A client who runs a mastermind group recently asked me how she could maximize the group’s time together. It’s a great question. With so many intelligent minds in one place, you want to soak in as much knowledge as you can. It may seem a daunting task, but it comes down to preparation and facilitation.
Here are the three things I’ve seen work for peer professional development.
#1 Get the right people in the room
First, you need to gather the people who have relevant experience to give you practical insights. Consider the individual’s business savvy, leadership skills, and goals they’ve set and met. Focus on the skillsets that will help the group achieve their goals.
#2 Provide Questions for Reflection
Create a list of questions to help the participants identify the most important things they want to know right now. You can ask them to review it ahead of time, or you can provide a short period at the beginning of the meeting to complete it.
It doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be as simple as this:
- What’s your biggest challenge right now?
- Why is this a challenge for you?
- What action can you take to overcome that challenge?
The questions help the participants focus on the relevant issues at hand in preparation for the next step.
#3 Allow Time to Workshop
Workshopping is when participants bring forth real challenges they are currently experiencing, in a group setting, so that they can ideate solutions together. I’ve found this is when the best learning occurs.
To workshop within your mastermind group, allow enough time for each participant to present their challenges (identified with the questionnaire) and to enable the group to respond. The timeframe will vary based on the length of your time together, but I usually recommend about 10-20 minutes per person.
# 4 decide Action Steps
Last, have each member decide on an action item to report on at the next meeting. Not only does it keep everyone accountable, but it also encourages them to put into practice what they learned.
To get the most of your mastermind group, you need to gather the right people and follow a simple meeting format. First, provide questions to identify participants’ most relevant problems. Second, allow enough time to present the challenges and have all the experts weigh in. Last, encourage each participant to take action and report on it the next meeting, so they are driven to enact what they’ve learned from the group.