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General Manager vs. Head Coach: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A general manager and head coach are both important positions within a company or organization. They are responsible for different aspects of the team and have different levels of authority. If you’re interested in working in management or coaching, it’s important to understand the similarities and differences between these two roles. In this article, we compare and contrast general managers and head coaches, and we provide tips for those interested in pursuing a career in management or coaching.

What is a General Manager?

General Managers are responsible for the overall operation of a company or organization. They develop and implement strategies and policies to ensure that the company meets its goals and objectives. General Managers also oversee the work of subordinate managers and staff. They hire, train and motivate employees. They also develop budgets and allocate resources. General Managers typically report to a Board of Directors or a company owner.

What is a Head Coach?

Head Coaches are responsible for leading and managing a sports team. They typically work with a team of assistant coaches to help plan and execute practices and strategies. Head Coaches also scout new talent, develop game plans and motivate players. They often give post-game interviews to the media and hold press conferences to discuss the team’s progress. Head Coaches typically have a deep knowledge of their sport and extensive experience playing or coaching at the professional level. They often have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as kinesiology or sports management.

General Manager vs. Head Coach

Here are the main differences between a general manager and a head coach.

Job Duties

General managers oversee the business operations of a company. They develop strategies that help them achieve their goals and objectives, then delegate tasks to other employees so they can accomplish those goals. Head coaches work with their team members to improve performance by providing training programs, giving feedback and setting goals. They also communicate with the general manager about the team’s progress and achievements.

Job Requirements

General managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration or another related field. Many general managers also have a master’s degree, such as an MBA. Head coaches usually need at least a bachelor’s degree, but some may have a master’s degree as well. In addition to their education, both general managers and head coaches often have several years of experience working in their respective fields before being promoted to a management position.

Work Environment

General managers and head coaches typically work in different environments. General managers often work in an office setting, where they can access important information about their company’s employees and operations. They may also travel to visit other locations or attend meetings with executives. Head coaches usually work on the field with their teams, helping them prepare for games and practices. They may also travel to watch their team play against others.


There are several similarities in the specific skills used by general managers and head coaches. Both roles require excellent communication skills, as they need to be able to give clear instructions to their team members and motivate them to achieve success. They also both need to have strong organizational skills to manage their time effectively and keep track of various tasks that need to be completed.

There are also some differences in the specific skills used by these two roles. General managers need to have strong analytical skills to evaluate player statistics, assess team performance and make decisions about trades and other personnel changes. Head coaches benefit from having a deep understanding of the game of basketball, as they need to be able to develop strategies for their team to win games. They also need to be able to work well under pressure, as they often have to make quick decisions during games.


The average salary for a general manager is $63,331 per year, while the average salary for a head coach is $62,879 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the employee has prior to taking the position.


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