How Mastermind Groups Work

How do mastermind groups work?

Once upon a time, in the early 1900s, a farmer was driving through the rain in an old Model T. He noticed five men standing by a Lincoln touring car that was stuck in the mud, and decided to help.

At one point, one of the men stepped forward to shake his hand, telling the farmer, “I made the car you’re driving.”

“And I’m the man who made those tires,” added another in the group. 

He then pointed to two of the others, saying, “Meet the man who invented the electric light, and the President of the United States.” 

When the fifth man asked the farmer, “I guess you don’t know me either?” the farmer replied, “No, but if you’re the same kind of liar as these other darn fools, I wouldn’t be surprised if you said you were Santa Claus.”

The farmer’s response was understandable, but what he didn’t realise was that he had inadvertently stumbled upon a Mastermind group: Henry Ford, the automobile mogul, Harvey Firestone, founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Warren G. Harding, US President, Thomas Edison, famed scientist and inventor, and Luther Burbank, respected agriculturist, as they were on their way together to a campsite.

This mastermind group had developed a culture of taking to the road each summer in motor camping caravans.

They spent their camping trips competing in tree chopping and climbing contests. This allowed what Edison called “Nature’s Laboratory” to inspire them to new ideas. They would also sit around the campfire discussing their various scientific and business ventures and debating the pressing issues.

They called themselves “The Vagabonds.”

How do mastermind groups work?

Iron sharpens iron. That’s the basis of mastermind groups. It’s also the reason why behind many successful people is a mastermind group.

Each member of the groups is selected to complement the others and is qualified ahead of joining. Usually, the members are at a similar stage in their business careers and are not in a group with someone who could be a competitor.

Mastermind groups could meet monthly or even yearly. The meetings could be online or virtual. 

At Mastermind9, there are nine non-competing business owners from various range of industries. They’ve all signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

So what happens next? Every month, you’re gonna get together for a half a day with your mastermind group where you’re going to talk about the challenges and opportunities that you’re facing in the business.

In many mastermind groups, the “hotseat” or “spotlight” format is followed, where each member of the group takes a turn being in the “hot-seat” and sharing challenges and ideas with the group for feedback. At the end of their turn, they make a commitment to the group about 1 thing they will accomplish before the next meeting.

The format for the spotlight is:

  1. Present your challenge or opportunity
  2. Questions
  3. Discussion
  4. Action

Mastermind groups format

1. Present your challenge or opportunity

I think we can all agree that business is HARD.

And just as there will always be new challenges, there will also always be new opportunities.

This segment works around the concept of the spotlight. We put you in the spotlight, and give you the opportunity to talk about the challenge or opportunity as you see it. You’ll give people an overview, a bit of background, some context and, possibly, some things that you’ve thought of or tried.

You’ll need to discuss in detail – what it looks like, why it’s affecting you, what you’ve tried to do about it, and the constraints you’re facing. The other members have to pay keen attention without interrupting, commenting, or asking any questions. 

For example, if your challenge is staying consistent with your advertising, you can explain why it’s hard to stay consistent, what you have tried so far and whether it’s worked or not, etc.

By describing the nature of your challenge as vividly as possible, you give the other members a chance to REALLY understand and help you.

2. Questions

In this section, the other members are given a chance to ask the person on the hot seat questions.

These questions are usually open-ended, and preferably not solution-oriented.

It gives the members a chance to understand as well as they can the nature of the problem or opportunity, so that they can form suggestions.

One of the rules at Mastermind9 is that no one speaks twice until everyone has spoken once. We want introverts and extroverts to have equal say. Plus, we don’t want questions to be narrowed down too quickly. We want to keep it broad at this stage.

It gives everyone a chance to speak. And above this, if you know you’ll have to ask a question, you have to pay keen attention to what the person in the hot seat says.

We don’t allow solutions cleverly disguised as questions.

3. Discussion

The discussion segment is where the members of the mastermind group offer solutions to the person in the spotlight. Having fully understood the challenge or opportunity, they are now better suited to speak their mind.

During the discussion at Mastermind9, we usually request the person in the hot seat to turn their camera and mic off.

We do this to remove any bias when people are offering their solutions. This helps o avoid what we say next being influenced by your body language or your turning around and saying, “I’ve done this.”

We just want you to sit there and listen and make notes. This allows us to focus on what other people are saying and what we’re going to advise you to do.

At this point, members are given the chance to tell the person in the hot seat what they really think in terms of the next steps forward. 

Everyone will take turns to go round and impart their wisdom. Again, we follow the same rule – no one speaks twice unless everyone has spoken once.

And there will be gold in what the people in the mastermind say because everyone’s coming at it from a different lens and their own viewpoint.

The really important thing is to not worry about everything that you’ve heard, but to pick the one thing that will move your business forward.

4. Action

There would be no point in any of this if there wasn’t an action point, right?

At this point, we invite you to come back to the room. We encourage you to talk about one thing that you’ve heard that you’re going to take away and implement before the next session.

It’s a takeaway action that may require weeks or even months to implement.

One of the values of a mastermind group is accountability. At the next session, they’ll need to tell the rest of the group what they’ve done so far.

For example, your action point could be to take up a marketing course, or to recruit someone to handle your admin work.

At the next mastermind group session, you will explain to the group that you took the action. Then you explain whether it produced results.


Mastermind groups are super powerful in helping you to achieve your goals in life. As a business owner, I encourage you to leverage this number 1 tool for ultra successful people.

It will equip you with ideas, support, resources and connections, a quick learning curve, and accountability. A mastermind group may just be the ingredient missing in your path to success.

In summary, mastermind groups take the format of:

  1. Present the challenge or opportunity 
  2. Questions
  3. Discussion
  4. Action

We would love to have you join us at our next FREE Mastermind group taster for a practical session! If you are interested, book here, or get in touch with us for any other questions you might have.

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