Unlocking Subjectivity with Universal Methods

In order to promote relations that foster change, I apply ancient and modern maps of the mind. Most of these stem from being a spiritual student in various wisdom traditions (e.g., the Diamond Approach, Mahamudra, and the Arica school) for a couple of decades, but psychotherapy research has also offered a unique laboratory for examining how people and groups change. In concert, this sum total of various tools and relational technologies adopted from the Amazon jungle, Ancient Greece, perennial philosophy, modern psychotherapy, and leadership research is what orchestrates my current role as an expert leadership consultant and executive coach. This website is designed to showcase some of these tools, but as my master thesis at INSEAD concluded: Tacit knowledge is not transmitted, but must be co-created within a real relationship. I feel privileged to assist leaders (and organizations) in their daily work of fostering a culture enabling such essential processes to take place, as they constitute most of the value stored in each organization, and its constituents.

I am an expert in enabling knowledge creation in organizations—in my opinion, leadership is concerned with the emergence of new patterns of thinking and knowing, that is, with joint exploratory learning. Click here to explore the foundation of my coaching philosophy. My Executive Master in Change at INSEAD explored how tacit knowledge is transmitted in organizations. In essence, my conclusion, after 21 years of working, researching, and educating myself, is that change processes stem from a successful cultural transmission/co-creation. In its most “extreme” version—which constitutes 40% of the effectiveness of medical practices—the co-called placebo effect, is a result of the individual feeling connected to a culturally accepted healing process (healing myth/ritual). However, the change fostered by psychotherapy, meditation, piano lessons, or adequate parenting, produces its most lasting impact when the teacher succeeds in being a cultural fountainhead that enables the co-creation of cultural knowledge with each individual. Such processes are at core of every organization, and being skilful at understanding human interactions (mentalization) becomes an essential framework and foundation to enable this.

I have spent a couple of decades developing my competence to promote transformative relationships within organizations. Our psyche—including the unconscious, our emotions, and our different parts—is a complex landscape to navigate. Theoretical physicist Richard Feynman once stated, “Imagine how much harder physics would be if electrons had feelings.” As Head of Quality Lab for Psychotherapy for a decade, I helmed affairs for flourishing therapists’ level of skill and adherence to psychodynamic therapy by delivering tailored feedback. I also served as an actor on the international research stage in liaison with Anna Freud Centre, and the multiple architects of Mentalization-based treatment (MBT). In parallel, I worked as a clinical psychologist at Oslo University Hospital—with both groups and individuals. This phenomenological fountainhead was the backbone of my doctorate, which contributed to the field of how to best cultivate relationships that foster growth. I have published several articles in international journals challenging the current paradigm in psychotherapy research: The division between those advocating specific techniques, and those championing the mere importance of the relationship. Attempting to bridge this schism, my PhD thesis was titled “Measuring MBT—A marriage of the common and specific psychotherapy factors”. 

As an executive coach, my goal is to promote individual development, delivering top-notch consultancy services, and challenging client’s maladaptive patterns of relating, thinking, and interpreting other’s intentions. 

As a leadership consultant, one of my key responsibilities is to steer individual’s inner terrain in accordance with both ancient and modern maps of the psyche while inhabiting the lived experience of others. I deliver hands-on assistance to groups and individuals in interpreting both formal and informal roles and resolving tasks pertinent for the larger organism. 

I do not divide between spiritual and psychological work. Hence, I sometimes offer psychotherapy, and am currently leading a self-developmental group. Contact me if you are looking for such possibilities—and what you read on this page resonates with you.


Executive & Team Coach | Leadership consultant | Researcher

I offer systemic coaching to help organizations optimize, and change (overcome their resistance to change).

  • Empower people to change by fostering their willingness and capacity for adaptive behavior.

  • Skillfully and strategically challenge client’s maladaptive patterns of relating, thinking, and interpreting other’s intentions.

  • Inhabit the lived experience of others and navigate their inner terrain according to both ancient and modern maps of the psyche.

  • Helping groups and individuals to take on, and understand, both formal and informal roles, and solve tasks relevant for the larger organism they are part of.

  • As tacit knowledge is not transferred, but co-created (the major finding from my master thesis at INSEAD), one of my key roles is to participate in a group or organization to assist them in knowledge creation.

  • Learning from, and tailoring a broad range of strategies to, each client—while at the same time mapping out, and communicating the lessons learned, to an international, scientific audience.


    Click here to read my coaching philosopy—developed over a decade, and particularily influenced by my professors at INSEAD. You can read more about me here.



✅ Expert Leadership Consultant: Promoting individual development and coaching, delivering top-notch consultancy services, and challenging client’s maladaptive patterns of relating, thinking, and interpreting other’s intentions.

✅ Track record of facilitating problem resolutions, and cultivating trust-based relationships with customers/clients.

✅ History of performing in-depth analysis, fostering change, assessing needs, solving complex problems, designing, developing, and delivering workshops, informational material, and special programs to meet community needs.

✅ Adept at driving individuals’ collaboration, coaching dynamic staff, and identifying and meeting unique client needs.

✅ Articulate and refined communicator; prudent in providing workable business solutions, cultivating robust working relationships, and negotiating profitable contracts.

✅ Excellent communication, collaboration, and client service management skills along with capability to design and reflect back the desired outcomes aligned with actionable solutions.

✅ Diligent leader and resourceful team builder with robust skills in dealing and collaborating effectively with all levels of organization, customers, and internal and external stakeholders.

✅ Challenged client’s maladaptive patterns of relating, thinking, and interpreting other’s intentions by utilizing strong professional expertise.

✅ Facilitated organizations in promoting and adapting change by delivering high-level systemic coaching.

✅ Created various strategies and planned and communicated the lessons learned to international audiences.

Reach out if you want to talk to me about productive and long-term operations. I enjoy meeting new people and hearing new perspectives that challenge my paradigm. If your organization is looking for an accomplished, creative, and determined consultant with an affinity for any tech, financial, or any sector, we should connect! Feel free to call me or connect via email at espen.folmo@insead.edu.

Language and location: I work in both Norwegian and English and am currently based in Oslo, Norway.

As a professional coach, counselor, and university instructor, I strive to facilitate change in organizations, individuals, and groups. I focus on helping clients build their capacity to create culture and strengthen healing/transformative relationships. In addition to providing team and executive coaching and consulting services, I also supervise other executive coaches.

I have been teaching at the university level since 2011, have supervised many Master's students, and am a frequent speaker at international conferences. If you are a student interested in collaborating on your Master's thesis, you can view a list of potential projects here.

I have worked as a consultant for Human Content (specializing in personality and ability assessment) and AS3, and have been regularly coaching executives since 2018. From 2014 to 2022, I served as Head of the Quality Lab for Psychotherapy at the Norwegian National Advisory Unit, where I was responsible for evaluating the adherence and quality of Mentalization-based treatment (MBT), an evidence-based approach for treating borderline personality disorder. In 2020, I co-wrote a book on MBT with Professor Sigmund Karterud and Mickey Kongerslev, published by Gyldendal. I also provided clinical psychologist services (including both group and individual therapy) at Oslo University Hospital from 2013 to 2021.

To facilitate transformative relationships, I use ancient and modern maps of the mind, drawing on my decades-long spiritual studies in various wisdom traditions (e.g., the Diamond Approach, Mahamudra, and the Arica school) and psychotherapy research. As a leadership consultant and executive coach, my goal is to promote individual development, deliver top-notch consultancy services, and challenge clients' maladaptive patterns of relating, thinking, and interpreting others' intentions.

As a leadership consultant, my primary focus is to guide individuals' inner terrain according to both ancient and modern maps of the psyche while navigating the outer terrain of the organization. My goal is to create a culture that enables the co-creation of cultural knowledge and the emergence of new patterns of thinking and knowing. I believe that leadership is about joint exploratory learning and that change processes stem from successful cultural transmission and co-creation. I have published several articles challenging the current paradigm in psychotherapy research and have worked closely with Harvard Professor Leigh McCullough on the PROCMAP research project.

I hold an Executive Master in Change and INSEAD Coaching Certificate from INSEAD, a psychology degree from the University of Oslo, and a journalism degree from the Oslo Metropolitan University. I have also completed the MIT Sloan Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership, with a focus on blockchain technology, AI, and the Internet of Things. I have studied algorithmic trading at Oxford and, as a medical student (2000-2002), received a research fellowship from the Norwegian Cancer Society and worked as a health educator.

My interests range from business psychology to Baroque music, blockchain to Buddhism. In my spare time, I enjoy classical guitar, chess, and running. I was a student of associate professor Geir-Otto Nilsson from the age of 9, a soloist in Joaquin Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez" at 21, and have studied music (classical guitar) at the Norwegian Academy of Music. I was also a finalist in the Norwegian youth championship for 400 meters. You can read more about me here.

What is Blockchain?

Bitcoin and Blockchain – A New Backbone for Human Trust

MBT – Gyldendal

MBT Mentaliseringsbasert terapi av Sigmund Karterud, Espen Folmo og Mickey Kongerslev, Gyldendal

Mentalizing and MBT

A movie about Mentalization-based treatment (MBT) featuring Anthony Bateman and Espen Folmo
LOOK UP

LOOK UP

LOOK UP — The science of cultural evolution