Product Discovery Coaching | When & Why

How to find and hire a great Product Discovery Coach

Navigating the complex terrain of product discovery can be challenging without the proper guidance and expertise. Doing product discovery the wrong way is sometimes even worse than doing nothing at all. It gives false confidence and leads to even more wasteful features or missed opportunities. 

That's where a Product Discovery Coach comes into play. The coach’s sole responsibility is to give you everything you need to know to build what your users need and want.

Product discovery together with an experienced coach will lead to:

  • New Opportunities
  • Better Solutions
  • Reduced Uncertainty 
  • Reduced Waste  
  • More Confidence in Decisions 

Let’s discover how a Product Discovery Coach can help you or your organization and if and when you should consider one.

Benefits of Product Discovery Coaching?

Imagine being a time traveler and going back in time. Wouldn’t it be easy to build the products that exist today as you already know exactly what users want from all the great products that now already exist? Well, product discovery tries to give you just that by researching and testing. 

We all can do user research and test assumptions, right? While we all can conduct research without additional expertise the results may vary greatly. I saw teams that already made huge mistakes in the first step when they were setting goals and deriving research questions. Everything they did after that was doomed to be biased and focused on the wrong target. And here is why an expert provides tremendous value: 

“Product Discovery is hard, but what is even harder is to identify past discovery mistakes before it is too late. Without the right skills, you will either never know or find out when you developed the new feature or product.” 

Good product discovery processes on the other hand can provide an abundance of benefits:

Customer-Centricity: Product discovery puts customers at the center of the development process. By deeply understanding their needs and pain points, your team can create products and features that are highly valued by your target audience. Constant product discovery is one of the main steps to becoming a customer-centric product team.

Risk Mitigation: Investing time and resources in product discovery early in the development process reduces the risk of wasting time and money pursuing the wrong objectives. While Product Discovery takes its time, it is by far quicker than to waste scarce development resources on Features that do more harm than good.

Resource Optimization: By prioritizing features and enhancements based on real data and customer feedback, you can allocate resources efficiently, ensuring that you're working on the most impactful improvements.

Clarity and Focus: When you and your team deeply understand what your users need and how you can help them, prioritization becomes effortless. Your team will be guided by data hence, overall confidence in decisions will increase.

When Do You Need a Product Discovery Coach? 

Evaluating if you need to improve your product discovery process is a challenging endeavor. Your product can be somewhat successful without good discovery practices. This is usually due to a combination of luck, experience, and resources. 

Experience in the industry will give you a better sense of what might work but you will still miss more often than with structured research processes in place

Recourses in Marketing and Development can cover poor processes, at least partially.

Finally, Luck should never be something you want to rely on.

The following symptoms indicate that you should take a closer look at your discovery framework:

  • Product decisions aren’t based on evidence
  • You rarely or never talk to your customers
  • You can describe the most important customer needs without reading up on it
  • You develop features by request of higher management
  • Poor user adoption that cannot be explained
  • High churn rates without an obvious reason
  • You cannot name 5 ways you consistently generate insights

Internal vs. External Product Discovery Coach

When considering product discovery coaching, you have two main options: internal and external coaches. Both options offer unique benefits, and the choice often depends on your organization's specific needs and resources. 

If you currently have no product discovery expertise in your team you could invest in becoming your team's coach by attending a course or workshop. This is cheaper but you will not have the same experience as a seasoned coach. Therefore, upskilling internal staff is best if you are on a budget. 

Benefits of an internal Product Discovery Coach:

  • An internal coach is a team member who knows your product and team.
  • They have a deep understanding of your company's culture.
  • They can provide continuous guidance and support to your team.
  • They are cost-effective and readily available for day-to-day interactions.

Benefits of an external Product Discovery Coach:

  • An external coach brings a fresh perspective and an external view of the product, which can be valuable to identify internal biases.
  • They are more experienced in helping various companies achieve product success.
  • They can provide specialized training and focused expertise tailored to your organization's needs.

The choice between an internal and external coach depends on your organization's current capabilities and your goals for product discovery. Many organizations opt for a combination of both, leveraging internal knowledge while also benefiting from external expertise.

How To Find a Good Product Discovery Coach?

Investing in product discovery can be the key to innovation, risk mitigation, and growth. Hence, partnering with the right Product Discovery Coach is an incredibly significant decision.

If you feel that your team isn’t adequately experienced in product discovery, hiring an external coach who focuses on this exact topic is immensely valuable. 

As this role can shape the whole development process, it’s crucial to know your coaches’ way of working. A great way to check if a discovery coach is a good fit is an intro call. Serious coaches usually do not charge for a first evaluation call. 

If you are looking for independent coaches, check their online presence. Usually, they have some form of content demonstrating that they are an expert.    

To find the perfect coach for your situation you should think about your own goals and expectations. Ask yourself questions like: 

  • Do I need a coach to be there in person or is a remote coach an option?
  • Do I need training to do discovery myself or do I need a person doing it with me?
  • Do I want to conduct a single discovery project or should it be a continuous dual-track development process?  

My Product Discovery Coaching Plan

As you probably already guessed: I am a Product Discovery Coach. If you are considering working with a coach here are my main objectives when helping you:

  1. Every discovery process should be different but it shouldn’t be dictated by the wrong factors. 
  2. I coach to empower teams not to make them dependent on my help
  3. Good product discovery starts with an evaluation of goals and assumptions
  4. I always establish a customer-centric development approach for long-term success

If you want to know more about me as a coach, contact me for an honest chat about your current issues.  


What is Product Discovery?

Product Discovery by Teresa Torres

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