Because a mastermind group is a balanced and equal process where everyone should be participating in the discussion, people like you and I who are consultants/teachers have to change our normal communication style to allow group discussions to flow. And if you’re a trained, professional coach (I’m talking about the ICF standards of the coaching profession), you’ll have to unlearn some of your communication style to become an extraordinary mastermind group Facilitator.
It took me a long time to master this!
If you’re a teacher or consultant…
In some mastermind groups, the Facilitator is the expert (that’s why they want to join your group). I was so used to giving advice and being seen as “the teacher” and “the expert,” that I had to shift to a new mindset: “The answer is in the room but it doesn’t have to come from me.” Definitely, the answer shouldn’t come from me first: the point of a mastermind group is that the members coach and advise each other.
So being a Facilitator doesn’t mean you never speak during the Hot Seats, it just means you encourage the answers to come from the group first. Then, if the group misses something crucial, you can join in to add the missing pieces.
Once I absorbed that, it was incredibly freeing to not have to be the only one with the answer. The power you feel when the discussion gets deep and productive is amazing, and you wouldn’t want to stifle that by always being the one with the answer.
If you’re a professional coach…
I graduated from CoachU. It was imbedded into my consciousness throughout my professional coach training that coaches do not advise, they are not directive, they don’t tell the client what to do.
The whole idea of a mastermind group is to share advice, brainstorm ideas, and share best practices. For professional coaches, this can cause some angst: Can I still be a coach and a mastermind group Facilitator? Can I still use all these wonderful coaching skills I have?
Of course, the answer is yes. So many of the skills you learned in coach training (listening, co-creating the relationship, designing actions, etc.) are hugely valuable in a mastermind group. You can even ask coach-like, non-directive questions. But you’ve got to be willing to give advice and share ideas, too.
Think of it this way: we can use all our skills and talents in a mastermind group. Imagine a career where you can use the combination of your coaching, teaching, consulting, and group dynamics skills, all at the same time!
Just remember, as the Facilitator, you’re the last to speak, not the first. Keep that forefront in your mind and you can’t go wrong.