Psychedelic-assisted Executive Coaching
I’m very pleased to announce that Thriving Founders is now offering psychedelic-assisted executive coaching in coordination with Mindbloom, the leading provider of at-home therapeutic ketamine experiences.
Hello! I’m Michael Costuros, the managing partner of Thriving Founders. I’m excited to tell you about the career and life-enhancing benefits that take place when you combine executive coaching with neuro-linguistic programing (NLP) and psychedelic therapy with ketamine in one program.
Our new Awake Forward program does just that, and here’s why I’m inviting you to consider it.
The Back Story
Scientists, psychiatrists, and therapists have been studying the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics since the 1940s. Recent changes in legal constraints and public perception have ushered in a new era of psychedelic research and, as a result, new, ultra-low risk therapies are now available. The most relevant example of this is the FDA’s approval of ketamine, a gentle psychedelic for the treatment of anxiety and depression.
On a personal note, my first psychedelic-assisted therapy experience took place in 2008 at a time when the company I founded was threatened by the nationwide financial collapse. We were forced to execute a big reduction in force and implement a significant product pivot. As a result, my co-founders and I were incredibly stressed and kept passionately disagreeing about key decisions. Personally, however, I was able to navigate the challenges with much more equanimity and clarity than I would have been able to if I hadn’t experienced my first therapeutic psychedelic experience a few months prior. As a result, I continued working with psychedelics in professionally guided therapeutic contexts. Unfortunately, at that time, there was no legal way to do this work in the U.S. I was forced to travel to countries where it was legal, but the results were worth the effort.
After leaving my company, I began executive coaching. Before long, it became clear to me that coaching techniques alone could not change the deeply ingrained bad habits, blind spots, and stress patterns that were holding my clients back from realizing their full potential. Though, based on my own experience, I knew that coaching in combination with a psycho-therapeutic technique called “neuro-linguistic programming” (NLP) and therapeutic psychedelics could. I began suggesting to some of my clients that they come with me to Peru to work ayahuasca, a traditional psychedelic concoction native to the Amazon.
The results were extraordinary! Not only were my clients having sustainable breakthroughs in their leadership development, but the positive changes rippled into every area of their lives. Demand increased, so I began taking groups of entrepreneurs to Peru to work with ayahuasca once a year since 2012. The results of these retreats are documented in my podcast Entrepreneurs Awakening.
The Ketamine Breakthrough
The problem has always been obtaining access to the safest, most effective psychedelic therapy experiences in a legal context, until now!
Since 2018, ketamine-assisted therapies have become widely available in the United States. Ketamine is a very gentile and predictable pharmaceutical psychedelic that offers many immediate benefits. The problem has been that ketamine clinics are expensive and typically clinical in nature. Their programs are oriented to people suffering from serious depression or anxiety issues, not high performers looking for better performance. They don’t provide the type of environment or support I or my clients need to get the most out of the experience.
As a result of COVID-19, Mindbloom, a pioneering startup in the ketamine therapy space, was able to get regulatory approval to provide at-home, video-supported ketamine therapy sessions. This is a revolutionary breakthrough! Now, anyone who passes their medical screening and meets certain key criteria can experience the benefits of ketamine in the comfort of their own bed! Oh, and this can be achieved at a fraction of the price they charge at the clinics.
I was somewhat skeptical of Mindbloom’s program. So, I signed up to test it out, and I am glad I did! I am delighted with the service and experience they provide. I decided that it is indeed very effective and would provide our clients with a safe, convenient, and cheap access to the benefits of psychedelic therapy. Inspired, I reached out to Mindbloom to ask them to offer a VIP service to our clients at no extra cost. They agreed, and now I am thrilled to be able to wholeheartedly recommend Mindbloom’s ketamine program to you, whether you’re a client of Thriving Founders or not. (Use discount code Awake20 and get 20% off.)
How I See Ketamine Helping Business Leaders
The most common benefits attributed to ketamine are stress and anxiety reduction as well as the ability to “think different” for many days after the experience. Based on my experience, I often find myself saying, “It provides me with the mental benefits of a five-day vacation in just 90 minutes!”
I’ve never met an executive who wasn’t suffering from the negative side effects that come with shouldering the incredible amount of pressure that comes with the job. The benefits of feeling free from that burden, even for just a few hours, let alone days or weeks, is priceless.
Thinking differently and having mental flexibility, creativity, and emotional resilience are all critical competitive advantages that are dependent on your brain neuroplasticity. Over time, stress creates a reduction in neuroplasticity. Studies have shown that ketamine causes a measurable increase in neuroplasticity for 3 to 10 days after an experience. Clients who are experiencing increased neuroplasticity while working with one of our coaches and an NLP master practitioner receive exponentially better results than coaching alone.
To learn more about the pros and cons of ketamine, read this article on the Mindbloom.com website.
A Decade of Experience
Since 2010, I’ve coached around 75 clients who engaged with therapeutic psychedelics with expert guides during the same time they worked with me as their executive coach. (To be clear, I have never provided the psychedelics or guided the experience; I lead the coaching program during which the experience takes place.) Over the years, I have refined my process into a method that synergistically combines executive coaching frameworks with NLP techniques and psychedelic-assisted therapy experiences that reliably produce both life and career-changing results quickly. I’ve named my process the “Awake Forward Method.”
“I’d never used psychedelics before so when Michael suggested that psychedelic-assisted therapy in conjunction with our executive coaching would accelerate the results I was surprised. I trusted him and I am glad that I did! The results definitely exceeded my expectations in more ways then one.”
– Finance executive, San Francisco
The New Awake Forward Coaching Program
A 6-month executive coaching program that weaves together executive coaching with neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) sessions, provided by one of our team members, and in-home ketamine-assisted therapy sessions, provided by Mindbloom.
Your 6-Month Coaching Program Includes:
- A master executive coach: You will work with Jonelle or I throughout the course of your program. Your coach will help you achieve your professional development goals and leverage the results of your NLP and PaEC sessions.
- A master neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner: You will benefit from two NLP sessions that will help you identify and change the deeply ingrained subconscious patterns and beliefs that are holding you back.
- Psychedelic-assisted therapy sessions: You will have up to four at-home ketamine therapy sessions provided by Mindbloom’s guides under supervision by Mindbloom’s medical professionals. Alternative forms of psychedelic-assisted therapy are available where legal, see FAQ below.
The 6-month Program Overview
Month 1: Rapport & Diagnostics
Address your most urgent issues, run a 360-review process, and build trust.
Month 2: Goal and Strategy Alignment
Refine goals and KPIs based on the 360 results. Identify core limiting beliefs that are holding you back.
Month 3: 1st & 2nd Ketamine-Assisted Therapy Sessions
Coaching continues while Mindboom provides two at-home ketamine sessions focused on relaxing the limiting beliefs that are holding you back from operating at your full potential.
Month 4: Two NLP Sessions with a Master NLP Practitioner
Coaching continues while you work with an NLP expert. Similar to hypnosis, NLP techniques are very effective at supporting you to change the deeply ingrained limiting beliefs that are holding you back. Combined with the increase in neuroplasticity provided by psychedelic therapy, NLP is extra effective!
Month 5: 3rd & 4th Ketamine-Assisted Therapy Sessions
Coaching continues while Mindboom provides two more at-home ketamine sessions focused on relaxing the limiting beliefs that are holding you back from operating at your full potential.
Month 6th: Celebrate Wins, Set New Goals, Continue with the Coaching
Coaching continues while you benchmark your success against the KPIs we started with and celebrate the wins. Create goals for the next 6-month cycle and execute!
Ready to take your personal and professional development to the next level?
Click here to schedule a discovery call with me.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is psychedelic-assisted therapy legal?
Yes. There are organizations who can provide legitimate psychedelic-assisted therapy in the US.
Which psychedelics are available?
Ketamine is the safest, most reliable, and legal psychedelic currently available.
I have thoroughly vetted two therapeutic ketamine providers, Mindbloom and Polaris. Mindbloom provides at-home guided ketamine sessions with video support. Super convenient, effective and affordable! Alternatively, if you want to work one-on-one with an experienced therapist via a video or in person, I recommend you work with Polaris.
MDMA, Psilocybin, and any other psychedelic you can think of are, for all intents and purposes, still illegal in the United States. For clients who want to work with these substances, we have affiliations with highly vetted providers in locations where these substances have been decriminalized. If you’re willing to take the trip, you’ll get the experience of a lifetime!
Ayahuasca I’ve been leading groups of entrepreneurs to Peru for private ayahuasca retreats since 2010 through my company, Entrepreneurs Awakening. If you’re interested in working with ayahuasca, as part of your coaching program, I will connect you with a highly reputable retreat center in Costa Rica or Peru. I myself will be leading my next retreat when COVID allows. You can learn more about that here.
Is it physically and psychologically safe for me to engage with PaEC?
The provider you choose is responsible for your safety. They will thoroughly screen you for the physical, pharmaceutical, and psychological conditions that would exclude you from working with them. As long as you’re honest during the intake, the risk is minimal.
But I can’t have the company pay for something as controversial as psychedelic therapy, right?
For those who still feel that the use of psychedelics under the supervision of a professional for therapeutic reasons is controversial, we suggest the following strategy: The company pays for the 6-month executive coaching program, and you pay for your work with your psychedelic provider out of pocket.
Will psychedelic therapy cause me to make abrupt changes that I will later regret?
Both your coach and the professional guide who will lead you through your psychedelic therapy session will support you in making wise decisions. In fact, one of our explicit agreements upfront is that you can’t make a life-changing decision during the 10 days following your psychedelic experience. While working with around 70 clients since 2010, I can’t think of a single case where someone made a rash decision they regretted.
Is the psychedelic session a group session or one-on-one?
The psychedelic session is done one-on-one.
Should I wait until I am less busy and stressed?
As you know, when you are a leader, there appears to never be a good time to take a mental or physical break from your duties. Over the years, we have supported clients who were in the middle of a fundraiser, experiencing company-threatening conflicts with the board or a co-founder, or going through a divorce. We have also led clients through the process while they were on sabbatical between companies, and the results weren’t better than those who engaged while on the front line of a firefight. The truth is, there is never a bad time to engage in a psychological reset, emotional healing and spiritual awakening, especially when it only takes a day!
Will I have to miss work?
No. Your experience typically lasts from 2 to 8 hours, depending on the substance.
What’s the difference between Psychedelic-assisted Executive Coaching (PaEC) and the Awake Forward Method?
Psychedelic-assisted Executive Coaching is a name I coined to describe any form of executive coaching that coincides with the use of psychedelics in a therapeutic context. The Awake Forward Method is the specific programmatic approach to PaEC that my team and I provide to ensure that you get the most out of your experience.
Who Benefits the Most from the Awake Forward Method?
Whereas conventional coaching methods struggle to help individuals with the below issues, the Awake Forward Method is exceptionally effective.
When you want to make a personality-level change. For example:
- When you need to change your leadership style from a command-and-control to a delegate-and-empower approach
- When you need to delegate and trust your team to learn from their mistakes, but you are struggling to do so
When distrust or impatience are negatively affecting your decision making. For example:
- When frustration and resentment is impacting your relationship with your co-founders or the board
- When you’re forced to give the CEO role to someone else and then must support the new CEO 110% even if you’re not happy with the change
When your ego is preventing you from doing what is best for the company. For example:
- When your sense of personal identity is tied to your title at the company, and the board or your co-founder wants you to change your role
For significant personal reasons. For example:
- When you are burned out but don’t have time for the kind of vacation that would truly refresh you
- When issues in your personal life are distracting you from being your best at work
- When you feel off course and want to reconnect with your life purpose
Tell me more about Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP)
NLP is a communication toolkit that provides the ability to discover, utilize, and change our programmed thoughts and behaviors, assisting us in having new experiences in life that are more satisfying, fulfilling, and enjoyable. In this short video Carl Bushheit, the founder of the Transformational branch of NLP, explains NLP.
Ready to take your personal and professional development to the next level?
Click here to schedule a discovery call.