By The End I Was Grateful

Grateful for Navigating Challenging Dialogue™

We were due to start the workshop at 8:30 a.m. and I was the only one in the room. A few people poked their head in, looked around and then scurried off to get more coffee, make one more call or what have you.

I waited patiently until 8:45 a.m. when the hurried Executive Director rushed in with a “my hair’s on fire” affect and then his team followed him in.

It was the first day of what was requested – a leadership skills training. But clearly the ED had his doubts about the value of spending time in this way versus doing the “darn” work. His skepticism was palpable and he even told me when we chatted by phone that he was agreeing because the team asked for it.

By noon it was clear that my planned agenda wasn’t what was needed. Over lunch I pondered whether to stay the course or trust my instinct. Then immediately following lunch in the first discussion a missile was launched across the table and squarely triggered the ED. I knew my carefully planned framework and agenda was going out the window. 

And then it got real. And I held space for the team to notice, yes, in fact there is a rather large elephant standing smack in the middle of the room. An elephant that feeds off drama and causes chaos. An elephant that stands between each person and speaking their truth. And an elephant that gets triggered by vulnerability. I held space for discomfort and facilitated the passionate team to have the dialogue that had been avoided for way too long. 

I see a big shift happening all around me. The ability to communicate without chaos and drama is now essential. I’m grateful to be helping organizations and leaders with the tools I developed for Navigating Challenging Dialogue™. http://


Beth Wonson