Ontological Coaching

“The only place leaders can lead from is their way of being.”

-Alan Sieler

Colleen’s training as a coach is from the Newfield Network, which focuses on Ontological Coaching.

As such, our coaching is ontologically founded and based on the OAR (Observer-Action-Results) and BEL (Body-Emotion-Language) models taught by the Newfield Network and adapted from works by Gregory Bateson, Chris Argyris, Donald A. Schon and Peter Senge.

What is “Ontological,” you might be asking?

The Newfield Institute describes Ontological Coaching as:

“an extraordinarily powerful methodology for effecting change for individuals, teams and organisations. It is highly effective because it is based on a new deeply grounded and practical understanding of language, moods and conversations for behavioural and cultural transformation.”


In simple terms, ontology is the study of being; Ontological Coaching is about coaching a way of being as a means of producing major shifts in the way we see and in the way we act – through all aspects of communication.

Here’s what this means, in real terms…

“I prefer the Newfield approach to coaching, especially the BEL (Body-Emotion-Language) model. It’s like an anchor you can “sink your teeth into” to examine what you want to examine.

Colleen’s approach respected that I had all the answers inside me and that her role was simply to help draw those answers out. The whole time we worked together, it was clear that Colleen was in my court, that she wanted me to be all that I can be.”

– Ellen Tozzi, Founder Natural Order Design in Hamilton, NJ

An Opportunity to Transform Awaits…

We work with you to expand your own inner “observer” so that you, too, can see with new eyes. From this fresh perspective of the observer, you’ll be able take truly effective action and achieve your desired results (and more!) with greater ease.

So instead of applying for the exact same job – even if in a different organization – we begin to observe ourselves acting out insanity (doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results) and instead begin going for those roles which tug at our hearts.

As we know, a crucial part of leadership is being influential. Sometimes, our deep-seated attitudes and perceptions may be compromising the impact of our behavior, our communications and our overall influence. This lack of awareness about ourselves may be sabotaging our own best interests as individuals and as leaders.

Oar Model

To Truly Transform, Emphasize Perception

When we do not like the results we are getting, our first move is often to change our actions in some way. But focusing on actions without first changing our perspective (“observer”) toward the situation or person only produces more of the same results.

How often have we sent our resume out for the same sort of job – only to once again be dissatisfied? That’s what we’re talking about here.

To truly transform our results, we as humans need to prioritize the way we/the “observer” perceive ourselves and our place in the world around us. This is done through bringing in three key domains: physiology (body posture), emotions & moods, and language. These are where our perceptions and attitudes live.

Fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities

Enhanced thinking and decision-making skills

Improved interpersonal effectiveness

Increased confidence in carrying out chosen work or life roles

Stronger ability to make an impact in leadership

Greater awareness of self and others

What Makes Ontological Coaching Different From Other Types of Coaching?

Much of the coaching out there today focuses on exchanging one behavior for another. For instance, say you want to exude greater leadership presence. Conventional coaching might offer us some fantastic tips and tricks on speech and body language. And we can do that, too.

But as you already know from the rest of our site, we are more interested in transformation – and that requires shifting what goes on more deeply inside you.

In a similar vein, Ontological Coaching goes deeper than just a focus on behavior to build the foundation necessary for real transformation to begin. That’s where your leadership can really come alive!