Ontological Coaching Institute

OCI Newsletter Banner

Alan Sieler

Welcome to our fifth issue of Observing Differently for the year.

Ontological Coaching and ontological security

Ontological Coaching focuses on coaching to Way of Being, which contains our perceptions and attitudes, many of which are deep-seated and out-of-awareness. Way of Being is also the underlying driver of behaviour and communication.

The ontological approach continues to be one of world’s leading approaches to coaching, and has become increasingly relevant in a time when there is heightened uncertainty about the future, with humanity in a seemingly unpredictable drift. We face an individual and collective existential challenge to live meaningful and fulfilling lives and create better communities and societies.

Each person can only make their contribution to this challenge from their Way of Being. What is at stake in dealing with the challenge is our ontological security, in which we develop deep resourcefulness within our Way of Being, enabling us to live a life of meaningful contribution. This is especially true for ontological coaches whose essential task is to facilitate clients enhancing their ontological security.

The notion of deep resourcefulness within our Way of Being includes being more readily able to adjust and adapt to change, and increased resilience in the face of challenging circumstances.

While we are highly unlikely to feel perfectly secure in our Way of Being and our existence, because of the plasticity of our nervous system and its ability to self-generate learning and change, the ontological approach to life, leadership and coaching can continually support us in moving towards greater ontological security.

You can begin to learn about the ontological coach in our three-day Ontological Coaching and Leadership in Action workshop, which is being run in South Africa, UK, Asia, Europe, Australia and North America over the next few months (see details below).

You may be aware that this workshop is the necessary foundation for doing the 18-month ICF accredited Ontological Coaching and Leadership Program, which is being offered in Asia, Australia and Europe & UK in the second half of this year and South Africa in early 2023 (see dates below). Many experienced coaches have completed this program and found great value in being able to deepen and extend the quality of their coaching.

“This course is not simply a coaching course or a leadership course. It is an experience in wisdom. I have walked away from this course with more than only "knowing" about coaching or leadership. I apply my ontological learning to every aspect of my personal and professional life on a daily basis. Through the papers, the opportunities, and an incredibly patient and supportive approach from those who lead it, this course has given me so much, whilst simultaneously preparing me for so much more. It is not only an in-depth coaching course; it is a course that could very easily, significantly and permanently change society’s understanding of how leadership and life can be approached”.

Deanne Duncombe, IT Manager, Canberra

If you would like to find out more:

Life scripts and self-authoring

Once again I am delighted for our feature article to be an excerpt from another book written by one of our ontological graduates. This time it is from a brilliant book by Brisbane based Bill Ash. Bill’s book is Redesigning Conversations: A Guide to Communicating Effectively in Families, the Workplace and Society.

Conversations are the essence of human life. Humans are conversational beings who get things done and create the future through conversations. Unfortunately, it can be easy for us to have formed unhelpful and ineffective conversational habits that continually result in unsatisfactory outcomes.

The excerpt from Bill’s book aligns very nicely with the notion of ontological security. Bill highlights how we have inevitably learned "scripts", like the lines of a play, as we grew up. These scripts informed us who we were, how we should be our place in the world and what is possible for us. While these scripts can have served us well, they can become obsolete and unhelpful, perpetuating us being unwittingly trapped in unhelpful perceptual patterns and ineffective conversations.

However, thanks to the plasticity of our nervous system we have the capability to rewrite our scripts and make a significant ontological shift from our lives being authored by unhelpful scripts to rewriting these scripts and becoming more self-authoring. In the process of doing this we enhance our ontological security.

This wonderful contribution from Bill is very worth reading and may assist you in beginning to make some important changes in your life.

Until the next issue ... very best wishes.

Alan Sieler


We Cannot Change What We Do Not Notice
By Bill Ash

How often do we:

  • Hear about the importance of self-awareness? A lot.
  • Declare how others lack self-awareness? A lot.
  • Recognise how unaware we are of our own lack of self-awareness? A little.

Am I being too harsh?

If my own experience is anything to go by, no. Why? Because patterns we absorb from birth unwittingly trap us in prejudices, biases, and judgments we see as truths. I learnt this attending the therapy course I discussed in Chapter 5 - how the patriarchal aura of my upbringing underpinned my prejudices, biases, and judgments within my family and workplace. I also learnt we cannot change what we do not notice, encapsulated in what Daniel Goleman wrote 1:

The range of what we think and do
is limited by what we fail to notice.
And because we fail to notice
that we fail to notice
there is little we can do
to change
until we notice
how failing to notice
shapes our thoughts and deeds.

Noticing and dealing with our patterns we absorb from birth is at the core of our conversations. These patterns lie with the stories of our growing up. I call these prejudices, biases, and judgments we see as truths our "scripts" for our conversations, including our internal conversations.

»  Read the article in the Organisational Transformation section

The Ontological Coaching Institute operates as the Newfield Institute in Australia and New Zealand.



SOUTH AFRICA (In-person)
• Cape Town: 10 - 12 August
• Johannesburg: 26 - 28 October

UK (In-person)
• London: 8 - 10 September

Asia (Online)
• 26, 28 & 30 September

• Basel: 20 - 22 October

• 7, 9, 12, 14, 17 and 19 November (half day sessions)

»  Find out more


ASIA (Online)
• Commencing 26 September

EUROPE and UK (In-person and Online)
• Commencing 20 October

• Next program commences 31 January 2023

ICF Accreditation

This program has received ACTP (Accredited Coach Training Program) status from the International Coach Federation.

»  Find out more

Ontological Coaching Institute

Ontological Coaching Institute
Corporate and Personal Transformation

Head Office
7 Rigani Court, Blackburn VIC 3130

TEL: +61 3 9878 5501

info@ontologicalcoaching.com.au · www.ontologicalcoaching.com.au

Cape Town · Johannesburg · Brussels · Hong Kong