Ontological Education Is Looking Into Oneself Without Being Told What To Do
Ontological Education does not “shape leaders”, it can be an extraordinary tool for those who want to assume being a leader….even an extraordinary one
Executive Coach and author, Connie Larkin is Ontological Education in Action. On her visit to India for conducting her courses, she touches upon the aspects of ontological education, corporate coaching, and future leadership.
How is coaching as a developmental guide changing with time?
I cannot speak for coaching in general, but Ontological coaching, which is the type of coaching I practice, is sensitive only to the ability of understanding of a person. It cannot “change”, but it can definitely evolve; an authentic conversation is an authentic conversation - you cannot change it for a more authentic one.
What is Ontological Education and how exactly does it help to shape up leaders?
The words Ontological Education express a process by which human beings, without being given information or anybody’s “wisdom”, can “see” for themselves. It is direct seeing into one’s nature. When one sees, one does not have to be told what to do.
Ontological Education is for everybody, just like the air. In the case you are a leader, and have an ontological coaching conversation, you can see what exactly makes you behave constricted, unnatural, forceful, critical, short-tempered, overwork, needing to get approval and admiration, demonstrate, be better than anybody, not applying your potential, not having the results expected of you, or what all that cost you.
In my experience I got there are no “leaders”, like there is furniture in the house and I can shape it if I do not like how it looks. Leadership is a WAY OF BEING, and there are many men and women in leadership positions who are worse than their cleaning personnel.
There are also many men and women in leadership positions who struggle because of lack of distinction, or discrimination, or of clarity.
Nobody teaches us about how we function, they teach us meaningless words like entrepreneurship, competition, etc. At the same time, most of the people that could, or have the knowledge to give further, use old, out of date language so that you cannot see the beauty of the forest because of the many-colored light bulbs hanging up in front of it.
Leadership is A WAY OF BEING that comes with assumed responsibility. And this is very personal. It is an act of courage. One can see it when it is present. Ontological Education does not “shape leaders”, it can be an extraordinary tool for those who want to assume being a leader….even an extraordinary one.
What benefits have people reaped from your courses since your last visit to India?
Whatever they generated! When you have all the ingredients and cook, you eat. When you have what you need but do not cook, you starve and then blame the cat:)
I get every day thanks for the fact that “I exist”. Thank God that I know at a profound level of being that it is not “I” who produces the results in people’s lives, but them. When I get shares that are particularly clear, I post on my site. People share and more and more come to the courses, or buy my book “You asshole, YOU caused it!”.
Who do you think is in need of corporate coaching and leadership skills, and why?
“In need” are only those who see they “need”. You cannot make a cake putting cream on mud. In my country, they say you can take a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink; Krishna said: “don’t try to teach anybody who does not want to learn because you commit an immoral act; more than that, they are deaf and cannot hear”. I have no opinion about this - I managed to find out opinions do not make any difference and I gave them up.
Corporations are misery at a larger scale, regardless of the fancy glassy building fronts. What the individual experiences at the level of the individual, all that is magnified at the level of the corporation. Given the size of the lack of authenticity, people behave like robots and all their humanity is gone only to make a place to fakeness and survival games. While everybody complains about it, few think something can be done about it. But it can!
What does the future hold for leadership coaching and how does this help the future leader focus?
I think that we are blessed if the future includes humanity, our humanity. Who we are is genius itself behaving in a pathetic way because we do not know, at the level of being, who we are. We are the greatness itself begging. I know, in my own experience, that when one wakes up to the uniqueness of life and assumes responsibility, leadership and contribution are there. Genius is there. Compassion is there. All sorts of unimaginable benefits are there, blessing our lives. Focus comes from clarity, responsibility, and commitment.
You cannot “help future leader focus”, it is a matter of personal choice.
Has the concept of leadership seen a shift over the years, pertaining to the quality of leaders?
If you look at results they are always correlated to whom people are. An expression of a man who contributed immensely to my life, Werner Erhard, says: “If you want to know who you are, look at what you got”.
What we have got tells us about who we are, what the quality of our leadership is. We have overpopulation, starving people, robotic existence, no quality of life, voraciously consuming resources, pollution, no education that makes a difference, hopelessness, no future. Where is the question about the quality of leaders?!
A shift can only happen if one is authentic, true to himself/herself. It takes a really brave person to be authentic.
What are your suggestions to be inculcated for a smooth leadership path going forward?
Waking up would be the first suggestion, and only after that would all others follow: listen, be present, give one’s energy and capabilities 100 percent (without cutting corners), care, integrity, authenticity, responsibility, empowerment.