How do you distinguish between coaching and managing a client with the line separating both jobs getting thinner by the day? Many a time, you as a coach cannot draw the line between managing a client and coaching them. Maybe because you do not clearly understand the description of both jobs yet.

In the words of Brian Tracy, management is transactional, while coaching is transformational. In other words, management is a fleeting position that is determined by how much goes into your pockets. It includes responsibilities like budgeting, giving reports and general administration.

Coaching on the other hand is more of an emotional investment, which is bound by leadership and support to your clients. Coaching creates a safe space for clients to be productive, achieve their set out goals and experience outstanding personal and business growth. This is the biggest reward of a coach; even beyond the fee they are paid.

By understanding your distinguished role as a coach, you will be more specific in dealing with your clients- rather than deviate from your role, strangling your clients or leaving them confused in the process.

At Clients Oasis, we have had situations where coaches come to us, looking for the muddled grey area between coaching and managing clients. It is a challenge that you have faced, are facing or will face at some point in your business. before you open shop at all, or strategize how to get clients for your business, be well grounded on these two job descriptions.

Find in this post, the measures we have put up to help you gain more understanding and do your job better.

The Coach

Difference Between a Coaching and a Managerial Job

A coach is a person who takes a client under their wings. This is a factor I clarified with mentors, way before thinking of how to get clients for my business. The coach guides them in their work; foresees possible obstacles in the client’s path and brain storms with the client on how to clear them. A coach supports the now and long term goals of their clients and making their journey to attaining them much easier.

A coach is not a tyrant, but a mentor. One who would not bellow orders on you, but will explain why a particular process is crucial and beneficial to the success of your set goals. A coach will help you identify opportunities in your market, offering advice on the best cadence and rhythm of approach to your relationships, perceptions, life projects and work plan.

A coach is in charge of helping clients identify their strengths and what works for them, and then capitalize on it. The coach will also call your attention to your weak points and develop a strategy that works for you to better yourself. The coach will enable a behavioral tweak towards optimum results.

A coach will fire you up, motivate and keep you focused on the job of getting you to succeed. A coach is a listener and a confidence builder who will always remind you of how much progress you have made- and how much more you can make. The coach who knows their job will help eliminate attitudes and processes that don’t work for you and replace with new approaches which work better.

With a good coach, your goals are clearly defined with strategically distilled steps to go with. There will be a well laid out plan to guide through the growth process and regular accountability to the coach on your progress level.

As a coach, you owe your clients the duty of helping them develop solid strategies for growth and enhanced performance in areas of their life you work with them on. This leaves the client with the understanding of not just how to do a thing, but why they need to do it.

The coach’s job 

Going by the explanation above, we will spell out the job of the coach in cut clear terms below.

  1. As a coach, you will facilitate the progress of your clients towards the goals you combined efforts to set.
  2. You will give your clients a world class support as you guide them to achieve their goals.
  3. You will be transparent, sharing your vision, goals and mission with your client.
  4. You will advise and suggest to your client what to do and why to do it. You will not tell them what to do.
  5. You will work together with your client to define and facilitate the best strategies to work with. You will not plan you clients’ life without them.

The Manager

A managerial job is a title tied to a pay grade and job which denotes that a person has certain duties and responsibilities to lead a person, people or departments. Depending on the industry, the job description of a manager varies. In some industries, the title has people reporting directly to them and in others; they are in charge of a particular dynamic area.

The role of a manager carries authority, responsibility and significant accountability. They are in charge of organizing and implementing strategies to enhance a client or business productivity- in a way that the desired outcomes for the set goals are met.

They plan the operation and function of a client or business, in a way that goals which they are responsible for towards the client or business will be accomplished. Managers go ahead to evaluate and review the plans, allocation of resources, time frame and success of the goal.

They provide leadership and direction, monitoring the process to ensure that clients and businesses follow the laid down program to accomplish their goals. They maintain records of progress and lapses, demanding accountability from subordinates to that effect.

With all the explanations made above, let us now delve into the differences in both jobs, spelling them out… and knifing them down to tiny bits.

Visible Differences Between A Coach And Manager

  1. A coach holds the clients hand and offers support as the client develops his plans. The manager makes a plan and gives it to the client to follow.
  2. A coach spends time to break down a client’s issue to tiny bits, in order to get to root cause of a matter. The manager is a surface dresser- they take the fast and quirk route, albeit temporary.
  3. A coach listens and employs the method of effective questioning. The manager does most of the talking and directing.
  4. A coach is an observer who takes a calculative approach to decision making, armed with facts. A manager thrives on assumptions, impatient to get all angles to an issue and often times, arrives at conclusions prematurely.
  5. The clients win is the coach’s win and vice versa. With a manger, there is someone to blame except him, if things go wrong.


The truth is, it is quite easier to manage than it is to coach. But the job of a coach is more prestigious, because coaches breed healthier clients who are more engaged, productive- and give outstanding results.

Do you have a problem of knowing where to draw the line as a coach?  Schedule a breakthrough call with one of our business strategists.