The chemical control of hydrolysis-condensation reactions of transition metal alkoxides can be performed through the modification of the transition metal coordination sphere by using strong complexing ligands (SCL). Complexing organic groups can be bonded to the transition metal oxide network in two different ways, as network modifiers or network formers. Different illustrations of the role of complexing ligands on Ti(IV) and Zr(IV) alkoxides are presented. As a network modifier, SCL act as termination agents for condensation reactions allowing a control of particle growth. The complexing ligands being located at the periphery of the oxo core open many opportunities for colloid surface protection. SCL carrying organofunctional groups which exhibit non linear optical (NLO) properties have also been used as probes to study sol-gel transformations. SCL functionalized with organic polymerizable functions act as network formers. Hybrid organic-inorganic copolymers intimately interpenetrated on a nanometer size scale were synthesized from zirconium oxo polymers chemically bonded to polymeric methacrylate chains via a complexing function.