Ways of Being – Ontological Coaching

I’m using language, emotions and body to write this and you are reading it using language, emotions and body. Now. This is our Way of Being.

I’ve experienced and watched many different coaching styles, approaches and techniques with some of most experienced coaches in the world. Some approaches stand out because of significant and sustainable results in my life, relationships and coaching. One approach is Ontological coaching.

What is Ontological coaching?

Ontology is the study of being. Ontological coaching supports and challenges individuals in a reflection of who they are.

Way of Being is a dynamic interrelationship between three areas of human existence – language, emotions and body.

Coaching in language, emotions and body has the potential to be transformative, for it can generate profound learning and deep constructive change.

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Ontology uses the premise that language is a process that generates reality; humans are languaging beings that continually create what is real for them by the specific ways they use and do not use language.

Notice what language(s) are you using while reading this.

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Emotions shape our way of being or our capacity for action.  Emotions pre-disposes us to act or not and in different ways. If experience being grateful I will act and speak differently than if I experience resentment. The power of Emotions to continually shape perception and behaviour is the essence of our wellbeing and the foundation of our relationships.

Notice your emotion(s) at the moment.



The body (postural alignment, movement, muscle tension and breathing) is crucial in perception, learning and change. Long-standing moods and unhelpful beliefs are embodied (stored and codified in the body). Change may happen at an intellectual level and will be sustainable when the body changes.

Notice your posture, movement, muscular tensions and breathing now.

An ontological coach can support and challenge by developing different ways of using language, emotions and body to generate a more constructive reality. Ways of Being.

Recommended books about Ontological Coaching by Alan Sieler, Coaching to the Human Soul, 4 Volumes (special thanks to Libby Robinson for suggesting them).

André Ribeiro is Master Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation and Senior Practitioner with the European Mentoring and Coaching Council.