Feeding the Elephant in the Room: How and Why We Avoid Difficult Conversations

You see the giant footprints the moment you walk through the door. The conference room is a swirling mess of tension, heaviness, anxiety, and peanut shells. Something is very wrong with your team. Everybody knows it, but nobody is talking about it. 

 It’s obvious there’s an elephant in the room.

 No matter what type you’re dealing with, executive coach Sarah Noll Wilson knows your elephant is not there by accident. It was created, and someone has been feeding it. Is it you? One of the most important steps to having difficult conversations is understanding why we avoid them in the first place. Bringing over a decade of experience and research, author Sarah Noll Wilson will share patterns of avoidance, explore common reasons, and give tips for how we can show up differently.

By the end of the webinar, you will be able to: 

  • Define the Elephant in the Room 
  • Explain the different elephant types 
  • Identify common stress responses 
  • Describe three types of avoidance 
  • Explore a best practice when starting difficult conversations 

About the author: Sarah Noll Wilson is an Executive Coach, an in-demand Keynote Speaker, Researcher, Contributor to Harvard Business Review, and Bestselling Author of “Don’t Feed the Elephants.” Sarah helps leaders close the gap between what they intend to do and the actual impact they make. She hosts the podcast “Conversations on Conversations,” is certified in Co-Active Coaching and Conversational Intelligence, and is a frequent guest lecturer at universities. In addition to her work with organizations, Sarah is a passionate advocate for mental health.   


The views expressed by presenters are their own and their appearance in a program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by Berea College.