About Us

Some History

Chris Chittenden and Jacqui Chaplin formed Talking About Pty Ltd at the end of 2004. Before that they had both worked with Graeme Schache at Gaia Consulting Group Pty Ltd, where they had initially been employees and then partners. Graeme continues his coaching work through his business Graeme J. Schache and Associates, and we maintain a close relationship with him.

The work of both Talking About and Gaia Consulting Group centres around the ontological approach to coaching.

By and large, Ontological Coaching is not of our invention, rather it stems from one man, Fernando Flores. He brought together concepts from fields as diverse to linguistics, philosophy of language, cognitive biology, philosophy and sociology to develop a new interpretation of what it is to be human and how we use language. He took this work to the world of business in a practice that he termed "Ontological Coaching".

Importantly, Flores incorporated the work of Chilean biologist, Humberto Maturana. He had been developing some radical ideas, for the time, about the role that language and emotions play in how human beings engage with the world. His work has found its way into many fields of social practice including counselling and family therapy, but we believe that it is in the practice of Ontological Coaching that it has found one of its greatest practical applications.

Rafael Echeverria and Julio Olalla then further developed the work of Flores and Maturana into what became known as the "Ontology of Language". This extensive work became the basis of the Newfield Group's coaching program "Mastering the Art of Professional Coaching" in the early 1990s.

Together with Peter Thorneycroft and Rob McNeilly, Graeme Schache pioneered ontological coaching in Australia in 1994. That year, they all participated in the program, Mastering the Art of Professional Coaching. As part of his learning in that program, Graeme introduced Chris to ontological coaching beginning his love affair with the work. Other Australians followed Graeme, Rob and Peter into the MAPC in 1995 and 1996 when The Newfield Group disbanded leaving an apparent hole in learning ontological coaching. This hole was filled in a number of ways. One of the key players in The Newfield Group, Julio Olalla, went on to form Newfield Network who now present the MAPC program in the US, Europe and parts of Africa and Asia.

In Australia, Alan Sieler and his associates at Newfield Australia put their own flavour on this work in their coaching program known as the "Diploma of Ontological Coaching"(DOC). Jacqui and Chris were both students in the fist DOC program that began in 1999.

Not long after beginning the DOC program, Chris began working with Gaia Consulting Group and gained his accreditation as a MBTI practitioner soon after that. Under Graeme's supervision, he had his first fee-paying coaching clients in 2000. After completing Newfield Australia's Diploma of Ontological Coaching in 2000, Jacqui also joined Gaia Consulting Group as a Coach.

Chris' experience of some shortcomings in the DOC program as it applied to him, led to the development of our easy to understand application of Ontological Coaching.

We have such a strong and well-grounded view of the positive impact of the ontological approach for individuals, organisations and communities that we want to share this approach as much as we can. To that end, Chris has written about ontological coaching for many years beginning with quarterly newsletters for Gaia Consulting Group in 1996. Since 1998, he has written a monthly e-zine that is sent to a mailing list of well over a thousand people.

More About Us

  • You can find out more about the people of Talking About by clicking here.
  • You can find out more about our partners and affiliations by clicking here.
  • You can find out more about our ethics and approach to privacy by clicking here.