Coaching to the Human Soul - Ontological Coaching and Deep Change
Volume IV: Towards Professional Artistry with Ontological Coaching

In this final volume of the globally acclaimed Coaching to the Human Soul series, Alan Sieler reinforces the recognition he has been accorded as the world’s leading authority on Ontological Coaching. Alan brilliantly takes the field of coaching one step further into the territory of coaching artistry. He outlines a well-considered and grounded approach for understanding the nature of artistry and mastery that goes beyond the current understanding in the coaching industry. In doing so he presents a well-argued case for the invaluable contribution the ontological approach can make to the many significant existential challenges people face these days, that are properly not regarded as mental health matters. In this process he points to the importance of coaching moving beyond being an unregulated industry and becoming professionalised so that it can gain wider recognition as a genuine contributor to mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

"Your books are an elegant, deeply human expression of the poetry of coaching and the song of life. I am grateful for the collected and curated wisdom from you and others in these rare and nourishing books. Thank you."
Lloyd Raines
MCC Founding faculty member of Georgetown University Leadership Coaching Program & Institute for Transformational Leadership.

Many years ago Alan Sieler made a historic commitment to investigate the new possibility of professional coaching. Today, as one of the most important contributors to this increasingly important emerging discipline, his fourth major text is a book for serious practitioners and students. This is a wise and practical book that can help those who listen to transform and create new futures for themselves, their enterprises, and their communities.
Chauncey Bell
Pioneer and world leader in Ontological Design

This book is a rich guide for how to live well in challenging times. It highlights the gamut of what we face in the world today, how this relates to existential issues we experience and provides ways to make sense of it all. It offers coaches a book they will want to keep close as a touchstone for helping them develop artistry in coaching. Alan Sieler has a rare gift, which is the ability to be exacting and precise in his research and understanding of Ontology as it applies to Ontological Coaching, while at the same time offering practical insights and ways to use this profound body of work.
Karen White
Master Certified Coach and Advanced Ontological Coach Trainer

Like the three previous highly acclaimed volumes of Coaching to the Human Soul, this book is an immensely rich source of personal and professional learning.


Part I: Professional Artistry

The opening section contains three chapters on the notions of artistry and professional artistry, which includes the views of notable philosophers that are consistent with the philosophical underpinnings of Ontological Coaching. Also included are two chapters outlining a framework of complex skill acquisition that illuminates the inevitable phases to be passed through on a path to coaching artistry. Finally, in this section the crucial role of intuition in the development of artistry in the latter phases of complex skill acquisition is expounded.

Part II: A Basis for Artistry in Ontological Coaching

A detailed exposition of the notion of Ontological Design outlines in detail the importance of the coach being continually active and becoming increasingly skilled in applying the ontological methodology to enhance the quality of their own existence. This is regarded as an indispensable basis for becoming proficient in supporting clients to deal with existential issues in their personal and working lives. Engaging in ontological design consists of three components.

Firstly, the coach ensuring they are open to continually learn about and expand their own Way of Being, as well as other aspects of human perception and behaviour. Being an ontological learner is indispensable for the development of coaching artistry.

The second component of ontological design is the utilisation of a framework called Permanent Domains of Human Concern to reflect in detail on the quality of existence that is being experienced in the wide range of areas or domains of life that the coach is inevitably involved in. Identifying the specific areas of life that are going well and the areas of life in which there is a desire for improvement is an essential part of what can be called “existential goal setting”.

The third component of ontological design is Ontological Self-Coaching. Enhancing the quality of existence comes from self-generated shifts in perception and behaviour, which is greatly facilitated by self-coaching. Ontological Self-Coaching is oriented toward the coach developing the practice of the self-transformation of their being and becoming more self-authoring in this process.

Part III: Cultivating Artistry in Ontological Coaching

A dynamic process model of Ontological Coaching is outlined that identifies five phases of the coaching engagement. Coaching artistry is evident when coach works proficiently through each of the five phases, providing a conversational context in which the coachee can make important discoveries and undergo a significant shift in their Way of Being. A detailed exposition of the complex skillsets associated with each phase is provided, which includes the skilful application of the fundamental principles and generic competences of Ontological Coaching.

Part IV: Historical Positioning of Ontological Coaching

In the final section of the book it is contended that Ontological Coaching is an innovative and history-making endeavour that can facilitate clients enhancing their ontological security and adaptive resilience, enabling them to make progress with their existential issues. In addition, the interpretation is advanced that because Ontological Coaching is based on a solid theoretical foundation, has a well-articulated methodology and ensures extensive practice and experiential learning, it has a significant contribution to make to advancing the professionalisation of coaching.

Contents - Chapters

PART I: Professional Artistry
  1. The Notion of Artistry
  2. Some Philosophical Perspectivces on Artistry
  3. The Potential for Professional Artistry in Ontological Coaching
  4. A Path to Professional Artistry I
  5. A Path to Professional Artistry II
  6. Dionysian Wisdom and Professional Artistry
PART II: Ontological Design: A Basis For Artistry in Ontological Coaching
  1. Ontological Design and Coaching Artistry
  2. The Coach as an Ontological Learner I
  3. The Coach as an Ontological Learner II
  4. Permanent Domains of Human Concern
  5. Ontological Self-Coaching I
  6. Ontological Self-Coaching II
PART III: Cultivating Artistry in Ontological Coaching
  1. Introducing a Dynamic Process Model of Ontological Coaching
  2. Phase 1: Being in the Most Resourceful Way of Being for the Coachee
  3. Phase 2: Conversation for Clarity and Artistry in Questioning
  4. Phase 3: Conversation for Exploration and Possibility I
  5. Phase 3: Conversation for Exploration and Possibility II
  6. The Final Phases of the Coaching Engagement
PART IV: Historical Positioning of Ontological Coaching
  1. The Historical Relevance of Ontological Coaching
  2. The Contribution of Ontological Coaching to the Professionalisation of Coaching

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This book understands in a beautiful and coherent way the integral part of biology in coaching...
Ximena Davila and Humberto Maturana
Co-founders Matriztic School of Santiago, Chile