Mastermind “Hot Seat” Guide

How to Run a “Hot Seat” for a Mastermind Group

What is a Mastermind Hot Seat?

The Hot Seat is where you get to be in the spotlight, and the group spends the majority of the session focusing on you and the particular problems or issues you are facing.  It’s where they harness all their wisdom, experience and knowledge to help you. It’s one of the most valuable parts of being in a Mastermind, so we encourage you to participate fully to get the maximum benefits.

How Does it Work?

Select the person who will go into the spotlight and a set amount of time. E.G., 20 minutes for one member of the Tribe (often on a regular basis)—you can even set up a Hot Seat schedule to follow. The allocated person then talks about a specific goal, a current challenge they are facing, and a desired outcome or clarity around the support required. The remainder of the Tribe then offers advice, suggestions, recommendations, resources or specific help if they can contribute.

How do I know if I’m ready?

Good question. First, you need to be comfortable with the group, as you’ll be sharing information that you may not have shared with anyone else before. You need to be able to handle a little tough love, and the problem needs to be important enough to you that you genuinely want it solved.

Example: If you have a particular project or process on which you are stuck. Maybe something that you have been putting off for several weeks, mentally putting it in the “too hard basket.” This is the ideal opportunity to start, with the help of others.

I Think I’m Ready for the Hot Seat! Great! Here is how you get the most out of the session…

How to Get the Most Out of the Hot Seat

Secure Your Spot

Ask the group if you can be the person in the Hot Seat for the next session.  Contact the group and give them warning that you’d like to be featured and the basic agenda of you want to discuss (The initial notes you made earlier)—This helps them prepare and think of answers in advance which can dramatically improve the quality of advice you’ll receive.

Prepare in advance

Write down the questions or specific topic you want to discuss. Provide some background and any context required, so the answers you receive are relevant, and you are less like to receive advice you’ve already tried. Maximize Your Time in the Spotlight.

What to Discuss

Using a similar formula to the habit (Stop, Start, Keep), focus on three different areas:

  1. What’s working (Keep) – Consider strategies or services that are currently working (less important)
  2. What’s not working (Stop) – What are the current roadblocks or challenges you are facing?
  3. What would you like to achieve (Start) – What do you need help with? Ideas, suggestions or practical advice on starting something with which you are unfamiliar.

Watch Your Ego

You may receive advice with which you don’t agree and may be inclined to defend yourself. Here is why you need to resist that temptation: You want real opinions, not what you think you want to hear. By avoiding being either defensive or reactive to criticism, you’ll gain new perspectives and allow your tribe to contribute fully. Otherwise, your tribe may be less willing to share advice with you in the future.

Be Open and Frank

By being vulnerable, you’ll create more space for improvement. Masterminds are deeper, more caring, community-orientated spaces, so you need to drop all pretenses (everything is hunky dory) and open up about the real issues and problems with which you need help. If you want to achieve real growth, share the innermost fears and frustrations you are facing.

Actively take notes

Don’t rely on anyone else to take notes for you. When other are offering advice, notes will help you reflect later on. Sometimes it may be information you already knew or have heard before, which is fine because it can help you validate your initial idea and know you are on the right path. Once you have information that is useful, take action!

Be Gracious

Remember to thank the group for all of their suggestions. All of it may not have been useful—or even actionable—but it’s come from a group of people that have your best interest at heart, so try to remember that.

The Hosts Responsibility

The host has a responsibility here to keep the Hot Seat member focused. This ensures that everyone can fully understand the problem and what contribution they can make. Make the group aware that it’s not about judging the person or their goals, but rather about being focused on their best interests, and the outcomes that can be achieved.

TIP: Set up a schedule of who will be in the Hot Seat and in when so you all know in advance.