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Alan Sieler

Welcome to our third issue of Observing Differently for this year.

As we continue to adjust in a COVID dominated world, we are challenged to decide how we want to be and how we will live our lives in the wake of our learnings from our experiences of social restriction. As we saw in the previous newsletter article, interruptions and disruptions to life such as we have been experiencing not only close down possibilities, but they also open up possibilities that we otherwise would not have been aware of.

An ontological approach to coaching and leadership, with its focus on potentiality-for-being, is about enabling people to discover new perceptual and behavioural possibilities within themselves that they have not been aware of.

Our first online Ontological Coaching and Leadership in Action workshop was a great success and another workshop has been scheduled for July – 17, 21 and 24. I’m also very pleased to announce that we have a commencement date for the rescheduled 18 month Certified Ontological Coaching and Leadership Program, with the opening conference now being October 15-18 (rescheduled from July 9-12). Brochures for each course are available here.

Our article for this issue is a combined effort from two of my ontological colleagues – Helen Woodward in the UK and Idot Wong in China. Their writing illuminates a hallmark of the ontological approach, which is the notion of second-order learning. This is a form of learning that goes deeper and is more powerful than conventional first-order learning, having the potential to bring about profound and lasting change. I think you will find this stimulating reading.

Until next time ...

Best wishes

Alan Sieler


Excerpt from Ontology and Second-Order Learning
By Helen Woodward and Idot Wong


I am delighted to share the thoughts and experiences of two of my ontological colleagues, Helen Woodward from Bury in the UK and Idot Wong from Hong Kong, currently living in Shanghai, China, on the concept and lived experience of second-order learning.

Second-order learning is one of the hallmarks of the ontological approach to life, coaching and leadership. The essence of second-order learning consists of developing the twofold skilful practice of:

  • observing or noticing our Way of Being and how this inevitably shapes our behaviour; and
  • changing or shifting our Way of Being to improve the quality of our thinking, behaviour and communication.

Helen writes ...

I borrowed Volume I of Alan Sieler's Coaching to the Human Soul: Ontological Coaching and Deep Change, 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. 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 following quotation from R. D. Laing brilliantly captures idea of ‘noticing’ which is applied in the ontological approach to learning and change:

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.

It sounds so simple. The practice is challenging. Alan offers an Ontological Coaching and Leadership in Action three-day workshop, and an in-depth coach training and leadership development program, that 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.

»  Read the full article

Newfield Institute operates as the Ontological Coaching Institute in Africa, Asia, Europe and the UK. Ontological programs also run in the USA through EFL Seminars.


Ontological Coaching and Leadership in Action Workshops

The next Australia-wide online three-day workshop is July 17, 21, and 24.

»  Find out more

Certified Ontological Coaching and Leadership Program

(fully accredited by the International Coach Federation)

Now scheduled to commence with the Opening Conference from October 15-18.

ICF Accreditation

»  Find out more

Newfield Institute

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Corporate and Personal Transformation

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