Author, speaker, ENTREPRENEUR, Coach, and Consultant
COACHES, MENTORS, ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERS, AND MASTERMIND PARTNERS – Recently, I was discussing with someone how much value I received from my Mastermind Partners from one of my more recent training seminars. The group of us were paired up early in the program to work together as we labored to earn our certification for the Jack Canfield, Train The Trainer certification, which took place over a year ago. Once we completed the certification program, we decided to keep our core group of people together and have been partners for almost a year and a half now.
Previously years ago, at my first full-immersion seminar, also conducted by Jack Canfield, I found myself partnered up with a great group of people in that Mastermind Group as well and they opened the door to great suggestions and synergies that I never would have expected. These two experiences have convinced me that I will always work to have at least one Mastermind Group operating at all times. The value of these groups, if they are conducted correctly is immeasurable.
Getting back to the conversation, it was very obvious to me that the person I was talking to did not grasp the difference of a Mastermind Partner versus a Mentor, or an Accountability Partner versus a Coach. Recognizing that the relations between the groups are not as obvious as I assumed, I broke it down for them.
After recognizing this was not a common understanding for many people, I asked a group of clients and friends if it would be valuable to write about this and got a resounding “Yes”. For today, I won’t have try to explain all 4 categories, as I also want to share some best practices as well. So, we will just focus on a Mastermind Group today, then check back in the next few days for insights on Accountability Partners, Coaches, and Mentors.
A Mastermind group could be for a designated purpose, such a training program, like the one I referenced earlier. However, it can certainly be used for other considerations as well. For instance, since we completed our training requirements, we have now begun the process of embarking on our coaching and consulting careers. Since we are all working on similar things at the same time, the value of working together to share best practices is significantly valuable. Things such as how to set up our LLC’s, how we are managing our accounting efforts, what our focus will be on, how any supporting projects may be coming along, our marketing efforts, or even working together on related projects.
Beyond these uses, we also hold each other accountable, since we have rather close relationships, we help each other stay on task from week to week and even challenge ourselves on our own crap. Success Principle # 1 is “100% Responsibility”, this is not easy to hold yourself to all the time, especially when things get tough. Having a group of like-minded people who will call you out when you need it is advantageous, particularly if you really want to get things done!
We also have the unique advantage of different life experiences as entrepreneurs and business owners, as well as careers in the business world. This knowledge is helpful to draw on in coming up with new ideas or for expanding our businesses, increasing sales, looking for new opportunities, and recognizing potential challenges and concerns. A effective Mastermind group is much like a having added business partners or coaches.
Here are some tips on how to manage a Mastermind call – you can pick and choose those items which your group prefers and remove what doesn’t resonate with your group, but know these are proven tactics and using something similar will be important to ensure the integrity of the calls and process.
* A group should consist of at least 4 and no more than 8 people, ideally 5 to 6 seems to be the sweet spot.
* A call should be scheduled at least bi-weekly. I personally like weekly as schedules can be difficult to coordinate and if you miss a call 1 of 4 weeks, you still feel like you can contribute. I know of groups who go monthly, which could work for some, but seems too far between to maintain flow.
* Call times, should ideally be an hour, I have partaken in calls of 90 minutes, which if it works for the group is my preference, depending on the number of people. However, being cognizant of everyone’s time is important to keep getting people to show up.
* You must have rules or guidelines on what you are willing to accept, such as how many calls you can miss, who will run the calls, timing activities, etc. These all become important for consistency and to ensure everyone has a voice in what will work for them – Remember a Mastermind group is only good if most everyone shows up each week.
Steps to run and effective Mastermind call:
1. Take time to show gratitude, for some groups this may be a prayer, for others this may be simply taking the time to ask for a productive meeting. I have even had someone take time to thank the group or an individual for insight or guidance provided in a previous call. This is key to reminding everyone how important our comments can be and the value of staying engaged.
2. Take time to review and ground rules as necessary (especially early on as a routine is being developed), also consider any housekeeping or good for the group topics.
3. Take a few minutes to discuss what is new and good in your world, this needs to be timed and should me managed closely. Often, people can get lengthy and not leave enough time for others. This is usually like 2 to 3 minutes per person.
4. Next, you will share your “Ask” of the group. This is what you may be struggling with and would like feedback or insight on from the group. Make certain to allow ample time for feedback. A good guideline is 2 to 3 minutes for the “Ask” and 3 to 5 minutes for insight. If someone needs more time or has other ideas, they can catch up after the call 1-on-1.
a. If someone has a “Big Ask”, they can contact the group ahead of time and see if anyone is willing to share their time or if everyone is somewhat in related fields of topics, this
may be the topic of the whole call. Just remember, never assume this is OK, and always ask first.
5. Finally, after everyone has shared their “Ask” and received feedback, you should be closing in on the end of the call. Ensure that you finish at the intended time, being considerate of people’s schedules, and finish with another opportunity to be grateful. Don’t disregard the value of this activity, getting the feedback that someone’s idea or insight was very valuable could be what keeps that person coming back. Remember the value of the process in the collective insights of the whole group, meaning you need everyone there each week contributing.
Well, there you have it, I hope you found this valuable. I encourage anyone who has not used this process to try it. If you have work groups that you feel is similar, don’t judge this concept on that unless it is run similarly. This is a collective group of volunteers, not people who have to work together, but people who choose to mastermind together. Trust me, the experience is significantly different and can be very valuable. Success is a team sport, who’s on your team?
Eric Whitmoyer: Entrepreneur, Consultant, Speaker, Coach and Author
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