What IS a Mastermind group?

I’ve been talking a lot about Mastermind groups lately - and then someone asked me,

“But what IS a Mastermind group?”

Which reminded me how easy it is to take for granted that everyone knows what you’re talking about.

So, a Mastermind group is a small group of people who commit to meeting together regularly (whether in person or online) for coaching, and/or to brainstorm ideas, and to offer one another support and accountability.

They can be run by and for a group of peers, or you can join a paid Mastermind, with an experienced coach/facilitator who will organise all the sessions and will often provide further support (in my own groups this includes an online group forum, 1:1 coaching sessions for all members, office hours and the option of getting writing feedback).

Paid groups are normally set up for a fixed period of time (such as three months or one year); groups that are set up by peers are often more open-ended, which can also mean that the make-up of the group changes over time, as some people leave and others join.

Lots of groups get called Masterminds but are actually either group coaching (so, each person is coached in turn by the facilitator and there’s no option for other group members to offer ideas or suggestions) or they’re really an online course with occasional ‘hot seats’. For it to really be a Mastermind, everyone needs to get to speak in every session and the facilitator can’t be the sole person offering coaching/feedback/ideas.

Why would you want to join a Mastermind group?

Well, it’s partly to get that magical effect of many minds coming together (which is the origin of the name, coined by Napoleon Hill, who was talking about the “invisible intangible force” that’s created when two or more minds come together for a common purpose. In effect, you get your own Board of Directors to advise you, plus accountability buddies to keep you on track, and access to other people’s ideas, insights and networks. So really, the question is, why wouldn’t you want to join a Mastermind?