Mastermind Groups versus Accountability Groups
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Mastermind Groups versus Accountability Groups

Accountability group versus mastermind group

By Karyn Greenstreet

Are you confused about what an accountability group is and how it’s different from a mastermind group? Let’s clear it up!

Just like no two mastermind groups are exactly alike, there are no two accountability groups exactly alike. So, let me give you an overview of both.

Accountability groups

The primary purpose of an accountability group program is to help members reach a goal or complete a project. Because members want to be more productive and manage their time better, an accountability group is about getting things done. It’s about holding each other’s feet to the fire and being accountable for taking action – or inaction.

Because accountability groups are focused is on goal setting and action planning, they meet often. They can have weekly meetings, and regular (sometimes daily) check-ins between meetings, to ensure each member is making forward progress.

The group might include brainstorming solutions to problems, but many do not include this on a deep basis or as their main focus.

Sometimes there is training in an accountability group, often centered around productivity and time/task management. Some groups are focused solely on action planning and getting things done (and don’t include any training or brainstorming). Some accountability groups are preceded by a workshop on a topic, and that workshop topic is also the focus of the accountability. For instance, a workshop on designing your website and an accountability groups to help you as you design your website.

In accountability groups, it’s often the role of the group facilitator to hold individual members accountable. However, in a mastermind group, everyone holds each other accountable…

Mastermind groups

The focus of a mastermind group, like an accountability group, is to help members reach their goals. But a mastermind group includes much more: a strong portion of brainstorming, problem-solving, decision making, and sharing of ideas, solutions, and resources. A large part of each meeting is devoted to individual Hot Seats, where each member can share a challenge or question, and everyone helps the person in the Hot Seat.

While some accountability groups can have a strong community focus, mastermind groups are always community-focused. It’s about each member helping each other, and asking for help in return. The role of the facilitator is two-fold: to coach and advise individual members, and to manage the group dynamics and discussion, which creates a strong, trusting community of members. When accountability is part of a mastermind group, the facilitator tracks action plans and results for individual members — and all members act as a supportive team and hold each other accountable, as well.

Mastermind groups often include accountability and action planning as part of their overall design. Plus, mastermind groups include strategic thinking, decision making, and sharing of best practices. A crucial component is where all the members help each other to achieve more and reach their goals.

Sometimes mastermind groups include a heavy focus on accountability, and sometimes the group simply shares action plans and accountability check-ins in each meeting. Sometimes mastermind groups include a workshop previous to the mastermind group, sometimes they don’t. (That’s what I love about mastermind groups — you can design your group to include everything your members need: coaching, consulting, training, masterminding, accountability.)

From my perspective, the best way to think about it is that a mastermind group can include everything an accountability group does, but an accountability group rarely includes everything a mastermind group does. If members are brainstorming solutions with each other, helping them with strategic thinking, and sharing best practices, it’s a mastermind group.

Can your group be both?

Yes, of course. Some accountability groups include masterminding, and some mastermind groups have a strong accountability focus.

Don’t get hung up on the name. If the group you’re designing has a heavy focus on accountability, and that’s what your members join for, then call it an “accountability group” (even if it includes masterminding). If the main benefit of the group is sharing best practices, solving problems and making strategic decisions, and a key focus is on the community (with some accountability and action planning included), call it a “mastermind group.”

Above all else, the name and definition of your group must resonate with your audience and what they’re seeking in life.


2 thoughts on “Mastermind Groups versus Accountability Groups”

  1. Karla Taylor says:

    The above posts are insightful. However, where would one locate talented individuals capable of bringing valuable knowledge to form a mastermind group?

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      Karla, as with any marketing endeavor, finding your audience is half the battle. First, determine what type of person you want to work with. Next, determine where that type of person hangs out. Are they local and you can meet them at local events? Or can you find them in gatherings online? A wise marketing campaign will help you to figure out all these details.

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