Why are more coaches adding Ayahuasca to their tool-kit?

October 15, 2020
“Be the change we wish to see in this world”.

Coaching – a point of leverage

These days, it feels like everyone is looking for a point of leverage, where the potential reward greatly exceeds the effort put in. Without getting too philosophical, points of leverage are generally accepted as a good thing, an indication that value is being created, and that we are progressing collectively.

Points of leverage are not just available “out there” by launching some new technology platform, there are also points of leverage “in here” to accelerate our personal growth.

To a great extent, this is what coaching is all about. Coaches bring wisdom from their own experience, and thus are well-placed to support others facing similar challenges or plateaus.

When coaching is done well, it provides clients more clarity and confidence in their next step, helping them to see that the path is brighter and firmer than they previously imagined. Repeat that process a few times, and the results are transformational – a point of leverage!

Coaches themselves aren’t exactly standing still, either. They are in the business of self-improvement. No surprise then that coaches continue their own personal development, looking for their next point of leverage “in here”, and also to find new ways to add value for their clients “out there”. First on the inside, then on the outside.

Ayahuasca and coaching – leverage on leverage

For the past few years, I’ve been aware that more and more coaches were incorporating Ayahuasca retreats into their own personal development. Again, not particularly surprising when the benefits of plant medicine like Ayahuasca and Psilocybin, proven out by research from leading institutions like John Hopkins, Harvard, NYU, Yale, amongst others.

The science-backed benefits include improvements to cognition, clarity of thinking, purpose, mood, satisfaction, behavior, relationships, personal growth, consciousness development, overall well-being, and quality of life. Something with such profound and wide-ranging improvements is clearly worth exploring.

In research at John Hopkins University, about 50% of participants rated their Psilocybin immersion as “the single most personally and spiritually significant experience of their lives”.

While the above is a powerful quote, it’s worth noting also that Ayahuasca is generally accepted to have even more transformational potential than Psilocybin, although harder to study under our western model given that Ayahuasca is made up of ~463 compounds, rather than a single compound for synthetic Psilocybin, which is what’s used for research.

As a caveat, the decision to work with Ayahuasca and other plant medicines is not to be taken lightly. It provides unparalleled access to the subconscious mind and is challenging work.

As we’ve launched Behold Retreats to facilitate meaningful and memorable plant medicine journeys, we’ve come to recognize that we have deeply aligned interests with the coaching community to “help others be their best”. As a result, we’ve spent the last few months networking more purposefully to understand what’s going on at the intersection of Ayahuasca and Coaching.

Here’s what we’ve found:  

1. Considerably more coaches than we expected are incorporating Ayahuasca into their own personal and professional work.

2. Those who do incorporate Ayahuasca generally participate in one or two retreats per year, taking a week off to do so. We were surprised to understand that even those with families were commonly taking a full week, typically solo.

3. Coaches who introduce Ayahuasca to clients do so by exception, and usually when plateaus have been reached. They typically do so only for those clients they have worked with for considerable time, and only for those who they believe are ready.

4. Coaches who are incorporating this work generally recognize that they are not qualified as “psychedelic integration coaches”, and generally recommend their clients have some additional guidance during this period.

5. A few of the coaches that we spoke to are planning to do some additional training themselves to become integration coaches.

6. Not surprisingly, those who were incorporating Ayahuasca had noticeably less personal branding as part of their coaching business.


It’s also been rewarding to hear that coaches believe in our business model for Behold Retreats, to provide greater confidence regarding safety, quality practitioners, and integration support. We’re interested to continue the conversation, and to hear more from coaches on their perspectives and experiences with plant medicine.

Recognizing the sensitivity of the subject, and that many coaches would prefer to keep confidence on the subject, we have established a private community of coaches who are working with Ayahuasca and other plant medicines to benefit from collective experience, both “in here” and “out there”. If you’d like to join, please reach out.

We’ve entered an interesting phase in our collective evolution, and despite the challenges in this world that are “out there”, it’s an exciting time for coaching and plant medicine, and it’s encouraging to see subtle shifts away from a culture of blame for problems “out there” to one that is focused upon development “in here”.

Gandhi put it succinctly when he encouraged us all to “Be the change we wish to see in this world”.

We are also excited to facilitate retreats with and for coaches over the period ahead. We have a next coach-focused retreat planned for Costa Rica in Feb 2021. If a private or group retreat is of interest to you, please do get in touch.

You can reach me directly by email on Jonathan@behold-retreats.com

A big Aloha to you and your personal and professional growth.

Wishing you a lovely day!

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