Ionic catalyst compositions can be prepared by combining two components. The first component is a bis(cyclopentadienyl) Group IV-B metal complex containing at least one ligand which will combine irreversibly with the second component or at least a portion thereof such as a cation portion thereof. The second component comprises a cation which will irrevesibly react with at least one ligand on the Group IV-B metal complex and a non-coordinating anion. The combination of the two components produces an ionic catalyst composition comprising a cationic bis(cyclopentadienyl) Group IV-B metal complex which has a formal coordination number of 3 and a 4+ valence charge and the aforementioned non-coordinating anion. The anion is (i) labile and can be displaced by an olefin, diolefin or acetylenically unsaturated monomer; (ii) has a molecular diameter about or greater than 4 angstroms; (iii) forms stable salts with reducible Lewis acids and protonated Lewis bases; (iv) has a negative charge delocalized over the framework on the anion or within the core thereof; (v) is not a reducing or oxidizing agent; and (vi) is a relatively poor nucleophile. These ionic catalyst compositions can be used to polymerize .alpha.-olefins, diolefins and/or acetylenically unsaturated monomers, either alone or in combination, to polymers and copolymers.