Mastermind Group and Brain Trust – what is it, how do they work, what are the differences?
Running your own business is very exciting, but also difficult. As an entrepreneur, you are often left on your own, make your own decisions and face business challenges. Even if you have the support of your loved ones, if they are not entrepreneurs, it is often difficult for them to “get into your shoes”, and thus – to help. The ideal solution to such a situation is to find a group of people who, just like you, know the daily hardships of running a business, are looking for inspiration or want to exchange their experience with someone, gaining new ideas, knowledge and competences. Such people, thanks to whom you will see that every entrepreneur is struggling with different problems and you are not alone with it, can be found in mastermind groups, i.e. communities of entrepreneurs or business coaches helping each other.
What exactly is Mastermind or Brain Trust and what should you know about it?
What is Mastermind?
The first mastermind groups of entrepreneurs were established in the 19th century. He wrote about them in the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. These were groups organized around the greatest American businessmen, the richest people of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Andrew Carnegie.
Mastermind, which is simply translated from English “master mind” or simply “Brain Trust” is a group of people, most often entrepreneurs, whose main goal is to develop themselves and their business and support other people for a similar purpose. In the mastermind, entrepreneurs motivate each other, exchange their experiences, inspire to create new ideas and help each other in solving business problems. Thanks to such a group, you gain a completely new, fresh perspective on a given problem / idea – which is very important because it sheds a completely new light on your business. Mastermind is also an amazing solution to the feeling of loneliness in the entrepreneurial world – despite the sincere willingness to help from relatives, other entrepreneurs know the realities of running a business and are able to really support you.
How many members of such a group should there be and who may belong to it?
Usually, there are several people in the mastermind group – from 3 to 5 entrepreneurs (so that each person can have time at the meetings). For such a group to be very valuable and bring benefits to your business, it is important that its members are entrepreneurs from different industries and with different experiences than yours. Thanks to this, you have the opportunity to learn from those who are better than you in a specific field and vice versa – you can help others by offering your knowledge. This means that such people understand you as an entrepreneur, but they can show you completely new things that you did not know before and can help your business grow. Another important thing is a similar internship in the business of people belonging together to the mastermind – so that less experienced people do not feel that their problems are less important, because older entrepreneurs have already “passed through” them. And that those more experienced people would not seek support from people who are simply not able to give it due to a different business experience.
How to organize a Mastermind group?
To find your mastermind group, think if there are people in your immediate vicinity who have a similar number of years in entrepreneurship as you, but belong to different industries, which translates into a different business experience. They must be people who want to look for specific solutions to their problems and will be able to offer their help. The more you give in the mastermind group – the more you can get in return.
The next step is to get to know your group, define mastermind goals, talk about yourself and get to know other members’ businesses, establish formal matters, such as frequency of meetings.
An additional option and often a better solution than setting up a mastermind group is to hire a business coach. Entrepreneurs do not always have time to organize the activities of the mastermind group. You can always hire a business coach with ecoCoach to set up a group, but you can also create a mini mastermind group with him. The coaching process will give you much more than the mastermind group. Unfortunately, in mastermind groups, another entrepreneur may accidentally harm your development. After all, entrepreneurs do not always have the latest knowledge in the field of psychology, coaching, business development and effective achievement of goals, which is always the case with ecoCoach business coaches. Therefore, think about this aspect before choosing or organizing a mastermind group.
One of the assumptions of the mastermind group is to achieve business goals. Think about the specific goal you want to achieve. Listen carefully to other people and their plans. Be open about your plans and what you are proud of so far. Other people need to know what you care about most in order to have the right dose of motivation for you. Likewise, you, by being up to date with the business matters of the rest of the mastermind group, know what motivation these people need. By speaking openly about your business goals, you feel more obligated to achieve them so as not to disappoint the rest of the group and be left behind.
There is no need for the entrepreneurs creating the mastermind group to live close to each other and have to meet live. Of course, such groups also exist, but they are increasingly turning to ‘online’ – which is even more preferred nowadays. You can use tools such as Zoom or Skype for this. It is important to ensure a form of contact in advance that will suit everyone. Online meetings have many benefits – you can connect with your group anywhere where you only have access to a computer / telephone and the Internet. In the case of “live” meetings, you have the opportunity to meet the group participants directly, drink coffee with them and discuss the meeting in an interesting place of your choice.
A completely different dynamics of the meeting is also created when the participants see each other, sit next to each other or have the opportunity, for example, to pat themselves on the shoulder for another great meeting.
Already at the first meeting of the mastermind group, the rules of its operation should be defined. Some aspects that need to be discussed include
- meeting time
- expectations of group members
- meeting schedule
- way of communication
- meeting goals
- whether meetings will be recorded
- selecting the moderator, ie the meeting leader
- define other roles, such as the meeting time keeper or the participant’s goals recorder
Benefits and Disadvantages
Depending on the type of group and how it is run, the following advantages or disadvantages may occur.
The biggest benefits of participating in a mastermind group are:
- the opportunity to establish new, interesting business contacts
- motivation to act
- looking at your business from the perspective of other people, that is seeing it “from the side”
- the ability to solve your business problems with the help of the rest of the group
- inspiration and new, fresh ideas that you can implement into your company
- feeling that you are not alone as an entrepreneur and have your own support group
- take advantage of other people’s experience
The disadvantages of mastermind groups may be:
- lack of prefessionalism of group members for the development of other people and other businesses
- not sticking to or having an agenda for the meeting
- group members focus on “taking” instead of “giving” and give no value to the rest of the participants
- risk of dropping off the conversation on side and frustrating topics, for example: politics
- infecting people between each other with difficult emotions: when one of the group members has a bad day and came out in a bad mood, as a result he infects others with his sadness or complaints
- the risk of a conflict in the group and the lack of competences and tools of group members to solve this conflict on their own. The result of such a conflict may be the deterioration of personal and business relationships of the group members
- It may also happen that one of the group members can dominate it and only he and his supporters will benefit and receive value.
It is for this reason that the profession of a business coach was created to eliminate the disadvantages of mastermind groups. The profession of a business coach, which was created in the second half of the 20th century in three main areas: psychology, sport and business, gives clients much more than the mastermind group. The business coaching process with an experienced business coach from ecoCoach leaves all the advantages of the mastermind group, eliminating the disadvantages completely. This happens thanks to the coaching tools, knowledge and competences of the coach in the areas of psychology, management, sales, marketing, the development of the most effective leaders, entrepreneurs, sports and media stars, and even strategic management.
Being a participant in a mastermind group is an amazing benefit for entrepreneurs, students, scientists or people gathered around an idea.
In ecoCoach, we use the knowledge, tools and practices of mastermind groups. Sometimes we are hired to support mastermind groups or to resolve conflicts within groups. We regularly create groups of mastermind business coaches within the #ecoCoachCommunity community and we regularly create new groups.
Additionally, during an individual coaching process, a two-person, micro-group mastermind is created between the coach and the client. The #ecoCoachCommunity groups at the ecoCoach Academy, the Business Coaching OPEN, ADVANCED and MASTER programs are well-functioning mastermind groups. Here, entrepreneurs, business coaches, mentors, trainers, strategic advisers exchange business ideas, experiences, knowledge and support each other with the most effective methods and tools, largely thanks to peer coaching and the presence of a master coach.
Many times during and after graduation from the ecoCoach Academy, members of the #ecoCoachCommunity community have recommended each other and assisted each other in making important decisions.
Remember! You don’t have to be alone in a difficult situation: job change, business development, crisis, stagnation in development, layoffs in the company, lack of a sense of mission or vision, creating or implementing a new business strategy, developing public speaking competences or developing leadership skills. You will always find someone who will be happy to help you.