Some people might think that a performing arts career coach does the same job as a manager, but this isn’t the case. They can both be part of the same jigsaw, but here are some of the main differences:-
Money – Most managers work on a commission basis, so the amount they get paid is based on all the work for which their client receives a payment. Whereas a coach will agree a set fee at the beginning of their working relationship, as well as the length of time this will last. The coach doesn’t get paid more when the client earns more. This is an important difference as it means that the coach can remain completely impartial and focus purely on what the client wants, rather than whether they are accepting high paid jobs that they don’t really want to do.
Career Plan – Both managers and coaches will help their clients put together a career plan, however the focus of the manager is to make sure the client is as successful as possible, as quickly as possible, with the highest paid contract as possible. The coach will focus on what the client wants to do and will help them make adjustments and compromises to align with the clients core beliefs and values. There is no financial bonus for the coach to convince their client to take work they’re not ready for or wouldn’t feel comfortable doing regardless of the money.
Admin – A manager will do all the administration work involved in managing the career of their client. Whereas the coach may do some of their own admin and send a few short emails to their client following recent discussions, but these will be solely focussed on the individual client’s needs.
Bookings – Part of the managers work is to arrange work for their clients, whether this be gigs or presenting/acting jobs or even paid appearances at special events. A coach has nothing to do with this, however can help the client decide whether they feel the job fits with their core values and beliefs or if they can make a compromise to suit their future goals. The coach won’t offer their own opinion on such matters, only help the client reach a conclusion they’re happy with.

Time – A manager, for the most part, will be working on their clients behalf every day. Whereas a coach will have set times they speak to their clients and will have no other obligations outside any pre-agreed emails. However when the coach is speaking to the client they will be 100% committed to the client’s needs and goals with no distractions. This can differ from a manager who may have other clients that will be pulling their thoughts and time away from fully focussing on one client at any given moment.
Essentially, there are significant differences between a manager and a coach even though on the surface they may seem similar. It may suit you to have both of these as part of your career plan, or you may have a coach first and then bring an end to this relationship when you get a manager. Either way, it crucial that you understand the differences in order to get the best out of each.