Surface coating with electrochemically inert materials are found to be fruitful to improve the cycleability and rate capability characteristics of lithium and manganese rich composite cathode materials. In order to understand the structure-property relation between the nature of coating and the electrochemical performance, surface modification of composite cathodes was carried out either by a thin layer of carbon or zirconia particles. Zirconia coating helps to sustain 86% capacity retention after 50 cycles as compared to bare composite which exhibits 68% capacity retention when cycled at 10 mAg-1. Among 1 wt%, 2.5 wt% and 5 wt% zirconia coated cathode materials, 2.5 wt% zirconia coating exhibits best rate capability. We have demonstrated that the porous particulate ZrO2 coating improved the capacity retention of the composite cathodes by suppressing the impedance growth at the electrodes-electrolyte interface.