This is a special note.  It is intended for those people that have dedicated themselves to coaching, training and developing other product people, or may be considering making a career out of this type of work.

Some of us have been fortunate to have met a truly gifted coach.  Someone that genuinely cares about you and your career, but that also has a deep understanding of the nature of product.  Someone that understands that it’s not about following some process, but rather about doing the daily work of discovery and delivery.  Someone truly dedicated to help you reach your potential.

We are looking for those people.  But not to hire.  Just to help them help others.  If you know such a person, we’re hoping you will forward this note along to them.

At the moment, we’re looking for people that are based in the UK and EU, and we have an unusual proposition for them, which you can see described below:

An Open Invitation to the Global Product Coaching and Training Community

I’ve written many times about the difference between how the best companies work and how most companies work, and while I acknowledge that the majority of companies are not working like the best companies, my SVPG partners and I focus our efforts on doing what we can to help more companies learn to operate like the best.

But there’s little doubt in my mind that we are losing that battle, especially globally.  The global rise of SAFe is proof enough.

Another harsh fact is that we realize we have no chance of doing this alone.  

SVPG is just a few partners, and while we know this is a good problem to have, we have very limited supply compared to the demand, which means that for the majority of companies that reach out to us, we can’t help in any reasonable amount of time.

We do have a small set of people around the world that we frequently recommend.  These are people we know and trust, and we know are strong.  But we have long ago overwhelmed these people.

However, we also believe there are many others out there that we don’t yet know, but we’d like to.  People that are already strong product coaches, and people that have the ingredients to be strong coaches, but maybe haven’t had the good fortune yet to learn how the best companies work.

So in order to try to reach and help more people and more companies, we want to try something very different, and that’s what I want to announce in this note.

On May 24-26, in London, SVPG will be hosting an intensive, immersive, 3-day session, open to product and discovery coaches and trainers from across the UK and EU. 

If this goes well, we plan to do the same in other major regions of the world.

Most important, there will be absolutely no charge for this session, and there are absolutely no strings attached

The people we select will just need to get themselves to London, and find themselves a place to stay.  

Attendees won’t be asked to commit to anything.  They won’t be asked to pay for any form of certification, or any form of license fees, or royalties, or kickbacks of any sort. 

They don’t even need to commit to passing along what they learn.  

We know the onus is on us to convince the attendees that the techniques and methods are valuable.

As we’ve long argued, we don’t believe there is any single process or method behind strong companies.  We instead focus on the principles, the techniques and the mindset.

Session FAQ

Who can attend?

We have an application process that is open to anyone based in the UK/EU region, and we are also encouraging those coaches and product leaders we do know and trust, to refer people they think have the necessary potential.

We are looking for people with experience in product management, product design, engineering, and/or product leadership, that want to make a career out of helping others to reach their potential, and create world-class tech-powered products.

Please note that this is not a session for actual practitioners (e.g. the current head of product at a company) or for in-house company coaches.  This is for those people that help coach and teach many practitioners at many companies.

We will limit the attendees to 50 because we want to get to know each and every one of the people that attend personally.  This is also why we believe this is an important session to do in-person rather than virtually.

How do I apply?

Just click here to access the application.

What is the deadline to apply?

Get your applications submitted by Feb 28.

When will I know if I’ve been selected?

We will have selected and notified the attendees by March 31.

Where do I show up for the session?

We will provide logistics info to those that are selected to attend.  The session itself will be in Central London, and will start at 9 am all three days, and finish by 6 pm, but the discussions will likely move from the venue to a local pub.

What if I am a coach and trainer, but just for the people inside my own company?

Unfortunately this session is for those that are independent coaches, or those working at small consultancies. We might do a version of this in the future for in-house/corporate trainers, but that would be a for-fee session. 

Why are we doing this?

We hope to help enable attendees to provide coaching and training of the caliber necessary to create truly strong teams and companies, even for people that have not been fortunate enough to experience working at a strong product company.

Our goal is to have many more coaches and trainers advocating the practices of the best companies, and we want to expand the set of people we consider qualified for us to refer companies to.  

What if I’m based in another part of the world, but I am willing to travel to London for this?

We appreciate your willingness to travel to attend, but this session is trying to develop coaches based in the UK and EU.  If you do apply, we will save your application for if and when we hold a session in your part of the world.

What if I’m currently the head of product at a product company, but I’m intending to leave soon to become an independent product coach?

You must have already notified your current company of your plans to leave and change careers.  If this is the case, please feel free to apply, and be sure to share your plans and reasons for your career change.

Will we be able to use SVPG materials after this session?

No, that’s not the purpose or intention of this session.  Obviously we hope you’ll become an advocate for many of the ideas and principles that we also advocate, but only if you believe that is the right thing for your client.

Will we receive some sort of certification from SVPG?

No, there is no certification, and we don’t believe in certifications in the product space.

Will SVPG provide my firm any type of support or services after this session?

While we are always happy to try to answer whatever product-related questions you or anyone in the product community has, beyond that, no, we are not set up to provide support to other people or firms.

How loosely are you defining the European region?  Does this include countries like Israel and UAE?

Yes, this session is for the broadly defined European region.

Will you be hosting future sessions like this in other major European cities?

No, our intention is to do this once in each major region of the world, and for Europe, we selected London as the venue.

What if I have a question not covered here?

Just send your question to info@svpg.com.