Analytics Made Easy - StatCounter
Being a Talent Manager is Like Being a… – Brian Medavoy

Being a Talent Manager is Like Being a…

Brian Medavoy and Jerry Jones

A manager acts as a catalyst to a client’s, or player’s, success, seeking to positively shape and influence the career trajectory of their talent in the same way a coach would their player’s athletic performance. They’re the X’s and O’s, focusing on how to get the most out of the “team” of clients they’re managing.

Not only that, but a manager is a front-line support system, ready to provide their “player” with valuable input or counsel whether their career is skyrocketing, falling off, or losing momentum — reaching a “plateau,” for lack of a better word.

Managers want their clients to harness and develop their untapped potential, not only by providing positive motivation, but by analyzing their strengths and weaknesses and telling their “player” how and why they can improve. Just as a sports coach works with an athlete in their “chosen sport,” a manager works with talent in the field of their “sport,” whether it be acting, music, or something else! Similar to a sports coach, a manager is absolutely concerned with a client’s upcoming performance, but is more concerned with their talent’s long-term career trajectory — for instance, where an actor or actress would like to be in five years.

They try not to overvalue winning, and invest lots of time and energy into the well being of their clients, keeping them “playing” to the best of their ability.The various aspects of coaching parallel that of being a manager. Training, goal setting, “game day” execution, networking and building “team” relationships etc.

Working in entertainment is very similar to playing a sport, with a manager’s clients literally competing for employment opportunities and success — ex. auditions.

To work effectively they need to not only provide encouragement, but valuable learning opportunities, with their overall effectiveness being measured by the “record” their clients or athletes have.

Aside from being concerned with long-term career trajectory, they’re also overseeing their client or athlete’s day- to-day affairs and even advising them on personal decisions that could prove detrimental to their career.

1. What Football Managers can Teach you about Leadership


– “The main element of coaching is not setting up a perfect team, it’s evaluating – how do I lead myself? How do I lead my team? And how do I lead others?”

– “Coaches strive to introduce long term structures and values to foster a culture of success.”

– “Football management is not unlike being a senior executive where you have to balance the needs of multiple parties: investors, shareholders, committees, customers, clients, consumers and stakeholders in general.”

– “[One of the main] things those in business can learn from leaders in sport is passion,” Clarke explained. “Many top sports coaches have this, but so few business leaders display it openly in their organizations or externally.”

2. Know When to Manage and When to Coach



– “In business, we have to be both coaches and managers. To lead effectively, we need to know when to wear which hat.”

– Direct – Be sure to define excellence (what, how and when), and provide specifics so the person can achieve the desired outcome. ‘

– Delegate – let the employee determine the approach they will take and keep you informed as to their progress.

– Develop – Define excellence and get out of the way!