This post’s coaching question could come from someone who is already in a management or leadership position; someone who has recently been promoted within their company; or even someone who has been successful in gaining a position in a new company and it is a change from their previous role.
The question is: What’s the difference between leadership and management? Terry Neal answers…
You may already be coaching a client who presents you with this question to either help them set some personal goals which incorporate some appropriate leadership and/or management qualities in this new or existing role, and/or how they could include the activity of coaching in a team management or leadership situation.
Therefore they may also be keen to be both coached and to learn how they can apply coaching skills in their work environment in their specific management or leadership role.
You could begin your exploration of this question by asking your client about their role as it has been presented to them. Whether it is a new position and they have yet to start or how it is in practice, and for how long that have experienced it for.
You could then follow their description up with an activity you have already prepared, that lists some attributes and qualities of a manager and a leader and ask your client to indicate under which heading they would place each attribute.
These attributes could include: 

  • systems focused person
  • people focused person
  • maintenance of current practices
  • development of new practices
  • control of practices
  • trust & letting go
  • short term perspective
  • long term perspective
  • imitators
  • originators
  • communicators
  • inspirational
  • delegates
  • embodies confidence
  • self motivation
  • shows originality
  • trail blazer
  • etc.

Of course not each quality listed above is going to neatly fall under one or the other heading but the idea here is to assist your client to start thinking about their personal concept of management and leadership and then to add the qualities that they may have already used in previous roles that were headed as management or leadership (executive) roles and /or qualities that they feel they would like to include under either of these two headings.
The idea here is to not give your client your definition or description of management and leadership but to assist your client onto the path of self discovery around how others see the definition of these two roles.
You could assist your client in their deeper understanding of these two terms by asking them about others who are in either of these two roles that they have read about or whom they know personally and admire and to note the qualities that these people have used or are using in their management or leadership roles.
If this question is part of a larger coaching contract that you have with this client, then you could set this as an activity for them to do between sessions.
This information could help them form personal values that they could hold in being an effective manager or leader and could also be used by your client when planning the wording that states their vision of best management and/or leadership.