Coaching PMM Confidence

Three product marketers I know got the same feedback last week:
that they need to ‘be more confident.’

In each case, the manager’s intent is good.
And each of the PMMs agrees.

But the feedback is unhelpful without a plan to get there.

Introducing Humans

Hi, meet humans. Telling them how to feel doesn’t work. 

Hey, I need you to feel happier.

Q: What feelings do you have if someone says that to you?
A: Several feelings. None of which is “happier.”

Instead, do good coaching.

The key to good coaching: 
provide the person with a specific task to work toward the goal.

Tasks → Habits → Behaviors → Confidence

If you provide me a challenging task to achieve, and praise my success.
And then another.
And then another.
Eventually, I start to do that sort of thing on my own. 

It becomes a habit. One I can rely on.

If I build one habit that builds my confidence.
And then another.
And then another.

That becomes a pattern of behaviors.
Each of which makes me feel more confident.

And with all those everyday confidence-building behaviors put together,
I become increasingly (and sustainably) more confident.

I feel it.
Everybody feels it.

That’s it. That’s what works.

It takes time, so get started right away.

Where to start with PMMs

Start with a task. Something challenging.

Where I start with a PMM is for her to write down her point of view: 
on her product, the marketing, her understanding of it, and her customer savvy.

Where is my product strong, and where is it weak?

  • What should we do about that?
  • Write down specific examples.

Where is the storytelling about my product strong and where is it weak?

  • How should we change that?
  • Who should we be talking to more, and about what?

Where should I get savvier about my product and its application in the real world?

  • How can I get savvier?
  • Where should I start?

Where are my gaps in understanding our customers?

  • How should we fill in those gaps?
  • How would we put this new understanding to work?

The Point-of-View Deliverable

Have the PMM write this down in a document and share it with you.

Meet and talk through it, sharpening it, debating it.

Then have her share it with her product manager,
invite feedback, make it better.

Ditto with fellow PMMs, get their feedback, make it better.
Ditto with CSMs, and with sales people.

The act of documenting and refining her point of view 
Points out to her that she has a point of view.

Not the unassailable truth, but an informed, thought-through opinion.

Start there, and let me know how it goes.

From the front porch in Moss Beach,

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