A mastermind group or accountability group is one of the most important groups to be a part of for anyone whose trying to overcome obstacles and challenges, improve something or realise their goals.
We've run tons and tons of them over the last few months on Mindful Team and have compiled a list of the top 6 for you to ponder over.
1. Pick the right frequency (how often the meeting is)
So one of the most important aspects of running an effective group is the timing of the regular sessions and meetings. The most frequent session selected by our experts is weekly or fortnightly. The rule of thumb we abide by is:
Weekly if your group is more intense and needs a shorter turn around.
Fortnightly if you plan to provide your group with quite a bit of homework to do
Monthly if it's a self moderated group.
In reality it all comes down to preference for you as a facilitator and what you and your group are aiming to achieve.
2. The importance of feedback before the meeting.
Writing down goals and progress is at the heart of accountability. The ability to write down your goals and focus on goal achievement is strongly associated with goal success.
On Mindful team it is one of the most important aspects of the Mastermind and Accountability process and workflow, as the feedback your users provide populates the topics to be discussed, arguably the most important part of the meeting agenda.
Benefits to the individuals in your group
Writing down their goals and progress not only forces individuals to get clear about what they want, the act of setting goals in written form increases their commitment and focus to actually achieving those goals. That's why at Mindful Team your group must provide their feedback before the session. We think this is fundamental and they will see the benefits to being committed.
Benefits to you
Having your group write up their goals ahead of the meeting and session with you allows you to prepare in advance of the meeting. You may need to research aspects of their challenges or progress or formulate an adequate response.
3. Set clear expectations (culture)
One of the most important aspects of running any session is setting clear expectations on everything from the frequency of the session to what they will get by the end of it. Their commitment to attending sessions, advance warning when unable to attend sessions and more
We recommend working with attendees using doodle to select a regular day/time of your sessions. This helps to solidify their commitment if they have to choose it.
Make sure they are committed to attending all sessions.
Make sure it's clear when people apply that they need to attend every week for X weeks.
Make it clear how much notice they need to give you if they are unable to attend a session.
Make it clear what the culture of the groups is. You may define this on the actions page.
Set boundaries. What hours are you contactable and on what platforms?
4. Create a plan for how you run your sessions (agenda)
Before your session it's important to set, prepare and put together a short agenda, especially if it's the first introductory session or you have many points to get through.
On Mindful team, we've recently added an Agenda module to the Meeting Room/ Presentation page where you may add and delete items and mark them off as you get through them.
The first session is usually an introduction session. Here is a sample script you may modify and customise for yourself.
5. Moderating the group
Your moderation of the group is super important. You help to create space and define the energy of the group. Many people need coaxing and need to feel comfortable to air their thoughts and feelings in front of people they don't know. This doesn't mean you must force everyone to speak. It's important to listen and be aware of signals from each attendee. Here are a couple of points that may help:
Timing- If your session is an hour and you have 7-8 people to get through, you need to be strict when it comes to time. Andy Ayim facilitates 2 groups and sets 5 mins per person. He also gets another person in the group to keep the time of that person. This is smart as it increases the bonding and cross communication of the group.
Be playful - direct the energy and tone at the right moments. Where you can keep aspects of the session playful. This is important as it increases participation and communication when people lower their boundaries and levels.
6. Build community within your group
It's important that you're not the only focal point of the group. The group are accountable not just to themselves, but to each person in the group. This is achieved by creating a feeling of community amongst the group.
Get the group talking to one another.
Make the first session of your group an introductory session, focussed on getting to know one another, introductions and setting the tone for future sessions.
Get each person to share their details, follow each other progress on social media in order to foster that friendship and support.
We hope these tips are useful, we'll update them with more over the next few months. If you have any that you've noticed, please feel free to share them with us and we'll give you a shoutout.