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A Manager is Not Exactly a Soccer Coach

Although it is always tempting to use the sports coach as an example for the role of a manager, but one should realize immediately that the manager is not a coach.

The main differences reside in three topics: career, team and culture.

The career of a sport-professional is hardly to compare with that of a business professional. We often compare these, and metaphors of the mountain-climbing expedition can help to show some similarities, but both careers are two different things.

A professional career is focused on offering a productive solution in a business. Some careers have a stand-alone or autonomic characteristic, but most are performed within a team and an organizational setting. The diversity of a professional career -- whatever the area of expertise -- requires a complete different management approach. This becomes visible in the personal performance indicator. The sportsman main performance indicator is attributable to the score of the team and his stake in this (giving the right pass, scoring, defense, etc...) The personal performance indicator of a professional is first of all determined by the business environment the expert is working in.

The role of the coach versus manager in either team is different too. The coach has a professional (career) background in the sports, but he is not actually playing in the game. The manager on the other hand is. In fact his position can better be compared with that of "the setter" in a volleyball game who is somehow orchestrating the game. The manager is a setter too in delegating tasks to the different team members.

The team characteristics of a one in sport and on the other side one in business is also hardly the same. One team sport or the other requires similar professionals. In business however a sale steam, production team or one focused on training and education in human resources, a remotely similar. In this sense, in some cases it is possible that a manager look similar to that of a coach (for example in a sales environment where scoring a close is similar to scoring a goal), but in others it is not; in an educational environment where a trainer is presenting a course. Managing a group of trainers is not the same as managing a sport steam of players.

Than the organizational culture. This is the last part where sports and business each have their unique features. The culture of soccer is an international culture, where players are transferred over teams. Basketball is different than soccer, but both have a similar culture. Than the LA Lakers may have a unique style to another club.

In business however there are also cultural differences, but they are more complex as in one organization, there are teams that play soccer, basket and handball as if it was the same business game. This is much more complex than the culture of a sports club.

That's way sports can give an example of the features of management, but business management is much more complicated. That's why the next chapter will start with a new biography, of which you can think of that of your own business curriculum. When reading it, think about your own career, the teams you have participated in and the cultures you have experienced on your path...

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