Meet

Katerina Suchkova

Bio

Over the last decade, I have worked across various B2C and B2B product areas in hyper-growing startups like 15Five and enterprises such as ServiceNow. As a yoga teacher and mindfulness practitioner, I co-founded an e-commerce startup several years ago to design and build a reversible meditation cushion for yoga and mindfulness enthusiasts. Since then, I’ve been applying my entrepreneurial mindset to everything I do. I switched my focus to coaching product managers and leaders in the last three years as I saw both a gap and an opportunity. Coaching has become more than just an occupation for me as it evolved into a calling and purpose. Cultivating the human side of product management by focusing on humans who build products proves itself a solid approach to making an impact on the product and tech world. Today, as a part of my coaching practice, I work with individual product managers and leaders looking to intentionally grow in their product careers and product teams lacking a structured approach to PM career growth and development. Being passionate about education, I’ve recently co-founded the Ahead of Product – a hands-on career program designed just for Product Managers who are ready to acquire the necessary skills to transition to product leadership.

How will coaching shape the future of product over the next 5-10 years?

I firmly believe better humans make better product managers, and they make leaders who build better teams and products. Coaching, as an approach, has the potential to do just that in the next 5-10 years. In general, I envision a two-fold impact: - Bottom-up. It would involve coaching a younger generation of individual product managers and teams on the best practices: from discovery to go-to-market. In this approach, coaching would also support the development and cultivation of product ethics and empowerment around product careers. - Top-down. It would be essential to develop strong, human-centered product leaders capable of making the holistic team- and product-related decisions. Coaching would focus on building emotional intelligence, character strength, and capacity to coach and empower teams via active inquiry, leaving behind the era of micromanagement and management by advice.

What are some of the most effective frameworks you've used when coaching leaders in your area?

Presence-based coaching Strength-based coaching Leadership embodiment Beginning with the end in mind The "wise, old self" framework Design thinking

What's your best advice for product managers looking to increase their impact?

Start with defining what success and impact mean to you. If you don't have clarity on either, your impact might go unnoticed and end up unintentional, insignificant, or worse, detrimental. Equipped with the definitions, draw a Venn diagram: what are you excited about, what are you good/strong at, and what a company/industry/world needs right now. The intersection is your sweet spot. Focus on it. Finally, find or create opportunities that live in this intersection. Define the end goal, paint the vision, and list your success metrics. Identify your sphere of influence over this opportunity/goal, then partner up with others who share the vision and/or have a sphere of control over the areas you're lacking. And then do it while constantly reminding yourself why it is important to you to stay motivated during times of adversity.

Anything we should know about you as a thought leader in the area of product:

I am a frequent guest speaker at the podcasts and run occasional webinars focused on product leadership. I am also a student and a teacher of mindfulness meditation and have been practicing for many years.