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18 May, 2009

The Truth about Managing and Coaching

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coaching Articles|Life Coaching Articles|Small Business Coaching Articles

Managing and Coaching - Coaching Blog

Let me ask you a simple question – what is the difference between a manager and a coach?

I like to watch football on TV and for years, in the UK; we have always described the person in charge of the team as the ‘Manager.’

In the US and other parts of the world, the person running the team, be it football, baseball or basketball, is usually referred to as the ‘Coach’ However, I’ve noticed now, in the UK, that the football Manager is more likely to be called – The Coach.

So, what’s the difference? And how does it relate to your job as a manager?

When I ask participants on a seminar – “Tell me what a manager does, what are their duties?” They usually come up with responses such as – planning – cost control – resource allocation – analysing data – interviewing – solving problems – dealing with customers and other ‘technical’ duties.

When I then ask – “What are the duties of a coach?” I hear replies such as – leading –motivating – listening – encouraging – identifying training needs – communicating expectations – believing in their people – inspiring – winning and getting results.

There are cross-over duties between a manager and a coach; but let me ask you a question – which role is going to be the most important in achieving your objectives, goals and outcomes, is it a manager or a coach?

Now I know what you’re going to say – “My organisation and my boss want me to do all the ‘management’ things and that’s how I spend most of my day.” But always remember, at the end of the day, you will ultimately be judged on the success of your staff, rather than your ability to complete a report on time.

If you want a happy and motivated team who – don’t take time off work – don’t keep looking for other jobs – don’t give you too many problems and who generate results for your business. You need to spend more time ‘Coaching’ and less time ‘Managing’

Here are 3 steps to becoming a successful coach

1. Spend quality time with each team member – You need to get to know each member of your team better and they need to get to know you. If you listen and show that you’re listening, you’ll gain a much better understanding of each individual and how they’re handling the job. It will also send the message that you care about them and show that you’re there to help with problems, both business and personal. You can communicate expectations, encourage and inspire them to do even better.

2. Give feedback and coach them – You need to regularly tell each of your team members when they’re doing well and when not so well. When you see or hear one of your staff doing something you DO like – tell them about it! When you see or hear them doing something you DON’T like – tell them about it. You can then coach them on the job or identify training needs and agree a way forward. Most employees want to know how they are performing in their job; they want to know if they are doing it right or how they could do it better.

3. Believe in each individual – You need to constantly demonstrate to each team member that you trust and believe in them, by what you say, your tone of voice and your body language.

They will very quickly sense if you don’t trust them to carry out their job and they’ll act accordingly.

If you believe that your people are not to be trusted to do their job; that they’ll turn up late and go home early, then that is exactly what they’ll do.

On the other hand, if you believe that your people will do their job well, that they can be trusted to make decisions that are good for the business and that they’ll give you a fair day’s work, then it is more likely this is what you’ll get.

So there you have it; successful managers know that to get the best out of their people they need to spend less tine ‘Managing ‘ and more time ‘Coaching’.

By Alan Fairweather
Alan Fairweather, ‘The Motivation Doctor,’ International Business Speaker, Author and Sales Growth Expert. For the past fifteen years, he’s been turning ‘adequate’ managers, sales and customer service people into consistent top performers.

He is the author of – ‘How to be a Motivational Manager’ A down-to-earth guide for managers and team leaders. To receive your free newsletter and free ebooks, visit:

6 Responses to "The Truth about Managing and Coaching"

1 | Selfcoachingcards

May 20th, 2009 at 10:41 am


I agree. I think that actually more managers than “organizations” know that/agree with that.

I notice that lots of managers want to become better managers to their teams but their organizations or top management don’t take it as seriously as them and don’t support them sufficiently in that.

If a manager doesn’t get coached or trained when they first get promoted, it will make both them and their team suffer.

Most managers are also simply too busy. OK, some (new) managers might not be the best time managers or delegators yet, but apart from that, their “job description” also should include “people management” and allow sufficient time for that, so “quality time” can actually be spent on their staff.

I agree with all of the above and I hope more top managers in organizations would realize the importance of investing in training of their line managers. They are the key to employee engagement after all.


2 | Diana Baker

May 20th, 2009 at 12:34 pm


I have to say that this really rang true for me!!

I really place a big importance on employee relationships and believe that they are more dedicated to you and their job if that relationship is positive.

Funnily enough when I first started as a manager, this lesson was taught to me in a very straightforward way by one of my employees. Who all she wanted to do was be taken out for a cuppa and a chat about life, once a week. And boy did she tell me off if I forgot!! after 3 weeks of doing this very simply thing I sore a 60% increase in her work….truly!! she went on to be one of my best employees ever!

So what can say… IT WORKS…put your pen down, your management accounts down and go and make your staff a cuppa and talk to them ( not at them to them) and see what happens!.

3 | jackie Dixon

May 20th, 2009 at 12:51 pm


Your article makes absolute sense to me, i am great believer in you get what you expect from people. When i’ve worked for managers who trust and believe in me i know my motivation and performance is much better.
I have applied for a job in a college i am presently working in as a Curriculum Manager in Childhood Studies how do i stand out from the other applicants as i think we are all going to say similar things; any suggestions greatly received.

4 | Stress Training Mark

May 20th, 2009 at 9:26 pm


Good to see coaching move from a specialist profession to a more general way of working that anyone can benefit from.

All the best from Brighton,

5 | Alberto

May 21st, 2009 at 10:52 pm



Thanks for your article, I found it thought provoking; you got me thinking that there is very little difference between a coach and a leader; your description of the coach’s role reminded me of what I would expect from a leader.

I like your idea of a manager who gives their team trust and confidence in their potential and then gets out of their way so they can do the job they’ve been hired to do.

I also like your mention of self awareness, it is so important to send a congruent message if one is to be trusted.

I would have added to the article that the effective manager as coach will also help their people identify where they are in their professional and personal development and help them become more competent in all areas by putting the necessary resources in place.

Thanks again for the article and best wishes.


6 | Gonandi Akhtaar

May 28th, 2009 at 11:58 am


That’s rite Alan,

most people don’t understand about this difference. Need some chemistry between coaches and it’s people, it always worked.

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