As the second and last part from the DFB International Cocaching Conference 2012 we would like to present the stage discussion about coaches vs. managers, their rights and responsibilities.
We believe we need to distinguish between the two jobs first as they have different meanings/roles and responsibilities in different countries. In Germany (and as an example you can see Hitzfeld - the coach on the right and Hoeness - the manager on the left), the coach is the one that trains the team, selects the starting 11 and is mainly responsible for the performance on the pitch. The coach reports to the manager, who then reports to the board of the club. The manager more or less is responsible for the financial side of the team, organizes all matters that are needed for the team and helps the coaches to realize transfers and building up the team itself.
Obviously the two have to work together and the stage discussion was about that relationship, especially during a non-successful time.
Michael Leopold, anchorman/moderator from Sky (Sky is the pay-TV channel that broadcast the Bundesliga in Germany) guided the discussion between two professional (1st league) coaches from the
Bundesliga and two managers from different 1st league clubs from Germany.
The first part of the session, the general relationship between the coach and manager was discussed. AS they have to work together and the manager (as the one responsible with regards to the board of the club) usually is in a stronger position in general. This was not a problem for most of the coaches during their career, especially when the team is successful. Basically, if the team wins, there is no problem and everyone is happy.
However, the working relationship gets tested when the team is not performing as wished. In addition more pressure can be put on the coach by the manager and furthermore by the media.
During this part, all coaches and managers talked about their experience in successful and non-successful relationships and clubs. To summarize the statements, it was seen that successful relationships, that carry on for multiple years and are able to sustain despite non-success periods are based on three things:
Firstly, the responsibilities within the club and more importantly, the responsibilities with regards to the media need to be clarified. It was seen that the coach (and only the coach) should comment about the performance of the team publically. In return, the coach should not comment on financial and/or political topics in front of the media.
Secondly, both (the coach and the manager) need to adhere to the rules that they set with/to each other. Especially during a losing streak, the team (including the coach and the manager as part of that team) needs to present itself and act as a unit and “it just does not help if someone talks to the media about something that does not work”.
Obviously, both, the manager and the coach need to do their jobs, and in general issues should be handled internally. However if coaches and/or managers “need” to make statements in front of the media, then the statements should be topic related and not personal without judging. As a result, both (the coach and the manager) are treated with respect and trust and both have a chance to keep on working together. My turn to these statements is: You can talk honestly and meaningful internally, but with one opinion externally.
The last part, and the shortest part was, if one person holds two position which is already current in the Bundesliga. However, all speakers had the same opinion that this situation is not effective and more or less non-sense. The reason was, one of the two will always have to leave, depending on the issue in the club the coach (as the short term solution) or the manager (as the long(er) term solution) need to go. However, both can hardly leave the club at the same time and therefore puts too much pressure on the club itself.