Category Archives: Mastermind Group Facilitation

What Really Happens in a Mastermind Group Meeting? Come, Peek Inside One

Are you curious about what REALLY happens inside a mastermind group meeting with all that creative brainstorming and accountability?

An explosion of excitement and ideas rocked a seemingly innocent hotel conference room a few months ago. Over a two-hour span, local business owners learned how to mastermind together. For many it was their first experience being in the Hot Seat and getting help from a mastermind group.

Here’s what participants said to me afterwards:

  • It was incredibly freeing, to share my ideas with the group.
  • I learned from everyone, even when it wasn’t my turn in the Hot Seat.
  • I got so many great ideas, I ran out of paper to take notes.
  • Absolutely eye-opening… I have a whole new insight into a problem that’s been keeping me up at night.

Join me for a free Taste of a Mastermind Group! (You’re going to love eavesdropping on these mastermind Hot Seats.)

In this one-hour mastermind group session, three people will be on the “Hot Seat,” bringing their challenges, questions and idea needs to the group.

This particular mastermind group session will be about running and growing a business, so it will be extra helpful to those of you who are self-employed small business owners. (But even personal and professional development mastermind groups are run the same way, so this is a great chance to peek inside a group meeting and see the inner workings.)

This will be an All-Content-No-Selling teleconference.

You can be assured that our focus will be solely on the Hot Seats and watching a mastermind group in action.

Join me on Monday, November 16 at 2:00 p.m. eastern/11:00 a.m. pacific

Come and see behind-the-curtain into a real mastermind group meeting!

Experience the power of mastermind groups for yourself by attending this free mastermind group session.

Yes, the call will be recorded. If you can’t attend live, register anyway, and I’ll send you a link to the recording of the meeting.

Register here:

If you’ve been curious what a mastermind group meeting is all about, or if you want to see how I run them with my own groups, please join us!

Do Mastermind Group Members Need to be in the Hot Seat Every Time?

People always ask me: Is it a true mastermind group if people don’t get to be in the Hot Seat at every meeting?

I believe the key indicator of a “true mastermind group” is that each person gets to be in the Hot Seat at every meeting (or every other meeting) and the entire group masterminds/brainstorms with that person.

In some groups, especially very large ones, it’s more like a group coaching program than a mastermind group: one person is in the Hot Seat, the mentor/coach does laser coaching with that person, and all the other people sit silently and observe. In a true mastermind group, everyone gets involved in the conversation. That’s the power of peer brainstorming!

The strongest value a member gets out of being in a group is the chance to be in the Hot Seat.

When the member gets to pose his problem or question, it forces him to gain clarity about what help he’s really asking for. Then, having a small group of people brainstorm around that problem/question brings huge amount of creativity to the process. The person in the Hot Seat walks away with many more ideas and solutions than he could generate on his own. That’s why people come to mastermind groups.

Imagine that you have one meeting a month, but your group is so large that only half can be in the Hot Seat each month. That means each member gets a turn every two months. I can’t see how they’d find enough value to pay for a group where they’re only getting in the Hot Seat every other month. (In this case, consider running your group every 2 weeks so that members of a large group can get in the Hot Seat more often during the month.)

Is listening enough?

It’s true: there’s lots of value that members get from listening to all the ideas and solutions generated for others. I often watch a table full of group members furiously taking notes during someone else’s Hot Seat. But those ideas are tangental to their own personal situation.

Listening to someone else’s Hot Seat is like standing under an apple tree and hoping an apple will fall just when you want one. Being in the Hot Seat is like climbing a ladder and plucking an apple — just the right apple — when it’s the perfect time to eat an apple.

One solution is to reduce the time for each Hot Seat. I’ve seen people get a lot of value out of 10 minute Hot Seats. The trick is for the person in the Hot Seat to take one a minute or two to describe his situation. Otherwise, too much time is taken talking about the challenge or need, and not enough time is spent brainstorming ideas.

It’s not masterminding if there’s no peer brainstorming in every meeting. Otherwise it’s really group coaching, or a combo of group coaching plus training, that’s being called a mastermind group.

How to Help a Floundering Member

Is your group member or student struggling in your program? Are they falling short to the point that they’re dropping out?

Unfortunately, you will run into these problems during the course of a extended program, whether it’s a mastermind group, educational program, or mentoring program.

Any program designed to help people make changes in their personal or professional lives has the same challenge: change and growth is hard. It’s likely that your group members will hit a brick wall at some point during the time you’re working together.

The good news is that you can be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms, and nip the problem in the bud!

Signs and Symptoms of a Struggling Group Member:


  • No accountability or goal reporting
  • Changing goals frequently
  • Not making progress towards set goals

Planning and Implementation:

  • Working on other tasks that will not produce results or are not geared toward goals
  • Doing the right thing at the wrong time; doesn’t understand how to prioritize tasks and/or projects
  • They say they have no money to implement the plan. (It’s a dead giveaway when they say they have no money, but take expensive vacations all over the world.)

Group Participation

  • Not engaging with the group or with you as the coach/facilitator/trainer
  • Says they got what they needed from the group and now wants out before the end of the program


  • In arrears with their program payments
  • Not showing up for meetings or classes
  • Not participating in online message forums or group projects
  • Not doing their homework
  • Not responding to emails or phone calls


  • Blaming forces outside themselves for all delays, failures, etc. Not taking responsibility for where they have fallen short.
  • Self-imploding and having a lot of drama around the change they’re trying to create
  • Resisting the change: procrastinating and self-sabotaging the work they need to do

While this list may seem daunting, even overwhelming, there is a silver lining. There are steps you can take to help your group member get back on track and be successful.

To Help Them:

  • Set boundaries by reminding them that this is a commitment, and that they agreed to complete the full program. Remember, they want to get out of the discomfort that change brings, and the easiest way is to get out of your program.
  • Remind them that it’s common to struggle with change, and that it’s a phase many people go through.
  • Let them know it’s helpful to let others know when they’re struggling. That’s what the group is for.
  • Get them to focus on 90 days at a time. Instead of huge goals that feel overwhelming, what are smaller benchmarks and tasks that can be completed in the next 90 days?
  • Work within “growth rings” strategy. No one grows in a huge leap. Instead, we grow like a tree grows, one success layered upon another success until we’re at our peak.
  • Ask them to agree to weekly, bi-weekly or monthly check-ins can help keep them accountable and focused. Set pre-determined dates for when these check-ins will occur. Don’t be afraid to hold their feet to the fire; don’t allow them to postpone check-ins.
  • Help them to focus on what’s important. Some people simply aren’t good at weeding through a big To Do list to determine what to work on next. Help them unravel their To Do list and keep focused on what’s most important without getting distracted or sidetracked.
  • Take good notes during meetings so you can keep track of their progress and situation.
  • Pay attention to attendance and participation levels in group meetings. Watch for any signs that they are backsliding.

Change your group member’s course from struggling to successful by paying attention and taking charge of the situation. Remember, their success is your success.