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What is a Mastermind Group?

The term Mastermind goes back to 1937 when Napoleon Hill formally introduced the idea in his book "Think and Grow Rich."

Since then, there have been different concepts and definitions of the term.

At the heart of a Mastermind Group is to surround yourself with others that will help expand your knowledge beyond what you can do on your own.

In recent years, Mastermind Groups have popped up in several different capacities & purposes. People around the world have learned the power of these groups. Use this guide to help navigate whether a Mastermind Group is beneficial to you:

Informal Groups

Surround yourself with people from all backgrounds with the sole purpose of expanding your knowledge with an informal group. Some are accountability groups that are very powerful if you are struggling to motivate yourself or trying to break habits. Other groups popular in education are PLC's (Professional Learning Communities) where the focus is collaborative learning. Informal groups can range from friend groups, associations, religious small groups or group treatment. Some groups are well structured and others have very little structure. There are typically no costs involved other than your time and participation.

Group Coaching

The group coaching concept has grown in recent years beyond traditional 1-on-1 coaching. These are typically paid programs by a consultant or coach that is expanding their reach and maximizing their time. A group coaching mastermind allows more people to join at a lower cost than 1-on-1 consulting and adds benefits by learning as others are coached. The knowledge is learned from not only the paid consultant or coach, but also from the other members in the group. These groups can be well structured or loosely structured, it is up to the consultant or coach leading the sessions. Costs for these groups can range from $250-2,000/month.

Peer Experience Sharing

Formal peer experience sharing can be classified as a Mastermind Group, but it is based on years of practice in well established organizations across industries. The key tenant is Gestalt Language Protocol defined simply as experience sharing versus advice giving. These groups typically have strict eligibility requirements to ensure that members are truly peers and the experiences will be valuable to the group. Formal training is required to follow the process and avoid the inevitable conflict when advice giving occurs. Advice giving is dangerous to the dynamic of a group from both the advice-giver and advice-receiver points of view. The advice-giver thinks they just solved the others' problem. If the problem arises again is the future, the advice-giver feels insulted or irritated that the problem was not solved from their suggestion. The advice-receiver also struggles with this scenario. They may feel insulted that their complex problem was dismissed as "solved" and not take the advice. On the flipside, they may take the advice and hold resentment if the outcome is not favorable. Peer Experience Sharing groups provide the structure to have deep, impactful relationships discussing the Top 5% and Bottom 5% of your life. The cost to join a group are reasonable since they are member-led instead versus a paid moderator, consultant or coach.

Educational Leaders' Organization provides a unique Peer Experience Sharing program. ELO's Forums of 6-10 school leaders, provide significant value for personal and professional development. Your Forum becomes your confidential mastermind group to learn from others' experiences.

Consider joining Education Leaders' Organization, the world's only peer to peer community of School Leaders.

Know a School Leader that would benefit from a confidential peer network? Please share this with them.


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