Capacity and Capabilities – What Is the Difference?

When I am working with clients, one thing we often focus on is capacity and building capabilities. So today on the journal, I wanted to share more about capacity and capability and the difference between the two. Let’s get started.


What is Capacity?

Whilst looking up definitions of capacity, this is what I discovered –

After reading the above, what comes to mind when you think of capacity?


Examples of Capacity –

Essential capacity is how much an individual or team can do.

In order to improve capacity, there are things we need to be aware of that can impact capacity. Some examples of these aspects include time, resources (i.e. money), health, energy and emotional capacity. Within a day, most these aspects are finite resources (e.g. time – we only have 24 hours in a day), so they need to be managed effectively.


What Is Capability / Capabilities?

There are many definitions for capability and capabilities, including –

Capability –

  • “the power or ability to do something” ~ Google,
  • “the quality of being capable; ability” – the Free Dictionary and
  • “a skill, an ability, or knowledge that makes a person able to do a particular job” ~ Merriam-Webster

Capabilities –

  • “a talent or ability that has potential for development or use” ~ the Free Dictionary and 
  • “the quality of being capable; capacity; ability” ~

After reading the above, how do you see capability or capabilities?


Examples of Capabilities –

As you can see above, capabilities are mainly skills, aptitude or knowledge to do a particular task. Majority of capabilities can be learned and developed over time and these skills and capabilities relate to training and qualifications.

A few specific examples of capabilities that can be developed include –

  • Cognitive Abilities: Thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, memory, creativity,
  • Physical Abilities: Strength, agility, coordination, flexibility, dexterity,
  • Social Skills: Communication, empathy, teamwork, conflict resolution.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy.

When it comes to capabilities, a question that can be asked is – what am I capable of doing? And for people in high performance, when it comes to capabilities it is important to train these within skills and capabilities in environments where they will be performing.


Capacity and Capabilities – What Is the Difference?

After reading the above on capacity and capabilities, what do you see as the main difference between capacity and capabilities? How I see it is – capacity is how much I can do and then the capabilities are what I can do.

When we are thinking of developing our whole selves, both capacity and capabilities are important and it depends on the intention, goal or outcome we are wanting to create.

Another way of looking at that is like the image below 🙂


Over to You…

After reading the above on capability and capacity, what are you going to do?

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?

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