There are numerous types of online and local networking and mentoring resources available to people in business including BNI, Meetups, group and individual coaching, chamber of commerce programs, and of course, mastermind groups. The options are many and its important that you understand how each one serves its particular purpose. Today, I want to focus on what a mastermind is and why its structure can really be a benefit to everyone involved.

So let’s ask the experts…

What Exactly is a Mastermind Group?

A co-ordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose. – Napoleon Hill, Think & Grow Rich

…it will have five or six members…you will both give and receive advice… Mastermind groups can also involve brainstorming, educational presentations and even discussing personal issues. They are a “meeting of the minds” in every sense – a place where you can speak the truth and expect it in return.
– Tony Robbins

A mastermind group is made up of people (usually 6 to 8) who come together on a regular basis—weekly, biweekly, or monthly—to share ideas, thoughts, information, feedback, contacts, and resources. – Jack Canfield

A group of smart people meet weekly, monthly … to tackle challenges and problems together. They lean on each other, give advice, share connections and do business with each other when appropriate.
– Forbes

The consensus around the interwebs, even among the not-as-well-known experts, is that mastermind groups are intended to be relatively small and are comprised of people who are at a similar stage in their focus or career. The intimate size allows the group members to serve each other by providing mutual support, differing perspectives, resources, and accountability.

Mastermind groups are not considered networking groups in the traditional sense. There is a deeper connection with mastermind peers. While business collaborations might result, the goal is to place yourself in proximity to people who will listen, advise, and encourage, holding you accountable to do what you say you want to achieve.

Mastermind Groups are Not Traditional Coaching Groups

Mastermind groups are not group coaching events where there is a thought leader responsible for teaching the group. Rather, a mastermind is a group of people, each who bring expertise and influence to the table, and have an interest in the success of everyone at the table, as well as their own.

A mastermind can meet weekly or monthly and typically has an end date. You might meet 6 weeks or 12 months. Sometimes participants pay a facilitator who may or may not participate in the group (again, this isn’t a coach or a mentor, but someone who keeps the mastermind meeting moving). Still, other mastermind groups are free. There is a school of thought that says a person may be more committed to a mastermind group if they are willing to invest in it financially. In many cases, this can be true, but isn’t necessarily how every mastermind group needs to be set up.

Should You Participate in a Mastermind Group?

Participating in a mastermind group requires that you sacrifice some time and energy to participate. It means you’ve committed to a group of people for a series of meetings that can last anywhere from an hour to a half day—sometimes a weekend retreat. It means you’ve committed to a once a week, once a month or a quarterly meeting and that you take seriously the responsibility to attend and participate. Mastermind groups don’t beg their participants to return to the next meeting, they expect to see each participant every time.

Mastermind Structure

The basic structure of a mastermind group meeting includes:

  • Hot seats – Where you get to discuss your plans, strategies and challenges and ask for feedback or resources from your group.
  • Brainstorming – The group provides the opportunity to share knowledge, insights and best practices.
  • Accountability – Members will hold your feet to the fire to do the things you say you will do.

Mastermind groups can have different goals. They don’t have to be about business growth, they can be oriented toward weight loss, writing books, creative industries, parenting or even singles searching for companionship. The mastermind framework is about providing an environment where achieving your goals—no matter what they are—becomes a real possibility because of the resources, advice and accountability available to you in your group.

If you would like more information on how to start your own mastermind group or have an interest in joining one, please reach out to me about your interest.