4 Steps to Connect With Your #Teen

Ever wondered how social media is affecting teens, a.k.a our emerging leaders? We recently published an article in Huffington Post: 4 Steps to Connect With Your #Teen.  Read it below or find the original post directly on Huffington Post – 4 Steps To Connect With Your #Teen

4 Steps to Connect With Your #Teen

Have you ever wondered how social media is influencing, and affecting, the lives of teens? If you are a parent, we are guessing YES! Major kudos to Anderson Cooper and his 360 team who explored just that in their CNN Special #Being13: Inside The Secret World Of Teens. Did you know that teens today are the first generation to have been exposed to social media for their entire lives? An area, as Anderson Cooper points out, that has had very little research.

What struck us most in this special was the enormity and power of social media, the influence it holds over teens in how they live their lives and establish self worth. From the secret language they don’t want their parents and teachers to understand to the barometer of likeability they hold themselves and others to, to the frequency they check their accounts (100 times a day!). Then there is the language, the judgment and the shame — “I don’t like dealing with things face to face because it is really easy to hide behind your phone and on face to face, like you have to deal with the other person” and the addiction — “I would rather not eat for a week then have my phone taken away. It’s really bad.”

We couldn’t help but think these teens, and all those who are following after them, are part of the largest social experiment that has happened in our lifetime, if not forever. What kind of long-term affect will this medium have on our societies, families and emerging leaders?

We are only just beginning to understand the role social media is playing in the lives of our young and the power it holds over them. To make matters even more interesting, parents are navigating with their children in uncharted waters, unaware of or struggling to ensure their kids are safe in an ever increasingly public world. This challenge is enormous for parents, particularly as there are no reference points, no past experience upon which they can draw to help them understand the new landscape in which their kids live.

At the end of the special, the psychologist and sociologist who had been involved in the project provided their recommendations for what parents can do. They recommended parents continue to talk to their kids and get their own social media accounts so they understand what their kids are involved in and how each platform works.

While we feel this is sound advice, we couldn’t help but wonder what does that look like? Based on this special, it doesn’t sound like there is a current conversation to continue. So then what do parents say and where do parents start? Given the extreme lengths teens go to hold their public space “private,” the challenges parents have always faced connecting with their teens, and how much teens love to “talk” — while important, the idea of “talk to your teens” can feel overwhelming, pointless and the hardest place to start.

So we wondered, what if we replaced the word “talk” with “get curious”? What would it be like to say to parents: “Hey parents, get curious with your teens.” When we are curious we are open, we are interested, we learn, we listen and we understand. Isn’t that what we are asking parents to do in order to support their teens? Maintain an open dialogue with their kids to learn from them, better understand them so we can help support them? We believe the only way parents can do this is by being curious.

4 Steps To Curious And Connected Conversations With Your Teen:

1. Listen: Be present, pay attention, and actively listen to your teen — it is amazing how much you can learn. They desire your undivided attention the same way you desire theirs. To help you actively listen, ABSORB what they are saying. If you find yourself wanting to tell, fix or solve — pause and come back to actively listening to your teen and their perspective. You may not agree with what they are saying, and that is OK. Just listen to learn and better understand them.

2. Be Open: When we aren’t open we judge, which narrows and closes down a conversation limiting our ability to learn from and understand others. Judging also leads to blaming and shaming — don’t believe us, talk to your teen about judgment and read comment feeds, you will see what we mean. Based on #Being13: Inside The Secret Lives Of Teens, it appears teens today have enormous peer pressures, far greater than any generation that has gone before. Be open to learning from them and their experience. This supports reflection, honesty and respect — all of which lead to understanding.

3. Ask don’t tell: Parents love to tell! And there is nothing teens hate more than being told what to do. Rather than tell your teen what they should do with social media, be curious and ask about their experience. Seek to learn and better understand how it works and the role it plays in their daily life. Focus on using questions that begin with ‘how’ and ‘what’, this will open up the conversation creating opportunities for exploration and discovery that lead to greater understanding. With greater understanding you can begin to collaborate and create a role for social media that meets the expectations of everyone concerned.

4. Test Assumptions: Most parents assume they know what their teens experience is like — we were once teens too, right? Sadly, no parent can relate to the experience of their teen from when they were the same age, nor can they assume they understand it. Rarely are our assumptions right and assumptions lead to conflict. Test each assumption you have so you can better understand what your teen’s real experience is. You can do this by using “how” and “what” questions. If you get stuck thinking of a question ‘tell me more’ is a great way to keep learning and stop assuming.

Remember, teens do what we do not what we say. Learning how to deal with another person face to face in real time begins with you. Being curious with your teen to maintain an open dialogue, with a focus on learning to understand, will have a far greater impact than anything you tweet or tell them.

Kathy Taberner and Kirsten Taberner Siggins are a mother/daughter communication consulting team with a focus on curiosity and founders of the Institute Of Curiosity. Their book The Power Of Curiosity: How To Have Real Conversations That Create Collaboration, Innovation and Understanding (Morgan James 2015) gives parents or leaders (or both) the skills and the method to stay curious and connected in all conversations, even in conflict.

22 Ways to Live a Resilient Life

As we begin 2014 it feels like a fresh start….. a blank slate.  Many like to start new things, revisit old behaviors, or most commonly make commitments to making change: make more money, get that promotion, lose weight, find love, become happier, become healthier, practice life balance.  Whatever it may be, the success in achieving the goals you set for 2014 doesn’t lie in what you do to achieve them.  Your success lies in HOW you do it – most specifically your mindset with yourself and others.

Not wanting you to waver in your commitment to your goals, below are 22 Ways to Live a Resilient Life to support you in achieving everything you have set out to achieve in 2014:

 #1: BE CURIOUS – Your mantra for 2014 “What am I curious about?”

Curiosity supports learning and understanding others, tests your assumptions, opens your eyes to new perspectives, and allows for win-win outcomes in challenging conversations.  It also supports a deeper understanding of yourself, your values, your boundaries and your wants.  This year give yourself permission to not “know” everything.  Be open and curious to learn from others – at work, at home, with friends, with your kids.  Ask open questions (those that begin with who, what, where, when, and how) to better understand others and their perspectives.  When you find yourself wanting to fix or tell, stop and be curious.   When you find yourself in challenging conversations where your emotional buttons are being pushed, take a breath and be curious.  Ask yourself, what are the reasons your emotional buttons are being pushed?  Then ask an open question and see what happens.  If you find yourself off track with your 2014 goals or commitments, be curious…  What happened?  What is stopping you from fully committing you to what you want?  How do you need to show up differently in order to achieve the life you want?  When things don’t go the way you wanted them to, be curious.  Dig deeper.  Learn from the situation and apply your learning.  Try this and you will find the more you are intentionally curious, the more curiosity becomes part of how you think.  You will find you have a different, more open mindset, one that supports more resilient and understanding relationships.

For more more ways click here to see Michelle Renee’s ’21 Ways to Live a Resilient Life’  

3 Massive Mistakes Most Professional Women Make

Have you ever met a professional woman who regretted becoming a BETTER leader?

Ya.. neither have we!;)

You and I both know there are thousands of reasons to become a better leader

So why not take the plunge with us?

We have made leadership our business, which means supporting leaders to be BETTER with REAL tools in REAL time to get very big RESULTS.

We have set up a special free teleclass for you entitled:

“3 Massive Mistakes Most Professional Women Make”

You can join us by following this link

Even if you can’t make the call, sign up anyway as you will get access to a recording of the teleclass

This teleclass will make a HUGE difference by leapfrogging you forward to becoming a BETTER leader.  So don’t miss it!


PS-  We have dedicated ourselves to helping professional women like you and want to make as BIG an impact as we can, and we can’t do it alone!  We want to make sure ALL female leaders have access to this information.  So, we ask that if you know of anyone else who would benefit from this call, please refer them and invite them to join us.


How To Be Seen, Heard and Understood TODAY

We are off the heels of a successful workshop with a team of high-level executive negotiators and we have been inspired!  As with so many of the workshops we do, we get feedback where people ask how they can learn more about what we are sharing and doing AND how they can have access to it when they need it?

This has inspired us.  We have decided to do something that we have never done before and we are doing it with YOU in mind.  Something, we should add, most “Gurus” would tell us NOT to do.

We saw in last week’s post that Sir Ken Robinson revealed the 3 principals for the human mind to flourish: diversity, curiosity, and creativity.  He revealed how the success of great leaders lies in their ability to engage diversity, curiosity and creativity in others – in other words, how to SEE, HEAR and UNDERSTAND others as well as be seen, heard and understood.  We couldn’t agree more with Sir Ken Robinson as this has been our experience with leaders as well.  In fact, we believe ALL people want to be seen, heard and understood.  And as promised, today we are sharing with you the exact steps of how to do it.

Today’s content is normally just shared with our workshop, seminar and private clients, supporting them to achieve the one thing we all want:  HOW TO BE SEEN, HEARD AND UNDERSTOOD.  We are so excited to finally be able to share this with you AND we are doing it in a way that you can have access to it WHEN YOU want and WHERE YOU want, as long as you have an Internet connection.  Also, in order for you to get the most out of what we are sharing with you, we are including access to your OWN personal coach (Kathy or Kirsten) in a one on one private and confidential online coaching forum.

While we could get all ‘salesy’ on you and tell you how this would normally cost you thousands, the reality is that today we want to give back to our amazing community which has supported us.   So, for the next 3 days this program is yours for only $99*.  Since we are practically giving this away, we are only able to offer this program at this rate to the first 10 people who sign up.

You think that is good?  See what we are offering the leaders who are really serious and want to Excel their Leadership… only 5 spots open, it is that good!


You see, for the last 8 years we have been working with leaders in different professions supporting them in developing their leadership skills.  Our journey began when Kathy facilitated workshops rooted in coaching skills to support leadership development in learners.  However, what happened was unexpected. While we expected the learners to have all the AHAS as they applied these coaching skills to their leadership, the TRUE AHA came for US.

We began to see first hand what was standing in the way of these leaders and their success: their struggle with communication skills that fostered curiosity would often stand in the way of their ability to build strong relationships with others.

What was happening was that when they found themselves telling others what to do, got frustrated, became emotional, or weren’t getting what they wanted, they found themselves slipping into a place of blaming others or getting stuck in a right/ wrong head space and then their leadership suffered.  Sound familiar?

We knew they were good at what they did. However, none of that counted when they were unable to communicate effectively with others, ESPECIALLY when they got emotional, which ultimately compromised their relationships.  And today, in ANY industry, we are only as good as the relationships we build!

So when our clients became emotional they lost the ability to listen to others.  This would isolate them, leaving them with a focus on being right and therefore others were wrong, blinding themselves to others’ perspectives.  They felt, at times, others did not listen to them, respect them, or even trust them.

When our clients got frustrated they were unable to be curious and ask questions or test assumptions.  Rather they found themselves becoming tellers and judgers.  This limited their options, wasn’t inclusive of their team or clients, and ultimately stood in the way of their productivity.

As leaders, they weren’t always engaging others and supporting their learning. Their teams, clients, managers and even kids were not listening to them and at times they definitely felt ignored.  This lack of connection dampened relationships and they felt certain nobody’s needs were being met.

Now, this is where we come in…

We understood that what leaders of any kind need today is very different than what was needed 10 years ago.  This became apparent as these leaders began to learn how to see, hear and understand others.  As others changed in conversations, provided feedback on how they felt appreciated, these learners learned they were able to change the conversation and connect more effectively with others, building relationships that mattered.  As our world is changing, moving from the hierarchical Industrial Era which is rooted in telling, right/ wrong, judgment and blame – towards the Knowledge Era which is rooted in collaboration, innovation and diversity, we were seeing first hand how leaders – both formal and informal – struggle with what is being expected of them.

All organizations and clients are expecting collaboration and innovation from their leaders.  We even expect it  in our families!  It is seen as the strongest strategy in terms of success.  However..

For those of us who were raised with the “tools” of the Industrial Era (like ourselves and so many of our clients) it is exceptionally difficult to meet the expectations of what we are being asked to do today, in the Knowledge Era.  They are skills that were never taught to us, they are just simply being EXPECTED of us.

So, those who were told what to do growing up, now tell others.  Those who were judged growing up, now judge others.  Those who were raised and taught with a lens of right or wrong, now approach their life and leadership is the same way.

We KNOW this approach does not serve anyone well;  as parents with our kids, as leaders with our teams or clients.  Honestly, we have yet to meet a person or leader who prefers a communication style that constantly involves being told, judged or blamed.  What about you?

Here is AHA number 2– WHAT we do in any aspect of our life is no longer as important as HOW we do it.

So.. the struggle NOW becomes..

How do you show up as a collaborative leader when you have always been told what to do?

How do you approach a conversation that didn’t go the way you wanted it to, without getting emotional AND still getting what you need?

How do you foster innovation when you don’t know what people want or how to discover it?

How do you support your team or organization when you aren’t truly open to hearing their perspectives for fear of looking incompetent?

How do you support your child in their hyper-connected world – which is SO different from the one you grew up in?

Sounding familiar?

These are but a few of the struggles our clients were facing – struggles we know that you face as well.

Their inability to SEE, HEAR, and UNDERSTAND others was road blocking them from their success.  And it could be standing in the way of yours as well.   We don’t want this for you!

We want to see you succeed like our clients which is why we have created and are sharing with you our first online program:  HOW TO BE SEEN, HEARD, AND UNDERSTOOD

Wanting you to get the most of this program, we have also included a private online coaching forum where you will have access to your own personal certified executive coach to support your learning as you move through your 5 modules: Listening Basics, Value of Curiosity, The Importance of Asking Questions, Being Open to New Perspectives, and The 4 Choices of Listening We Always Have.

At the end of each module you will have the opportunity to work directly with your own personal coach (Kathy or Kirsten) to support you in applying the tools and techniques via our online forum.  This is a private forum for just you and your coach, a place where we can support you, challenge you and ensure you are getting the most of your program.

We are so excited about this program we are actually doing something that most ‘Gurus’ would tell us NOT to do.  We are feeling really fortunate to have you as part of our community and want to give back to you to say THANK YOU for your support, so…. We are offering this program to you for only $99*.  Remember, it is only available at this rate to the first 10 people who sign up.

You think that is good?  See what we are offering the leaders who are really serious and want to Excel Their Leadership… only 5 spots open though!