Right smack in the middle of the table In the Coach Room at work sits a stuffed gray elephant. His eyes have fallen off, so they’re held on with a paperclip attached to his left ear, which was the only implement of connectivity we could find.
He’s the Elephant in the Room, and I’m awfully fond of him. He’s there for a reason. He reminds us — whether we’re in a meeting of coaches (think “Coaches of the Round Table”) or sitting solo with a client — of this wisdom:
DO NOT SHY AWAY FROM HARD TOPICS AND STARK TRUTHS
Hard topics. Things like difficult situations, behavior, conflicts, sorrows, truth, regrets, sickness, death. Even joys and celebrations can be hard topics. These are things we’d like to pretend don’t exist, that are invisible.
Our elephant, even with his tenuously connected sight, gives us the shake we need to be courageous, to show up for one another, to hold each other accountable, and to help our clients move forward with purpose. Not a new person comes into the room who doesn’t pick him up and smile, and ask exactly why he commands the center spot.
I’m grateful for this elephant in the room whose sole purpose, it seems, is to remind us to be real and to be brave and willing to bring to the table what sits there, in plain sight, just waiting to be acknowledged, understood, and dealt with.
Then there’s the cow in the Zen garden. But that’s a whole other story…