You are in good company if you haven’t heard of a mastermind group.  Unless you are an entrepreneur, business owner, or coach, you may not yet have heard about this powerful forum for career development, connection, and accountability.

In a nutshell, a mastermind group is a forum of like-minded people with some professional interests in common, but also offers a diversity of perspectives and, ultimately, a supportive environment in which to grow.  

Mastermind groups have become popular amongst business owners and entrepreneurs to build connections, solve problems, and achieve ambitious goals in a group setting.  Typically, this professional track can be a little isolating, and a mastermind group has become an effective way to overcome that while focusing on one’s own unique business goals.

But today, the concept of the mastermind group is expanding outside the space of business ownership and into other spaces.  

While the roots of the mastermind group grew out of the space of business owners and entrepreneurs, a group can be formed for any population that has a common professional challenge in front of them.  (Think leaders charged with launching a significant change, newly promoted leaders, or individuals who wish to prepare themselves for a certain level of management.)

What’s it like to be part of a mastermind group?

A mastermind group is pre-vetted to ensure a balance of common interests and diverse perspectives.  By virtue of making the commitment and investment in oneself, a very positive, supportive, and trusting environment comes about.  

Unlike a group of direct peers or a workplace team, a mastermind group offers the trust that comes from a confidential environment where people care for your wellbeing but have no vested interest in a particular outcome.  As a result, a mastermind group tends to be a space where you can share very openly what your challenges are while benefiting from the insights of people who share an experience with you

What is a typical meeting like?

Meetings can range in duration and frequency, and that will factor into what is covered in a meeting.  Meetings may consist of training content that helps anchor a discussion or supports the overall remit of the mastermind group.  The meetings typically have time allotted for each member to raise a topic on which they would like input, and the rest of the group offers support and suggestions.  And some meetings also provide the opportunity for members to share their goals for the coming month, as well as a space to provide updates on those goals, thus creating a forum of accountability. 

What does it cost?

Mastermind group costs can range in price and may even be free of charge.  Factors that inform cost may be the extent to which training is offered as part of the program, whether the group meets in person in a public meeting space, refreshments or supplies, etc.  Creating some sort of membership fee tends to garner commitment from participants and may, therefore, raise the quality of participation.  

How does one join or start a mastermind group?

Finding a relevant mastermind for your needs can be a challenge because they are often created out of personal networks.  Start with yours to see if anyone has something started or is interested in joining one, alongside your efforts to find groups via social media and online searches.

If you are interested in starting a mastermind group, there is a short but useful book on the topic you may want to check out Mastermind Group Blueprint by Tobe Brockner.

The main things to consider are:

  • Identifying the focus of your group
  • Selecting participants who will contribute to the kind of environment you wish to create
  • Determining a frequency, duration, and meeting structure/agenda that appeals to participants
  • Deciding whether or not the group will include some sort of training.  (This typically is offered by mastermind leaders who also possess relevant expertise to the group.  But there can be other ways to weave in training into meetings.)

Why is now a good time to consider joining or forming a mastermind group?

 We are in unusual times.  People are seeking to connect with one another after a long period of isolation.  And the Great Resignation has created, for many, opportunities for new roles, promotions, or role expansions.  A mastermind group is a unique way to foster connections while focusing on one’s professional development and rise to the challenge of a job change, new initiative, or another special professional goal.  

Wendy Hultmark, ACC, CPC, is a leadership coach who helps women rise above and reach new heights. Learn more at www.wendyhultmark.com