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What is a True Mastermind group?

by Indigo on March 21, 2016 2 comments

Have you considered joining a Mastermind group for your business? Are you in one now? What are your expectations for such a group?

Often people confuse the idea of a mastermind group with what is really group coaching. The main differentiator between the two is that in group coaching, communication is mainly between the group leader and each participant. There is less interaction between participants.

In contrast, the core idea behind a mastermind group is that by collaborating as a group, an “uber” mind will be created. The whole will be more than the sum of the parts.

To quote Napolean Hill, the person who first coined the term mastermind, a mastermind group involves “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony…. No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.”

So by definition, a mastermind group must include creative exploration and discourse between all group members. It is very beneficial to have a leader who gives shape to the conversation, maintains a positive and supportive tone, and makes sure that each member has a chance to be heard across the group meetings. But each member of the group is ultimately just as vital to the quality of what the group co-creates.

The Spontaneous Mastermind Group

I recently was a part of a miraculous co-creation that wound up functioning as an ad hoc mastermind group.

A friend in VA, Gayla, posted on Facebook that there needed to be more training on civil discourse in America, because people simply didn’t know how to discuss topics they disagreed about without devolving into personal attacks. I host a regular show on a platform called Blab that allows anyone who happens by to come on camera and join the conversation, and thought it to be a great place to host a conversation on the subject.  Together we could explore the question, “What do people want with regards to creating a more civil climate for public discourse in America?”

My friend Gayla agreed, and decided to check with a few people she knows whose work might dovetail with our subject. Her friend Joe Weston of Respectful Confrontation was eager to take part in the conversation, so with our three, I scheduled the show on Blab for a week later, calling it “Creating a More Loving America – a Community Conversation.”

Despite some technical glitches that caused the link for the show we had promoted to be unavailable just as we were to go live, forcing us to create a new show link and desperately scramble to get the new link out to people who had subscribed to be notified on the useless link, we had a good audience and a perfect conversation.

We connected with some new people who were also doing community work related to communication skills or coaching related to self-awareness. Both are important parts of being able to engage in civil discourse. We have now continued the connection on social media, and I will also be interviewing one of the participants on CBL-TV.

More than who wound up finding each other through the conversation, we wound up spontaneously creating a mastermind group during the call itself!

You see, even when you don’t set out to create that uber mind Napolean Hill refers to in his definition of a mastermind group, you may still do it. All it takes is at least 2 people (preferably at least 3) who are deeply listening to one another and letting their beliefs be affected by one another’s. It takes an openess to learning and changing while in conversation with others. The result is always a greater level of genius than could be achieved by any of the individuals alone, no matter how brilliant any one of them may be.

How Do You Know When You’ve Achieved It?

You can know your group has achieved the mastermind when you arrive at a conclusion that makes everyone feel their perspective is reflected. Each person feels not just seen and heard, but that a core piece of who they are has been incorporated into the group’s current way of seeing the issue. You arrive at a depth of understanding none of you had when you started the conversation, and no one has been made irrelevant.

In our case, the conclusion that we came to was a format for an effective community meeting that would teach needed skills in a fun, effective and engaging way. Part of our format included that each meeting would end when participants could agree that there input had been included in whatever the group decided on. We also decided that the group would include a mixture of training in civil discourse skills with conversation on a selected topic for that meeting that gave them a chance to practice those skills in context.

As soon as I summarized this for the group, out of what we had all just said, we realized that that is precisely what we had done in our conversation. Joe and an inspirational community organizer who happened in named Christian Williams both shared practical instruction from their work. Gayla and I had set the topic for the conversation. And everyone contributed ideas about every aspect of the topic, from how things got to be to how they are, what the desired future could be, and how to get us from where we are to where we want to be.

We were a mastermind simply because we valued each person’s input and adjusted to each person’s communication style with respect and loving welcome.

Oh and by the way, turns out it was such a hit with all participants and some people who missed it, but want to participate in an experience like this, that we’ve schedule a Part II discussion, this time including the organization CompassionConvos, with whom Christian connected us. You can click the pic below to find the listing and use your Twitter account to subscribe to be notified.

Loving America mastermind gathering

What Does This Have to Do With Your Business?

Well maybe nothing. Maybe you have no interest in co-creating with others on the subject of how you will grow your revenue, increase your positive impact in the world, and enjoy your work life.

You certainly could do it alone, or with one-on-one guidance from a coach, consultant or mentor. You could also do it within a group program, in which the coach splits one-on-one coaching time among the participants, but members don’t really cross-talk. But I hope I’ve given you some insight into the unique value that a mastermind group can provide on any subject.

Look, I’m not shy about saying that I’m brilliant, and I particularly shine in the arena of business. I’ve got a lot of skills, gained over almost a decade going into companies of all sizes, many very successful companies, and helping them to become even more successful. But I alone am no mastermind.

Though even in one-to-one work with clients there is definitely a greater wisdom that is able to come through, so some level of mastermind created, what I’ve found is that the more minds you can unite harmoniously, the greater the level of genius achieved. I would recommend a group of at least 3 people and no more than 20 per facilitator, for ideal co-creation. (This is based on both personal experience and training in group therapy I received within my Counseling Psychology master’s program.)

I am now offering a mastermind group that has a mixture of business and intuitive skill training included, which you can find out more about under Conscious Garden mastermind group.

I now believe that the entire forward sweep of human social evolution is about greater complexity and diversity without falling into dysfunctional conflict and chaos.  Must things fall apart? Can the center hold? How much diversity can we withstand while still maintaining harmony within our civilization?

What do you think? Is there a benefit to you in incorporating some sort of mastermind group into your life?


Indigo is the founder of Awaken Business Consulting and Aspiratech business technology firm. She is also the host of Conscious Business Leaders TV. Indigo specializes in helping entrepreneurs build strong business structures in a way that integrates their intuition and inspiration. Want a free consultation with Indigo about your business's forward trajectory? Start by taking the Business Health Assessment at either or

IndigoWhat is a True Mastermind group?


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  • Charlene - March 22, 2016 reply

    Mastermind Groups are awesome! I’ve been facilitating groups for solo business owners since 2009 and have been a member of one, off and on, for many years. They are instrumental in helping me to grow personally and to grow my business – and as a facilitator I love the inspiration and motivation that each member of the group experiences during a meeting.

    Indigo - March 22, 2016 reply

    You know, I’ve resisted doing a group program for a long time now, because I just couldn’t see how to create the level of success I wanted without it being a custom, one-to-one program. The success rate for group programs is shockingly low. But now that I’m considering the idea of a mastermind group, I can see a path forward that includes some group work. It is closer to my MA training in group therapy, though not problem-centric like therapy. I’m glad to hear you’ve had such a good experience leading such groups. That’s encouraging.

    I’ve also recently joined a mastermind group with others in a similar maturation level in their businesses and it is proving to be stimulating and sometimes enlightening. I do believe this way of creating solutions to our collective problems is the way forward. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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