Vistage, TAB, YPO, EO, WPO -- and Mastermind Groups
The Success Alliance


Vistage, TAB, YPO, EO, WPO — and Mastermind Groups

How are mastermind groups different from Vistage, TAB, YPO, etc.?

There are some key similarities and some differences between a mastermind group and groups like Vistage, TAB, YPO, EO, and WPO.

Mastermind groups are peer advisory boards. As such, they are a group of like-minded people in similar situations, who come together to help solve problems and share best practices.

Many coaches and consultants run mastermind groups. Some choose to run their groups under their own business name/brand, while others choose to run them under a franchise or membership service like Vistage, TAB, YPO, or WPO.

Here are some similarities and differences among the varied types of mastermind group/peer advisory board models.

A Traditional Mastermind Group

I’ve been running mastermind groups for over 20 years, and have formulated a standard definition of a “traditional mastermind group.” Group designs vary, but should include these elements:

  • Members commit to participating for a specific period of time, sometimes as short as 3 months. Some groups require a year or two commitment to join.
  • Because participation is vital so that members can brainstorm together and share best practices, members commit to showing up for every meeting unless they have reviewed it with the facilitator in advance or there is an emergency.
  • Members get personal time in the Hot Seat on a regular basis, so they can get help with their individual challenges and decision-making needs. Often this means each member gets in the Hot Seat in every single meeting (if you meet monthly) or every other meeting (if you meet more frequently).
  • The topic for each Hot Seat is defined by the member who is in the Hot Seat.
  • Facilitators can choose whether they offer any additional service beyond the mastermind group meetings (private coaching, training, retreat weekends, etc.).
  • Facilitators choose from a wide array of target audiences for their mastermind groups, both for professional development and personal development topics.
  • Mastermind groups can meet face-to-face locally or can meet virtually if the members are from different regions.
  • Because you run the mastermind group under your own business/brand, you keep all the revenue. You will need to seek out Facilitator training and organize your own marketing efforts.


Vistage Chairs run their meetings differently than a traditional mastermind group.

  • Vistage is an international organization that serves corporate executives and managers with decision-making authority, key personnel inside an organization, and large and small business owners.
  • For some audiences (Chief Executives, etc.) the groups have a full-day meeting each month, plus one private coaching meeting each month at the members’ office. This travel time must be accounted for when calculating whether being a Vistage Chair is the right move for you.
  • During some full-day meetings, part of the meeting is devoted to a speaker/training session, and part to issue processing, brainstorming and problem-solving.
  • For some Vistage levels (key advisors, small business), the meetings are half-day instead of full-day, and sometimes there is no one-on-one coaching offered.
  • Each member is not guaranteed an individual Hot Seat in meetings. In larger groups (typically up to 16 members), the group is polled to discover topics that would be interesting to the majority of members, and those are the topics under discussion for that meeting. It can mean that some members don’t get their needs met in meetings but can discuss those topics privately with their coach.
  • Because Vistage Chairs are independent subcontractors to Vistage, as the Chair of the group, you would pay part of your revenue back to Vistage. In return for this, you receive training, and the backing of Vistage’s PR efforts, though you are required to find and sign your own members.

Paul Wirth was a Vistage Chair in Southern California until early 2020. He found his work as a Vistage Chair and an EOS® Implementer rewarding and that his two services are complimentary for clients. Today, Paul works with organizations that want a competitive edge to retain their business clients by offering company-sponsored mastermind groups.

“The primary value for members,” Wirth says, “is the ability to step away from their day-to-day duties on a regular basis to think about and focus on their business. They get out of the weeds and are able to focus on strategy.”

You can reach Paul Wirth via LinkedIN.


  • TAB (The Alternative Board) is also an international organization and has a similar model to Vistage, except it is a franchise. You can either own a franchise location or be a contracted Chair for the owner of a TAB franchise. In either case, you’re splitting your revenue with TAB.
  • Unlike Vistage, in TAB, each member does get into the Hot Seat in each meeting.
  • TAB is for executives, managers, and small business owners.
  • Meetings are three or four hours each month. Groups can have private coaching options in addition to meetings.
  • Chairs can decide if they want to include a training topic in meetings.

Linnea Blair was a contract TAB Chair in San Diego. Her members told her that accountability was an important feature of her groups. She says, “Each member had to commit to certain actions and tasks, and the Chair held them accountable for getting things done. This can be a big value to members who feel they’re juggling many priorities but not making forward progress.”

You can reach Linnea Blair at her website: Advisors on Target


YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization), WPO (Women President’s Organization) and EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization) are a membership model with local chapters.

  • Most of these are international organizations.
  • All three organizations have membership criteria about the size of business you run (or are part of), and your role in that organization.
  • YPO is for Chief Executives, Chairman of the Board, Presidents, Managing Directors, or Managing Partners of an organization. You must apply before age 45 (hence the “young” in Young Presidents Organization).
  • WPO is for women Presidents, CEOs, and Managing Directors of privately held multimillion-dollar companies. To qualify, your organization must have $2 million in gross annual sales for a product-based business or $1 million for a service-based business, ownership interest in the business at some level, and senior management responsibilities for attorneys and accountants.
  • EO is for entrepreneurs. Members of EO must be the owner, founder or majority stakeholder of a business earning a minimum of $1 million in revenue during the most recent fiscal year. They also have an Accelerator program for smaller businesses.
  • Often these groups will run through a local chapter, plus have conferences at the regional/national/international levels. Many have a strong community aspect, and the focus might be primarily on peer-to-peer networking and education rather than masterminding.
  • They often have roundtable discussions at the chapter level, as well as support, networking, and education.
  • Roundtables are led by the chapter leader, sometimes called the Forum Leader or Chair.

There’s a mastermind group model out there for every type of person! Groups vary in how they facilitate brainstorming discussions, how often they meet,  and what experience the member can expect.

If you’re thinking of joining a mastermind group, or want to run mastermind groups yourself, it helps to understand the different models available so you can select the one that fits you best.

The first decision? Do you want a traditional mastermind group, or do you want a group like Vistage, TAB, YPO, etc.?

Want to learn how to start a mastermind group? Click here to get my free video tutorial on how to create a mastermind group of your own.

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