By Karyn Greenstreet
Posted in:Mastermind Group Facilitation
Because a mastermind group is a balanced and equal process where every member participates in the discussion, people like you and I who are coaches, consultants and 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 International Coach Federation standards of the coaching profession), you’ll have to unlearn some of your communication patterns and boundaries to become an extraordinary mastermind group facilitator. Or, at least, learn how to switch hats and know when to use each of your coaching, facilitation, teaching, and consulting skills when running a mastermind group.
It took me a long time to master this!
Here are some tips, based on whether you’re a teacher, consultant or coach.
In most mastermind groups, the facilitator is the expert on the topic. That’s why people want to join your group and work with you. You’re used to giving advice and being seen as “the teacher” and “the expert.”
Now, you have 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 you first: the point of a mastermind group is that the members coach and advise each other first, then you add any missing pieces at the end of each Hot Seat.
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You have to take off your consultant or teacher hat, and put on your facilitator hat: don’t be the first to jump in with the answer or the question. Allow the group to help each other first. In this way, you teach the group that you’re not going to be the first to respond, which increases participation in all discussions. Then, if the group misses something crucial, you can add in the missing pieces after the other members have shared their ideas.
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.
I graduated from CoachU. It was embedded into my consciousness throughout my professional coach training that coaches do not advise, they are not directive, and 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 questions to garner insights. But you’ve got to be willing to give advice and share ideas, too.
Think of it this way: you can use all your skills and talents as a mastermind group facilitator. Imagine a career where you can use the combination of your coaching, teaching, consulting, and group dynamics skills, all at the same time! It’s very liberating.
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.