Have you seen the film “Miracle”. The movie is the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that won a gold medal against all odds. Early in the story Herb Brooks, the coach of the team (played by Kurt Russell), decides on his team selection at the beginning of the training camp. A few of his collaborators in the process of choosing the team think it is inappropriate and premature to choose the team before the camp participants have had a change to prove themselves. One observes that Brooks hasn’t even chosen the ‘best’ players. Brooks’ answer to this is that he isn’t looking for the best players; he is looking for the players who can work within the system to beat the Russians. It’s interesting how, when we get outside of thinking about how things have always worked, we can create miracles.
In his book “Think and Grow Rich”, Napoleon Hill defines “mastermind” as two or more people who work in perfect harmony for the attainment of a definite purpose. (Interestingly, if we use this definition, a coaching relationship is, in essence, a mastermind.) As Hill describes a mastermind he lists the following benefits:
- You may borrow and use the education, experience, influence and capital of other people
- You can accomplish in one year more than you could accomplish without it in a lifetime
- You can draw freely upon the spiritual forces within you
- You can have absolute protection against failure if your purpose is beneficial to all whom you influence.
After reading this book I was very interested in finding a good mastermind group. To my surprise, about a week later I received a call from a fellow coach who was interested in putting together a mastermind group of dynamic coaches from around North America. That was two years ago and my experience of working with my mastermind group has been truly amazing.
Let me give you some of the reasons why I think our mastermind has been so successful:
- The two people who put it together formed the group with a diverse selection of individuals with very different experiences, abilities, attitudes, and ideas who each came from the same profession. (Please note: there is also great value in having a diversity of professions in a mastermind group.)
- The members of our group do not see each other as competitors and therefore ours is not a situation where we have to be afraid of what we say or have to try to impress each other with what we know.
- We happen to care about each other very much and over time have become a family.
- We allow each other to be uniquely ourselves.
- We support and challenge each other to be all that we can be.
Our mastermind group meets on the telephone once a week for an hour. Approximately every nine months we get together in person. The first time we got together in person we challenged each other to clearly state our business models, goals, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. After my presentation the eight industry leading coaches in the group give me feedback, made suggestions, encouraged my performance and my plan. Within an hour my entire business plan was taken to a new level. In eight subsequent hours I had the opportunity to see the same scenario play out for each of the other group members. Some of the greatest additions to my business plan came from seeing their brilliance, their ideas and being part of brainstorming to make their plans better.
In essence, most professionals already participate in some masterminds; perhaps at a regional conference in a roundtable session or at a local branch meeting or just over the phone, kicking some ideas around with a colleague. I think that it could be very exciting for individuals and their industries if some of the top performers, top thinkers and rising stars could bring their brilliance together to dream, vision and create what could be possible.
In my first mastermind session we shared some personal goals. I shared the goal of wanting to have a business where I was coaching 20 to 25 people. One of the other members of my group shared a goal of coaching a million people that year. You can see the kinds of shifts in thinking that can occur when we get outside of our own limited thinking. One important way that our group supports me is this; if I ask myself any question I will come up with an answer or two. But when I ask that same question of my mastermind group I get many answers. I also get a diversity of answers that often lead me through a thought process that creates even more great answers for me.
Some tips for starting your own mastermind group are:
- Your group could be industry specific
- If it is you might look for different types and calibres of clubs
- And also mangers with different levels of experience
- People you enjoy being with
- Variety in age and gender
- If your group is not industry specific, you might benefit from having members from different disciplines
- It is good to start out with a short term commitment (3 to 6 months)
- Have a consensus about a mission or purpose
- It is a good idea if everyone has a goal or project that is driving their participation
- It is important that each participant have as much desire to contribute as to receive input
- Have a formalized outline of procedures
- Share leadership (rotating facilitator)
- You could hire a facilitator to start the process
Some pitfalls to avoid when forming a mastermind group are:
- One person trying to over-lead or dominate the group
- Alternatively, no leadership is also a pitfall
- Those that need to be right, rather than just being open to others’ ideas
- One person always trying to get their needs met or dominate the agenda
- Becoming a group of friends who get together to chat rather than masterminding on members’ goals
- Having individual members who are not good listeners
Are you ready?
Would you be a good person to be in a mastermind?
Could you create one?
Would you be clear on what you would want to get out of it?
What would be possible if you weren’t limited by your own beliefs?
Clarity Success Coaching
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