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Why be coached by me?

· Coaching,Ontological,Growth

Why be coached by me?

Steven, a manager of mine for several high impact years working at Microsoft would say to me as we worked our way through corporate reorganization “James, you must be able to answer an employee “why should I be managed by you?”

The context for this was that during the reorganizations, which were a regular and frequent event, there would usually be several new direct reports along with their teams – over 13 years, this became a question I got well used to being able to answer.

Knowing ‘why someone should be managed by you’ also speaks to a management philosophy of the “servant manager” which I subscribe to strongly – and would be the subject for a different posting – except it works brilliantly well here. A coach should serve and as your coach, you can know that everyday I am standing in your corner, working shoulder to shoulder with you on the goals you have chosen.

The context that informs my practice as a coach is important to explain and should help you make your decision to be coached by me.

  • Executive Presence : Building on your confidence and learning overt curiosity are the key focus for this highly personalized coaching track. A very personal goal for me, and something I have got much closer to around my 50th birthday is a sense of balance – I get happiness in spaces that are complex, uncertain, risky even, and so my personal balance might terrify some – but the specifics don’t matter, the meta point is that I have been able to figure out what, who and when (right now!) the elements of my life line up to bring me balance – other words might be flow, or stillness. The point is I know the tools I used to get here and will help you use them to find a path for you.
  • Scaling up Leadership and Influence - Leading in Tech / Startup business: My professional career is balanced between big corporate tech and tech startups; I know what it is to be General Manager of company X (which means that I take the trash out at night, lie awake worrying about wage bill as well as product / market fit!) and General Manager of company Y (which means I managed 500 souls and billions of dollars of P&L). I know what success (having failed enough!) means and this experience is yours to draw from.
  • Breaking through: Diversity and Inclusion are buzz terms I got very used to in my corporate career – and I am sad that they most often became a spreadsheet exercise as the important outcome became reduced to a key performance metric. However, I am humbled and thrilled with what became a legacy for me in hiring, developing and sponsoring the careers of some of the finest Women leaders in the technology industry, most noticeably in Asia. I learned that this is an issue for all the genders, and that ghottos of female diversity need very specific tactics and behaviors to overcome and break through.
  • The Foreign Posting: My passion for travel and working within cultures foreign to my own, inevitably lead to my taking multiple foreign postings – from a year in Stockholm to long term postings in Shanghai, PRC and Singapore – in fact, in a completely accidental manner – I have never spent time working at the HQ of any company I worked for (except my own) and have developed a range of experience and tools that lean on many experiments and failures to form a clear and repeatable recipe for success for not just you, but your family during your foreign posting.

My coaching practice

My training is as a Newfield Coach - For a detailed collection of information on Ontological Coaching, see my Declara Collection here

The essential claim at Newfield is 

we believe that the time has come to address the epistemological, ontological, and cosmological context in which we experience the world

We use the Observation, Action, Results (OAR) model informed by our Body, Emotion and Language (BEL) to achieve sustainable impact


is the view that the proposition expressed by a given knowledge sentence (‘S knows that p’, ‘S doesn't know that p’) depends upon the context in which it is uttered. What makes this view interesting and controversial is that ‘context’ here refers, not to certain features of the putative subject of knowledge (his/her evidence, history, other beliefs, etc.) or his/her objective situation (what is true/false, which alternatives to what is believed are likely to obtain, etc.), but rather to features of the knowledge attributor(s)' psychology and/or conversational-practical situation


Pragmatically, a common ontology defines the vocabulary with which queries and assertions are exchanged among agents. Ontological commitments are agreements to use the shared vocabulary in a coherent and consistent manner. The agents sharing a vocabulary need not share a knowledge base; each knows things the other does not, and an agent that commits to an ontology is not required to answer all queries that can be formulated in the shared vocabulary


On the one hand, the argument arises from human curiosity as to why there is something rather than nothing or than something else. It invokes a concern for some full, complete, ultimate, or best explanation of what exists contingently. On the other hand, it raises intrinsically important philosophical questions about contingency and necessity, causation and explanation, part/whole relationships (mereology), infinity, sets, and the nature and origin of the universe

Julio Olalla

Julio Olalla is a former Chilean government lawyer and now the President of The Newfield Network, an ontological coaching school primarily operating in the USA and Latin America and smaller presence in many other parts of the world.

Julio worked for the government of Chilean President Salvador Allende and then spent four years in exile in Argentina before emigrating to the USA in 1978 with his family. There he began working with his teacher Fernando Flores, the thinker who developed theoretical and practical work on transcending the epistemological crisis of modernity. Flores is the founder of ontological coaching, influenced by Heidegger, Maturana, J.L. Austin and others.

Julio ultimately founded his own company, Newfield Network, to promote and teach ontological coaching. Since then he has worked with many people throughout the world, in public programs centring on personal transformation.

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