How Ontological Coaching Became Coaching’s “Gold Standard.”
Individuals looking to take control of their lives have long encountered a variety of available methodologies. From motivational speakers offering compelling platitudes for self-help to experiential training such as EST (Erhard Seminars Training), the world of personal development has always been replete with options.
Yet while much of the public spotlight has focused on self-help literature and motivational speakers, a relatively quiet movement in personal coaching has been steadily gaining adherents.
We are speaking, of course, of Ontological Coaching.
From Heidegger to Here.
The Ontological methodology got its start about a century ago, when German philosopher Martin Heidegger published Being and Time, one of the most influential philosophical works of the 20th Century. In it, Heidegger attempted to shift the focus of philosophical awareness and introspection from “beings” to “being.” While this may, on the surface, seem to be little more than a semantic distinction, the difference forms the very foundation of Ontological thinking.
Rather than see individuals as fixed entities, Heidegger argued that we are a collection of potentialities, defined by the ways in which we interpret and interact with the world. This is our “way of being.”
Heidegger’s work is notorious for its dense German prose, but it has still managed to resonate alongside other complimentary philosophies such as phenomenology and existentialism. It’s also informed the work of scientists, linguists, and artificial intelligence researchers while on its way to fostering a movement in the world of coaching.
Such was the case with Fernando Flores, who served as Finance Minister in the government of former Chilean President Salvador Allende until the coup d’etat of General Pinochet. Imprisoned, and later exiled to the US, Flores encountered fellow Chilean thinker Humberto Maturana, a botanist whose ideas on cognition and self-determination meshed well with Flores and his ontological mindset. While pursuing his PhD at Berkeley, Flores was further guided by linguist John Searle, who (along with British philosopher J. L. Austin) explored the role of language in shaping the actionable world. To Flores, language was another key to unlocking the potential of Heidegger’s work. Flores synthesized it all and developed a thesis that merged the worlds of philosophy, coaching, and workflow technology entitled Management and Communication in the Office of the Future.
From this seminal work, Flores effectively founded Ontological Coaching. He also predicted in 1977, years before the founding of the Internet, that people would one day interact through personal computers to communicate and work. Having laid out the principles of the Ontological Coaching methodology followed by EFL and others to this day. Flores moved on to found numerous companies (including Hermenet, with EST founder Werner Erhard) and even return to Chilean politics by coaching President Michelle Bachelet and her cabinet.
Putting Ontology to Work
Because Flores’ work focused primarily upon applying the Ontological Coaching framework to the workplace, it was only natural that it would be explored by companies seeking to improve the leadership and communications skills of employees. And indeed, organizations such as Nike, Citibank, NASA, World Bank, and others proved very interested in doing so in an increasingly globalized world. From South America to Europe, South Africa, and Australia, the Ontological Coaching world continued to grow quietly over the next quarter-century.
Often, those who were coached would find the experience so transformational that they would take up the mantle of coaching themselves. As the movement grew, so too did the awareness that the Ontological Coaching framework was not just for the workplace, but for every aspect of an individual’s life.
Today, Ontological Coaches, like those trained by EFL Seminars, are highly sought by businesses of all sizes. And with the exploding coaching and personal development movement continuing to gain steam, more and more individuals are also seeking out the practitioners of this “gold standard” methodology.
EFL Seminars offers a variety of Ontological Coaching options for individuals, as well as for executives, coaches, and others in leadership roles. With everything from one-day seminars for adults or children to weekend workshops to accredited, multi-term courses, EFL is proud to advance the transformative perspective of ontology to a world that needs it more now than ever.
For more information about EFL Seminars, visit eflseminars.com or call 888.304.0627 today.