From my Coaching archives – Taking a stand!

November 12, 2021
Manager taking a stand

Here is an anecdote from my Coaching archives. This one is on taking a stand.

I was coaching Prasad (name changed), a very senior professional.

Among the many items that Prasad wanted to discuss with me that went into the Coaching Agenda, he was battling an important issue.

Manager taking a stand

His Manager – obviously very senior in the hierarchy – was supporting Prasad in his endeavors. However, when it came to taking a stand, the Manager would align with something in public that was exactly the opposite of what was discussed with Prasad in private. Prasad was getting impacted by the Manager’s unpredictability while taking a stand.

This had been going on for some time.

However, the latest episode had Prasad in a bind.

Prasad had taken over a new territory and was now facing a lot of resistance from the Territory Head.

Taking a stand – the clash between ‘private’ stand and ‘public’ stand

Prasad’s Manager was asking Prasad to go aggressive with the Territory Head. However, in a conference call in which everyone was present, Prasad’s Manager was actively supporting the Territory Head. Some of the Manager’s actions in the call were not consistent with what had been discussed with Prasad in ‘private’. To top it all, after the call was over, the Manager was placating Prasad privately and advising him to continue his aggressive stance with the Territory Head.

Prasad was in a dilemma.

In the ensuing discussions, we went through a lot of past scenarios. I was trying to see if there were any more dots to be connected.

Discussion and direction

In the end, our discussion concluded with a clear direction:

When there is a conflict between the ‘private’ stand and the ‘public’ stand of the Manager, work with the ‘public’ stand. For all practical purposes, this is what finally counts.

However, during ‘private’ conversations, try extracting a guarantee for his ‘public’ stand by asking him the right questions – we also went over some questions. Explore if you can influence his commitment to an agreed, and firm ‘public’ stand.

Our approach worked for Prasad.


This is just one of the examples of why people reach out to me for Career Coaching.

Are you facing any such career dilemmas? As a Career Coach, I am here to help you find directions. Reach out to me at [email protected].

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