By Nicole S. Mason, certified John Maxwell Team coach, speaker & trainer
My grandmother had an 8th grade education and yet she was dubbed “a shrewd businesswoman,” by her business accountant. She was a wise woman who operated her business for more than 50 years. She was known for her kindness and generosity to the women in her community. As a kid, she would often say, “Two heads are better than one,” when she was trying to figure out a problem. This statement would be followed by conversations with one or more of the women in my grandmother’s support system. When I became a member of the John Maxwell Team I knew what my grandmother had always known: there is indeed power in collective thinking.
I had the awesome pleasure of facilitating two Mastermind Groups for women on the book, Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It. Here are a few characteristics of a Mastermind Group to consider:
Trust – A Mastermind Group is a group of people that come together with a similar focus and mission in mind. During the first few sessions, it is safe to say that the participants are building trust with one another. This is important for several reasons: honesty, transparency, vulnerability and authenticity. Trust is established when participants share their stories and find common ground. All participants must show that they are willing to move past surface level conversations to create deeper connections. These conversations take place during the Mastermind Group sessions in one on one exercises, group exercises and written exercises. Once trust is established, there is synergy and the energy is contagious.
Talking – Trust leads to talking about the material and what is really in the heart of the participants. This part of the process has many benefits. Participants realize they are not alone in their process. The participants begin to identify with others in the group and connections are made that typically last far beyond the end of the Mastermind Group. The facilitator can make or break this part of the exercise. It is crucial for the facilitator to create a safe space for people to begin talking by setting ground rules and adhering to those rules. In the event that the ground rules are broken, the facilitator must discuss the breach openly and honestly, so that the other participants will know that there is accountability in the group.
Thinking – Once the trust is established and the talking flows freely, the collective thinking is powerful. The constant flow of ideas is a direct result of the time the group has spent together. This is the phase where input is not only given but accepted by each of the participants. The participants must show that each person’s ideas have value. This is done by providing supportive and encouraging feedback. If criticism is offered, it is constructive in nature and due to the synergy created in the group, the participants are open to the feedback. The Mastermind Group is a safe place where participants come to understand that there aren’t any “stupid” ideas, rather, that all ideas are worth sharing and having open, honest dialogue, while providing feedback only enhances the experience.
Mastermind Groups are a powerful tool to move you forward if you’re feeling stuck or you need additional support. I encourage you to find a Mastermind Group that is focused on an area that you would like to focus on or to start one yourself. What issue in your life are you trying to solve? Do you have a dream that seems overwhelming and you need help to create a plan? Perhaps you just need a group of like-minded people to help you to gain a different perspective. You can find a trained coach with the John Maxwell Team or become a certified coach yourself. The experience will change your life and the lives of everyone involved in the Mastermind Group.
Dreams come to life in the midst of collective thinking. My grandmother was definitely correct when she said, “Two heads are better than one.”
Nicole S. Mason is an Executive Leadership Coach and Confidante to female leaders in the ministry and the marketplace, helping them to show up, speak up, and stand out. She brings her education from the legal field, expertise as a leader in both ministry and business, and her experience of being the only African-American woman in male-dominated environments to each and every coaching opportunity.