Overcoming Avoidance to Navigate Emotionally Charged Conversations - Alumni Professional Development Owl Workshop

New Professional Development workshops through Owl for Nevada Alumni! Members have access for no cost, and Non-Members have a discount to access for $100 off. Reach out to johannab@unr.edu if you need an access code (otherwise you should have it in your email).

The strongest teams are those that have an elevated level of psychological safety and are highly adaptive. They can ask questions, take risks, be able to fail, and disagree. There is a commitment to constant experimentation and evolution. Great teams do not happen by chance - they are built by choice. 

But what if people aren’t able or don’t know how to engage in honest conversations that are candid, compassionate, and curious? Then the room fills with avoidance, and elephants start to take up space. Now our teams are not only avoiding conflict but connection as well. To overcome our avoidance of the problem, we need to be able to have conversations, even when they are uncomfortable. Building on the practices outlined in her book “Don’t Feed the Elephants,” Sarah Noll Wilson will introduce the Curiosity First Approach to help us increase ownership, have kind and candid conversations, and build more powerful partnerships. 

In this highly interactive and reflective workshop, you will learn:

  • Identify common avoidant behaviors and human factors that drive them 
  • Examine when avoidance may be appropriate and necessary 
  • Discover different “elephants” that can emerge  
  • Uncover best practices for regulating emotions in yourself and others 
  • Explore and apply the Curiosity First Model of Coaching 

Sarah Noll Wilson is an 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.   

Dial-In Information


Tuesday, September 27 at 9:00 am

Virtual Event

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This event requires registration.