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    What Is A Mastermind Group

    10th April 2017

What Is A Mastermind Group

What Is A Mastermind Group – How do they work

Our definition starts with debunking the myths and the misconceptions around exactly what is a mastermind group and what it should be. We will also cover exactly what they are not (or how they shouldn’t be set up) plus some of the key elements of what a successful mastermind group should be doing.

Definition:  A statement of the exact meaning of a word, especially in a dictionary.

“An alliance of two or more minds working in perfect harmony for the attainment of a common definite objective” Napoleon Hill #mastermindsClick To Tweet

Napoleon Hill introduced the phrase into the common lexicon when he published his seminal book Think And Grow Rich in 1937. From there the phrase seemed to resonate with a lot of people and he is often quoted as the “founder” of the mastermind concept. This is not quite accurate as there have been similar mastermind groups throughout history, where peers arrange to meet and discuss topics ranging from art to politics to business – they just weren’t always labeled as a “mastermind”

mastermind group WHAT IT IS NOT:

A Mastermind group is not:-

  • Coaching – Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training, advice, and guidance. Whilst a Mastermind group may incorporate elements of coaching within the framework – it’s more collaborative as you ask your peers for advice, suggestions and feedback on something that you are having problems with.
  • Rote Learning – Rote learning is a memorization technique based on repetition. The idea is that one will be able to quickly recall the meaning of the material the more one repeats it. Rote learning is done mainly in schools and is NOT suitable to a Mastermind. This style does not allow for any flexibility, be adaptive or get different perspectives.
  • A Course – A set of classes or a plan of study on a particular subject, usually leading to an exam or qualification – Similar to coaching, a Mastermind group can utilise certain aspects of a specific topic or subject matter to enhance learning. The end object is not to pass an exam or qualification but to adapt skills and techniques to the individual if applicable.
  • A webinar – Short for Web-based seminar, a webinar is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web using video conferencing software. Although software is used to facilitate a virtual mastermind the key difference is that groups are working together and sharing equal time within the meeting, not being presented to or there just to absorb the information presented.
  • A Presentation – A speech or talk in which a new product, idea, or piece of work is shown and explained to an audience. Occasionally (is the key word here) Masterminds will incorporate a presentation into a group to help dive deeper into a specific topic or get a better understanding of information.
  • Q & A Session – A basic questions and answers –Questions and Answers are a great way of finding solutions to information you have received. Sometimes you can ask a question and get 7 different answers. Generally Masterminds are for action takes, so using the phrase from Tim Ferris we prefer to call it Questions and Actions.
  • One Way Dialogue – Information presented by just 1 person with everyone listening. A one way flow of information becomes dull pretty quickly – no matter how interesting the subject matter.
  • Fixed or Static agendas – People love variety so a good active functional group should be constantly evolving and changing. Introducing new concepts, agendas and always looking to improve on the existing framework.
  • Facebook Group – Despite many groups being called masterminds they are NOT. Posting a question online and getting written answers (or in some cases no answer) often misses out on verbal interaction, intentions and ability to question both the answer or get a more detailed clarification. Sometimes the person providing the answer has a vested interest in that particular product or service. When you re-read the Napoleon Hill definition Facebook Mastermind Groups – clearly don’t meet this key criteria.

mastermind groupWHAT IT IS:

A successful Mastermind group is:-

Collaborative (Realtime) – You get answers and feedback on the things that most matter to you. You get help and support on what’s most important and specific to your needs.  Not some generic information that may not apply to your current situation.

Supportive – Members love to help others and are therefore willing to offer their time, expertise and assistance wherever possible.  They are addicted (in a nice way) to the dopamine that is released when they see others succeed.

Inclusive – The group is never about the individual but a combined effort to support each other and celebrate the wins and achievements collectively. Each member is given the same amount of time to ask for and offer advice.

Dynamic – Although it may follow a set agenda initially, the flow of each meeting is dynamic and therefore no 2 sessions are ever the same. The mastermind groups are constantly evolving over time and adapting to new ideas and principals. As groups build deeper trust and understanding of each other’s needs and wants, the nature of the group will change.

Flexible – There are many ways to inject different elements into your group to keep it fresh and interesting. Some of the What It Is Not list above can be incorporated into your meetings on an adhoc basis to stimulate both fresh ideas but also new learning skills and techniques. It’s easy to fix what is right (do more of it) and what is not working (stop doing it)

Unique – No 2 mastermind groups are ever the same. When you join it its leap of faith initially, but it often takes a few weeks to work out the group dynamics and if the type of personality and group vibe is the right one for you. If not, then just find another one that closer matches what you want out of the group and how you can also help a group.


Hopefully you now know what a mastermind group is and what is should be doing. Whilst there may be some interchangeable elements from the NOT list like some Q&A, a special presenter, minimal coaching when needed. As a general rule the majority of successful mastermind groups are run using many of the principals from the WHAT IT IS category.

If you feel that you might be a good fit for a Mastermind group then check out our list of groups you could join.