Increasingly, small, focused groupings—also known as mastermind groups—are being organized and offered by career community builders, executive coaches, and course instructors as another benefit of a paid membership in their community, membership site, or as part of their online courses.
Which makes the need for understanding the best mastermind group platforms all that more urgent.
In this article, we’ll answer the question, “What is a mastermind group” and review what features the best mastermind group platforms have in common. Then, we’ll take a look at a new class of mastermind group software that makes scaling up a series of well-run, well-organized mastermind groups faster, easier, and even more special.
Let’s get started.
What is a mastermind group?
A mastermind group is made up of people who come together on a regular basis to share their goals, workshop new ideas, get perspective and feedback from other smart, equally ambitious peers, and discover new resources they would not have found on their own.
By getting the perspective and wisdom of the others in a peer-to-peer setting, a mastermind group helps each member to expand their thinking, move beyond their own personal world experience, and move towards achieving their own ambitions more quickly and easily than any of us can on our own.
Mastermind groups are pretty versatile, and can work for just about any topic: Think a mastermind group where members of an advanced literature class study and collaborate, or a mastermind group where new moms can connect and share their experiences in a safe space.
As you can see, the benefits of mastermind groups can be pretty far-reaching. With that, let’s dive a little deeper into the benefits of mastermind groups.
A commitment to confidentiality
The first benefit of a mastermind group is a commitment to confidentiality. For any mastermind group to be successful, people need to trust that what they are sharing stays in the group. This simple (but not always easy) agreement means people can get to the heart of real issues quickly and find solutions faster.
A commitment to good communication
Good communication means members share their stories, experiences, and ideas—but they don’t share advice. This may sound counterintuitive to some: Isn’t advice what lets people make better decisions?
As it turns out, people learn best when we share stories and experiences we’ve had with similar situations and challenges. Advice doesn’t make that same connection or help people find solutions for themselves as easily as hearing the story of another member.
A commitment to active participation
This is a big one. The last benefit of a mastermind group is that it acts as an accountability group, where each member is committed to active participation. In fact, no matter the mastermind group software you choose, your group will only work if each member is willing to regularly be involved.
This means both sharing their opportunities and challenges openly, but also collaborating closely with other members as they navigate their own situations, situations where hearing the stories and experiences of others leads to breakthroughs.
These foundational agreements are essential to creating the phenomenal results so many of us get from being a part of a mastermind group. And translating them into requirements for a mastermind group platform becomes clear.
What features should a mastermind group platform have?
Once you decide to kick off your own mastermind group, you’ll have to find a mastermind platform that will offer you and your group members the best experience.
Events and calendar integration
By definition, mastermind groups only work with regularly scheduled in-person or live video virtual meetings. These meetings typically last 60-90 minutes and enable a member to workshop their current challenges and/or opportunities with other members offering their own related stories and experiences that may be helpful.
Live video meetings
Offering your mastermind group virtually means that you can pull together a much more diverse and interesting set of members. With services like Zoom to run live video meetings, choosing a mastermind group platform with close video integration is critical.
To keep in touch between meetings, direct messaging is important to connect the members of a Mastermind Group.
From this minimum set of features, there’s also a new breed of mastermind group platforms designed to enable a creator, coach, entrepreneur, or online course instructor to offer Mastermind Groups as a benefit of membership. On these new platforms, additional features include:
The option to charge for access
The most successful mastermind groups understand that people pay attention to what they pay for. Until very recently, it’s been difficult to charge for a subscription to a mastermind group in the same place you’d run one, whether it’s a community platform, an online course platform, or something else.
Today, new services are integrating the ability to charge for a mastermind group and deliver it on the same platform. This is a pretty important distinction and one to pay attention to in evaluating the best mastermind group software.
The ability to see and match members to individual mastermind groups
With member profiles, messaging, and a scalable groups feature that supports a multiple number of groups in the same place, the best mastermind platforms will allow you to match members to individual mastermind groups based on their location, goals, and backgrounds.
The option to offer exclusive online courses or content
With a shared understanding of a particular methodology, approach, or program, mastermind groups can become even more powerful. In this new breed of software, another benefit of mastermind groups becomes the practical application of new concepts and ideas with the support, encouragement, and shared learning of other members.
The ability to launch Mastermind Groups and other membership benefits on your own website and mobile apps
Lastly, this new breed of mastermind group platforms enable a creator, coach, or course instructor to run their courses, community, content, and mastermind groups with paid subscriptions all in one place, all under their brand, and instantly available on every device. This means that your mastermind groups live in a supported environment beyond the group itself and can be accessed from home or on the go.
Using the above criteria, let’s take a look at the best mastermind group platforms available today.
Slack: The best mastermind group platform for direct messaging
While some long-standing mastermind groups use GroupMe or WhatsApp for direct messaging between meetings, Slack offers the best mastermind group software when you’ve already got your meetings and events handled, and you want a quick and easy way to keep members in touch between sessions.
Why? Because Slack is not only comfortable to many professionals who don’t want to learn a new platform, but it does a few things better than GroupMe or WhatsApp:
Pros of Slack as a mastermind group platform
Channels, threaded messaging, and comments. Slack can organize “channels” and within these channels offer threaded messages and comments. Why do threaded messages and comments matter? Even with eight or 16 people, threaded comments do a better job than one long “single thread” group text of organizing conversations and building deeper relationships.
Video calls. On Slack, you can organize live video calls among multiple members. While the quality and reliability aren’t as strong as Zoom, it’s offered as a built-in feature on their paid plans and can be used for meetings.
Familiarity. Compared to GroupMe or WhatsApp, don’t underestimate the comfort professionals have with using Slack. While its features are limited in many respects, if you just need to keep members in touch between meetings and don’t plan on scaling the number of mastermind groups you’re going to run, it’s the best of your messaging options.
Cons of Slack as a mastermind group platform
No events calendar. You’re going to need to find another way to manage your meetings because there’s not an events feature or calendar within Slack.
No member profiles, matching, or engagement features. Slack assumes members already know each other and are there to get work done. This means your mastermind group doesn’t live within a larger community to pull in new members, doesn’t offer engagement features like polls, questions, and more, nor does it offer a way to scale the impact of your mastermind group when you’re ready to move beyond messaging.
No way to charge. You can’t charge for membership into Slack without rigging up a pretty clunky set of websites, payment gateways, and integration points.
No content, articles, or online courses. Slack doesn’t do content. It’s a messaging platform. This means that your Mastermind Group will be limited to direct messaging.
No branding. While you and your members can use Slack’s great mobile app, you can’t use your own branding, look and feel, web domain, or upgrade to offer your own native mobile apps on iOS or Android like you can on a Mighty Network.
The bottom line: Slack can be useful for a lot of things (connecting remote employees with each other, for one). But as a mastermind group platform, its limitations make it less than ideal.
Mighty Networks: The best all-in-one mastermind group platform
Of the new breed of software platforms built to deliver thriving mastermind groups, a Mighty Network stands head and shoulders above the alternatives. Let’s take a closer look.
Pros of Mighty Networks as a mastermind group platform
You can charge for access to your mastermind group. Mighty Networks is the rare mastermind group platform that allows you to charge for your mastermind groups. In fact, if you’re running your mastermind group within a larger community, you can charge for the latter, too.
Customizable topics, chats, and more. You can also let each mastermind group create their own “topics” or categories for posts and activity, organize group chats, and more. It means that your mastermind members can stay fully present during weekly meetings and stay engaged (and in touch with each other!) in between meetings, too.
Seamless live meetings. Speaking of weekly meetings: With close integration with Zoom and other video meeting platforms, running live meetings on a Mighty Network is smooth and seamless, even though the platform doesn’t have its own live video option at the time of writing.
The tech for articles, polls, questions, and more. In a Mighty Network, you can keep your mastermind group engaged between sessions by posting relevant articles plus polls and questions to get your members more involved.
Your own branding, available on the web, iOS, and Android. You can also add your own branding, including any logos and color schemes. And best of all, A Mighty Network is the only mastermind group software that’s available on the web and iOS and Android apps. So your mastermind group can catch up and check in whenever, from wherever.
Plenty of room to grow. In addition, a Mighty Network offers the ability to run online courses, a larger community, events, and an unlimited number of groups all in one place, all under your brand, and instantly available on the web and as mobile apps.
Cons of Mighty Networks as a mastermind group platform
No native live video… yet. At the moment, Mighty Networks only offers native live video streaming within courses. But it’s something the team is working on and hopes to release soon.
The bottom line: If you’re looking for a flexible, “all-in-one” platform that can deliver beautiful mastermind groups and grow with you as you explore other membership features as well, a Mighty Network is your best bet.
Facebook Groups: The best mastermind group platform for groups with no privacy concerns
Facebook Groups is a popular destination for groups of people with common interests. And it’s often the first mastermind group platform that people use when trying to establish a mastermind group.
Sadly, this also means that some mastermind groups never fully realize the same potential they’ll have when they choose a Mighty Network or Slack.
Why? Because the secret to the best mastermind groups is confidentiality and open sharing. The truth is that people are more hesitant to share within a Facebook Group than they are on a Mighty Network or a Slack team, even when those Facebook Groups are private or secret.
Pros of Facebook Groups as a mastermind group platform
Your mastermind group members probably already have a Facebook account. While they may not be sharing as openly on Facebook as they would on a different platform, your mastermind group members will have the easiest time joining a Facebook Group. This is a blessing and a curse, especially if you value creating a safe and secure space where your members can be vulnerable and navigate challenges together.
You can organize events directly in your group. While there’s video with Facebook live, there’s no ability to bring all of your members together quite yet in the same way you can on Zoom or Google Meet. This may be changing soon, but today it’s a limitation.
Cons of Facebook Groups as a mastermind group platform
You can’t charge for membership. With Facebook Groups, there’s no way to create subgroups within a group, and there’s no way to charge for access to either.
You’ve got the noise and clutter of competing interests. Facebook is a platform expressly designed for distraction. This is inherently at odds with the point and purpose of a mastermind group, which is to enable focus and progress towards goals. A Facebook Group actually makes the latter harder, and it limits what people are willing to share.
No way to put it under your own brand. Sure, you can add the logo for your mastermind group, but you can’t use your own web domain, add more branding, or even upgrade to offering your Mastermind Group on your own native mobile apps.
The bottom line: Using Facebook Groups as a mastermind group platform might be an easy way in, but most people will outgrow it quickly. There’s just no way to cultivate a secure space where members can share their experiences, due to Facebook’s ubiquity. It’s a no for us.
Tribe: The best mastermind group platform for multi-million dollar companies
Tribe touts itself as a customizable community platform for businesses. If you’re heading up a large, established company—we’re talking IBM big—then their “Spaces” feature could very well be a good option to kick off your mastermind group.
Pros of Tribe as a mastermind group platform
Robust customization tools. Tribe allows its users to customize a fair bit within their overall community. You can choose a couple of pre-built layout and header options, plus there are options to customize color palettes and use a custom domain.
Engage members with threaded discussions, questions, and answers. To keep your mastermind group members engaged, Tribe users can take advantage of features like questions and answers, thread-based communication, and more. You can also post articles within your community—a good look to keep your group members engaged between meetings.
Topics for improved organization. Tribe also allows you to build out topics as a way to organize your posts and discussions.
Cons of Tribe as a mastermind group platform
No mobile apps, yet. Tribe promises powerful apps and integrations to help acquire and engage customers, plus make room for automation. But they’re not there quite yet.
No messaging functionality. What if two of your mastermind group members wanted to connect one-on-one, privately? Unfortunately, that option just isn’t possible with Tribe, since it currently doesn’t support any type of messaging or one-on-one private communication.
You can’t charge. You’re working hard on building out this mastermind group — and you deserve to be paid for that hard work. And yet, Tribe doesn’t offer the option to charge natively for access to your mastermind groups. Instead, you’ll have to rely on third-party apps—like Zapier and Stripe—to charge for access.
The bottom line: Although Tribe offers some solid basics, it’s not strong enough on its own to work as a robust mastermind group platform. There are limited options for members to connect with one another, and you’ll have to bring in outside integrations to charge for your group.
The best mastermind group software? Mighty Networks
When looking at the criteria for creating a thriving mastermind group, it’s hard to see how the best of the new breed of software platforms designed to deliver Mastermind Groups isn’t the winner compared to Slack, Facebook Groups, or other platforms built for a broader, more generic purpose of direct messaging or passive interests.
As a result, we recommend a Mighty Network for its breadth of features and flexibility offered all in one place, under your brand, with instant availability on every platform. And chances are, your mastermind group members will love it, too.