Everything You Need to Know About Running Virtual Mastermind Groups

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I facilitated my first paid mastermind group back in 2009. My group was face-to-face and it was all around public speaking. It was set up for ongoing support and continued growth for students from the public speaking course I used to run in Canberra, Australia.

When I first decided to run the group I wasn’t too sure how to structure an official mastermind so I went online and found the best person in the field, Karyn Greenstreet. Back then Karyn was a successful business coach who’d been running masterminds with groups of business owners since 1994!!!

Her website was (and still is) a treasure trove of free resources and blog posts about running mastermind groups. I bought an EXCELLENT ‘How to run a Mastermind’ workbook with templates, pricing ideas, and more. About 3 years ago I also did her Mastermind Facilitator Training Course. Karyn’s material really got me started on the right foot + gave me tons of certainty and confidence in my mastermind product.

I have since run paid virtual mastermind groups for coaching business owners and have even been experimenting with free mastermind groups with friends.

I LOVE the power of the Mastermind!!!

Virtual is the New Normal

With so many coaches jumping online in 2021 I think it is the perfect time to deep dive into mastermind groups. Mastermind groups work online and can be the perfect addition to your virtual coaching product suite.

I’ve reached out to Karyn Greenstreet and asked her to tell us everything we need to know about running virtual mastermind groups. I’ve admired Karyn for a long time in the coaching industry, for her ethics and the integrity she brings to her products and marketing. I know you’re going to love what she has to say!

Watch the full interview here or read the Highlights* below.

Note: in the Highlights, paraphrasing and reordering have happened for your reading pleasure.

Masterminds youtube

Highlights from our interview…

What is a Mastermind Group?

Napoleon Hill first wrote about the “Master Mind” in 1928. He was referring to the third mind that stems from the collective thought of the group. Because of the collective or third mind, members can solve problems quickly. Members give and receive help and support each other.

There are mastermind groups these days for all different niches. People come together with a common interest for example writing a book, being a business owner, being a CEO, etc.

Mastermind groups can range from being free to join, all the way to thousands of dollars for a single membership.

Masterminds are often linked with accountability – a group of people who know your goals and hold you accountable to what you say you’re going to do. Great masterminds feel like a home away from home because members form a bond around a shared interest and can really relate to and understand each other.

Mastermind Basics

I had Karyn on my podcast, Coach Pep Talk, back in 2017, and in that interview, she covered most of the basics on Masterminds.

Here’s what we covered:

  • What is a mastermind group? What is NOT a mastermind group?
  • How often do you meet, how often hot seats?
  • What a good size for a mastermind group.
  • How to price a mastermind group.
  • What makes a great mastermind group facilitator?
  • What goes on behind the scenes of mastermind facilitation (ie other work that’s not running meetings).

It’s a BRILLIANT episode, packed full of ideas and inspiration for starting a mastermind. Check it out here.

Workspace masterminds

Masterminds Compliment 1:1 Coaching

Karyn gave us the example of an Executive coach she works with who is doing 1:1 coaching with clients. He’s elevating the conversation to a different level by bringing clients together into a Mastermind group. In the mastermind meetings, he takes off his coach hat (pulling answers from within the client) and puts on his facilitator hat.

Different from Group Coaching

It’s important to know that mastermind groups are different from group coaching.

Group Coaching = coach coaches one person and everyone listens.

Mastermind = The whole group helps the “client”. They may ask coaching questions or they may offer advice based on their own experiences.

Virtual Meetings - the New Normal

In the good old days, 60%+ of mastermind groups met in person. But with the 2020 pandemic everyone is scrambling to get online. At first, many people were sceptical of meeting online wondering if it’s going to be the same as being in person? But after a year of dealing with Covid, the world is starting to get used to being online. People are finding it really easy to convert to the world of virtual meetings.

It’s great! Many coaches are expanding their reach to non-local people.

Marketing Your Mastermind Group

When it comes to marketing your mastermind group, you’ll need a different approach depending on the stage you are in and if people know who you are or not.

  • If you are new, you’ll need a holistic marketing plan. What are your offers, how do they tie all together?
  • If you already have an audience, start having conversations with your audience about running a mastermind group. Explore their interest in the idea and what they would need.
  • If you already have an audience and paying clients – talk with them. It may be easier than you think to get started!

85K people per year searching for “Mastermind Group” and coming to Karyn’s website! So there is awareness out there. However, some geographic areas still don’t know what a mastermind is.

Karyn has a student in Greece who reports that the concept of a mastermind group is relatively new there. You can find out the level of education you might need to do by running a search in Google. Try typing in Mastermind + your location or niche.

It’s usually helpful to your clients to offer a little education piece about what a mastermind is on your website. The next section will help you with what to say when marketing your group.


Benefits you can market

Be aware that different people are attracted to different benefits. So it’s good to have a mix of benefits.

Here’s what Karyn is seeing as the most common things people gain from joining a mastermind:

  • Getting clarity on your vision and goals and why you want it
  • Figuring out the steps to achieve your goal and making actions plans
  • Making good decisions as you implement your action plan
  • Having people to talk to about your ideas – a sounding board
  • Tapping into the wisdom and brains of other people
  • Gaining new insights, identifying limiting beliefs
  • Being held accountable
  • Peers who understand what you’re doing because they are on a similar journey
  • Emotional support from a tribe of people who ‘Get’ you
  • Helping and supporting each other

Vetting Members

Here are 4 characteristics to keep in mind when designing your group:

  1. Do all members have similar goals? Goals need to be similar enough.
  2. Everyone is different with a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Look for people whose skills complement each other.
  3. A positive attitude is essential! You want people who when they have a bad day say, ”OK, what am I going to do about it?”
  4. Do people have a habit of getting stuck and blaming others? Look for people who take responsibility and who own the resolution.

Some questions you can ask in your interviews or application process are:

  1. Tell me a bit about your situation.
  2. What are some problems that are coming up for you right now?
  3. Why do you want to join a mastermind group?
  4. What are you bringing to the group? What superpowers do you want to share?
  5. What are your goals? What is it that you want to create?

The Mastermind Promise

Just like in coaching, the results a mastermind member gets from the group depend on what the client puts in and uses from the group. Although you can’t promise mastermind members specific results, there are a few things you can promise.

Here’s what you can promise:

  • A supportive experience
  • You’re going to get a lot of ideas
  • You’re going to get clarity on your goals, clarity on your decisions
  • Get your eyes opened to your blind spots – the places where you have biases and limiting beliefs that are holding you back
  • Walk away with an action plan
  • Be supported through your action plan
  • We’ll help you make the best decisions possible but we are not going to force you to make the decisions we think you should make.
  • We’re going to let you be you and if you bump into a brick wall we’re going to be there to help you.

I choose to see my mastermind participants as empowered adults. I trust them to choose their best path for them. I accept people for who they choose to be. People need to find what works for them – there a million paths to get to any goal. In a mastermind especially members can choose what works best for them.

Planner and coffee

Mastermind Groups and Accountability

Not every mastermind group has a big accountability component. While others are totally about productivity and getting things done. Then there is everything in between.

Here’s what I do in my mastermind groups that meet monthly:

  • What will you do this month? (put your CEO/Strategy hat on)
  • I check in 2 weeks later
  • The group gets the full check-in at the next monthly meeting

Become a Mastermind Facilitator

If you would like to learn more about becoming a mastermind facilitator there are tons of free resources and blog posts on mastermind groups on Karyn’s website that will help.

She also runs live mastermind facilitator training courses a few times a year and has self-paced online courses for starting a mastermind and another for learning mastermind facilitation.

For people who are already running mastermind groups, Karyn runs a mastermind group called Synergy – it’s specifically for people who are facilitating their own mastermind groups.

Karyn Greenstreet

What is your #1 advice for Coaches today?

I believe people need to know what coaching is by experiencing it. My advice to coaches is to get out in front of as many people as you can and offer a free session. Can be 1:1 or a coaching demo to a group of people.

I also think it’s important to get clear on your offering. Ask yourself, “What is the next product or service that my client needs to support the next step?

  1. First, they read my book,
  2. Then they take a class,
  3. Then they fine-tune with some 1:1,
  4. Next, take an advanced class

When your products link to each other, it is much easier to market in a holistic way.

What is your definition of success?

Being a peace with myself and my surroundings. Connected to my core. Family and friends around me to share love and community.
Having work that fulfills me as a human being. My deepest desire is to empower people. Everything I do is about helping people to create a better life. 1;1 with niece and nephew or a group of people.

What are you grateful for?

The opportunity as a spiritual being in a human body to experience all of this – in all of its madness and glory. Constantly in Awe of LIFE!!!

If you could only share 3 truths about life with your nearest and dearest, what would they be?

  1. It goes way faster than you think it’s going to go. Do it now! There might not be a later and if there is it’s here before you know it.
  2. Discover as much as you can, why you were put on this planet. Pick something and try it. If doors keep opening and it’s still in alignment, keep going. Follow your internal voting committee, mind, intuition,
  3. Let go and relax into the change. Be OK with what IS instead of what you think it should be.
Benay Dyor

Benay Dyor

Life's a Journey. I don't always get it right but I'm having FUN! I love helping coach changemakers shine their Light, even more, in the world. I do this through a range of enjoyable projects including Ready-Made Coaching Tools, The Coach Guardian, My Coach Office, and my One-to-one, 4-week, Re-Ignite Program (for tenured Changemakers in Transition).


Benay Dyor

Benay Dyor

Life's a Journey. I don't always get it right but I'm having FUN! I love helping coach changemakers shine their Light, even more, in the world. I do this through a range of enjoyable projects including Ready-Made Coaching Tools, The Coach Guardian, My Coach Office, and my One-to-one, 4-week, Re-Ignite Program (for tenured Changemakers in Transition).


Leave a Reply

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Angelika Matev

    Great interview and article!! Thank you for all the valuable tips and information!!

    1. Benay Dyor

      Happy to hear that you loved it Angelika! Karyn is just AMAZING – such a wealth of information on Mastermind Groups. xox – B

  2. Stephanie

    Terrific article and resource Benay. Thanks!

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