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What is the Difference Between a Coach and a Manager?

Updated on September 10, 2014
C.V.Rajan profile image

C.V.Rajan is a retired Engineer. Backed by 3 decades of industrial experience, he writes on several aspects of business, management and HR.

What is the difference between a principal of a school and a teacher in the school? The same analogy is applicable to a manager and a coach. The former should know more about administration and the latter should know how to teach and guide.



The coach of the team is concerned directly with the performance enhancement of each player in the team. The coach is directly responsible for

  • training the players in the nuances and techniques of the game,

  • in improving their physical fitness,

  • in correcting their weak points in techniques,

  • in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each player and assigning their roles at the appropriate placement, position and sequence of the game

  • in planning the strategies of play in each game based on the strengths and weaknesses of the opposite team

  • in ensuring co-ordination and team work amidst all the players

  • in selecting the members of the playing team from the available talent pool in consultation with the skipper of the team based on actual field conditions, relative fitness of the players, relative strength of the opposite team and so on

  • in motivating the team by all available means (including cajoling, appreciating, criticizing, warning etc) to ensure that their performance peaks during actual playing of the game
  • in professionally advising the player selection panel to select the most competent
    players and reserve players for the team.



On the other hand, the role of a manager of a team deals mostly with administrative issues. The manager's responsibilities cover

  • arranging all the facilities required for the team members including their travelling, hotel stay, provision of playing equipment, supportive facilities and so on

  • in dealing with players' contracts, their payments and perks, their health care issues and in coordinating between the players and the administrative board / sports authority of the game.

  • In ensuring smooth relationship between team mates and in diplomatically resolving conflicting egos between the players

  • In ensuring smooth relationship between two competing teams and in diplomatically resolving any conflicts between the teams

  • In planning the game itinerary, venues etc by coordinating with the opposite teams and the game administrative boards and so on.

A successful coach, who has good administrative and communication skills may one day mature to become a team manager. But a team manager becoming a coach may not perhaps happen because a coach's position demands more physical fitness and better touch with the actual playing of the game. A manager requires more human and administrative skills where as the coach requires better technical and practical knowledge on the playing of the game, added with man management skills.


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