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  • Helen Woodward

'The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice...'​




I borrowed Alan Sieler's 'Coaching to the Human Soul' having seen it on a friend's bookshelf in 2017. This was my introduction to ontological coaching. Alan writes about our 'way of being', the dynamic interplay between three spheres of human existence - language, emotions and body. (Sieler 2007) The proposal is that for deep and lasting change to take place, 'shift' is needed in all three domains. All of this begins with 'noticing'.


'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.'


R.D Laing.


It sounds so simple. The practice is challenging. Alan offers an Ontological Coaching and Leadership in Action three day workshop which brings the theory to life through, listening, discussion and practice. This enables everyone to develop deeper awareness about their own 'way of being' and prepares you to more effectively work with coaching clients.


I emailed Alan to ask: 'Are there any entry level qualifications required to access the workshop?' 'Yes, you need to be a human being and willing to learn.' Alan replied. A good and congruent response. Alan is straightforward, precise with language and carries not an ounce of pretension. During the workshop participants experience ontological coaching both as a coach and a coachee. The learning was so useful that we hosted the workshop in Yorkshire in June 2018. Participants included an engineer, an executive headteacher, professional coaches and an education adviser. Becoming more aware in our language, emotions and physiology is useful to all of us. The engineer led a workshop at his place of work a few weeks later entitled 'making effective requests'. Again, it sounds so simple, yet you only need to listen to frustrated staff and managers to know this doesn't always go well, and many organisations could improve if requests were made more effectively.


We'll be hosting two programmes in 2020:


  • 3 day Ontological Coaching and Leadership in Action Workshop (brochure here)

  • Ontological Coaching Programme (International Coaching Federation Certified) (brochure here).

Alan gives clear processes, theory and frameworks. His excellent facilitation skills make the work accessible, applicable and best of all enjoyable. The programmes are for anyone interested in learning about coaching. If you'd like to find out more, get in touch.

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