What makes a mastermind group great?
There are so many great benefits to being in a well run (and well attended) mastermind group: including collaboration and connections, support, accountability, training, expert feedback, referrals, resources, and more.
So, what do you need to look for if you’ve decided that being in a mastermind group sounds like the right fit for you and you want to make sure that you’re choosing a really good one? Or maybe you’re wanting to start a mastermind group of your own?
Or maybe you aren’t really sure what a mastermind group is.
A mastermind group is a gathering of like-minded individuals focused on a common purpose.
For example people who are all business owners or all stay at home moms or all parents of teenagers or pet owners or people interested in yoga practice. Something that’s going to bring them together for a like-minded focus.
Facebook groups are not masterminds
Have you ever been in a Facebook group that is supposed to be about one thing and then there’s a whole bunch of group members in there that are talking about other things, or that don’t seem to be aligned with the group?
It starts to dilute the benefits of being in a group. It no longer feels like those are your people. This can be one of the big drawbacks of social media groups, even the private ones.
A well-run mastermind group is curated
There will be a facilitator that monitors who is in the group, helps focus the content, and encourages participation and attendance.
For instance, the Business Accelerator Mastermind group has a mix of creative freelancers and solopreneurs – mostly photographers, graphic designers, illustrators, web designers. These are not agency owners. These are people who are doing the work, who are the creatives, who are making the images and doing the designs and writing the copy and setting out the content strategies. These are freelance creatives.
If you’re a photographer or designer, you might think that being in a mastermind group with other photographers and designers would be a terrible idea. Lots of people think that if there are people in the group that have the same career, focus, or industry, that it’s going to create competition or it’s going to result in ideas being stolen or some kind of negative experience within that group.
In a really well run mastermind, people in the same industry are not in competition. They are in collaboration.
A really well run mastermind has like-minded people. People who are interested in growth, who are all about building their business or living a self-fulfilled life. They come together more as colleagues or peers rather than competitors. Those are the kinds of people you want to hang with.
Mastermind Groups have clear frameworks
The next thing that is kind of essential to having a successful mastermind group is that it is consistent when it meets. While there is no ideal frequency for successful mastermind groups, my personal preference is for at least every two weeks.
I propose to you that a mastermind is about goals and results created within a community of support. Having a structure or some kind of a framework for consistency in terms of when you meet and to ensure that each member has equal opportunity to contribute to the growth of the other members.
Again, most social media groups are always open with a ‘come when you want’ policy and don’t really have any structure for accountability or to help you build consistent habits. If you don’t meet consistently, you lose some of the benefit of momentum and of structure and accountability.
A framework or structure helps ensure consistency and equal contribution.
The purpose is to leverage the whole group
A great mastermind group leverages the power of the whole group so that you can be getting brainstorming and feedback and ideas and referrals and connections from everybody, not just from one source.
If the mastermind group that you’re considering looks more like it has a leader who’s training or coaching all the time, that’s less likely to be a mastermind group and more along the lines of group coaching or group training.
Both are great! Group coaching is a fantastic way to learn and is often a component of a great mastermind group. And having an expert available to guide you and offer their insight and feedback has huge value too!
The real difference in being in a mastermind group comes from the power of the group.
If you don’t have a structure for equal contribution within the meeting, some people can be contributing way more than others and not be getting enough back. Or others might be dominating the meetings with endless asks and never really giving back. Or people could be flaky and only show up when they need something and not show up to contribute to other people.
Making sure each person has a voice, each person has an opportunity to both be a contribution and to receive contributions from the group, it takes work and it takes skilled facilitation.
A great mastermind group has a great facilitator
It was one of the key differences that I learned when I did my studying with one of the top mastermind teachers in North America. When I was studying with him, I learned how to be someone who holds the space and creates the framework and the structure for a successful mastermind meeting. This was very different from the work that I’m used to doing and have many, many years of experience in doing as a trainer and as a coach.
The work of creating framework and consistency also means making sure the group stays focused, that they stay on track with the original promise of coming together. If you are meeting together to work on your business, you don’t want to get too distracted with things that don’t align with that goal. After all, this is an investment of your time and energy.
A great mastermind facilitator also manages the time and makes sure that each person is having an experience of being part of the group. They set the tone, maintain confidentiality and code of conduct agreements. They lay the foundation for an environment that is safe for authentic and vulnerable growth.
That person pretty much has a full time role. They aren’t a participant.
If you’re considering a mastermind group that doesn’t have a designated facilitator, you might want to look at whether or not that’s going to give you the kind of consistency and framework and structure that’s going to support you to get the results that you want from being in that group.
The work happens between mastermind meetings
Any kind of coaching, whether it’s a group coaching or whether it’s a mastermind group or private one-to-one coaching, there’s a lot that happens in the sessions. A lot of value happens in the sessions. A lot more of the value happens between the sessions.
A great mastermind group has a place for the community to connect outside of the meetings to leverage the relationships that they’ve made.
If you meet someone in your mastermind group, how are you going to stay connected with them? How could you get to know them better and maybe create partnerships or affiliate relationships or get supported on one of your projects? Having a place where you can come together as a community and be able to interact is really great.
A lot of mastermind groups choose Facebook to host their groups and host their communities, which can work. However, if you were a part of the great blackout of 2021, when Facebook and Instagram went down for several hours and people panicked, you’ll be really familiar with that feeling of anxiety around what happens if Facebook just deletes your group?
I have someone in my community who had a Facebook group of 800 people, and she got locked out of Facebook and lost her entire community because she wasn’t able to get logged back in again. If you are in a Facebook group community for your mastermind, I really encourage you to see if there’s a way for you to create community outside of Facebook.
We use an app called Slack and that allows all of the members to communicate in private and fully confidential. Facebook will never get access to it. It will never be public out there in the world.
It’s a way for you to message back and forth. Connect with people, do co-working get accountability or support partners. It’s been one of the most valuable aspects of being a part of the BAM Fam community – that ability to connect in between the meetings and really leverage those deep relationships that come from when you support each other in doing something big in the world.
Finally, I’ve talked about having a trained facilitator and someone who’s a dedicated facilitator… having a host that you resonate with, who has the energy and capacity to create the kind of experience that you really thrive in… that is a critical piece to having a successful experience in your mastermind group.
I’d love to hear from you. Did I miss anything? Are there aspects of being in a mastermind group that you think are really important that I haven’t touched on?