As serial entrepreneurs, we often need help at times to set and reach our business goals. I’ve tried various ways to achieve more, faster, often with the help of coaches, mastermind groups and accountability partners. As a strategic business coach who also helps people match up as accountability partners, I know these offerings at times overlap too. But each is meant to satisfy different needs at different times.
By fully understanding what each offers, you can decide which one you need at any particular time.
A coach is usually an expert in the area you wish to master. Just as a sports coach helps improve sports performance, a business coach can do the same for your business. Most entrepreneurs hire business coaches from time to time, and the best ones are often experts in the type of business you want to master.
You generally speak with your coach once a week, though the frequency varies widely, to track your progress, get guidance on what to do next and set weekly goals.
But keep in mind not all coaches are the same. When choosing a coach, you want to find someone who is experienced in what you want to do and has a proven track record. The right coach can significantly shorten your learning curve with the know-how of having already achieved what you want to achieve. Most coaches are contracted over months or years at a time, so choose wisely. Some coaches have specific outcomes of their work, while others are more generalized in what they provide.
2. Mastermind Group
A mastermind group is a group of people who share common goals with varying skill sets. Like coaches, they often meet once a week, but unlike coaches, there is usually no one designated mentor. Mastermind groups consist of equal partners sharing goals, progress and ideas. Everyone has time to share their own progress as well as give feedback to others. Mastermind groups are great at connecting people and fostering long-term business partnerships and joint ventures. Though it’s more about the social connection than the coaching, a great mastermind connection could be worth a fortune.
Napoleon Hill described a mastermind group as “the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” Though he is often credited with having originated the concept, mastermind groups were actually in existence long before. Benjamin Franklin, for instance, would meet with his group, The Junto, every Friday night. Each week he would ask the group two questions:
“Who is thriving and why?”
“How might they be emulated?”
3. Accountability Partner
Accountability partners, as the name implies, hold each other accountable, usually to the same goal. They set goals and track progress, but more than that, they keep each other accountable for meeting those goals.
For example, say you are starting an exercise regime. The ideal accountability partner would be someone who is also participating in the same regime. You and your accountability partner would check in with each other daily, weekly or at whatever frequency you agree upon, to make sure that you are meeting your goals, as well as to share wins and struggles. You could do the same for weight loss, for business or for anything of which you might need that extra layer of accountability.
How about that online course you invested in but sits on your hard drive untouched? You purchase a course with every intention to complete it, but things come up, and other more pressing matters demand your attention. If you really want to complete that course, make it a pressing matter as well by getting yourself an accountability partner who has a similar desire to finish that course or complete something else they have hesitated to do.
So What’s The Difference?
When you need to accelerate your learning curve, a coach who has already mastered what you want to do might be best for you. If you want to work with like-minded people and build connections that you don’t currently have, a mastermind may be right for you. And, if you know what you need to do, but find yourself at times not doing it, an accountability partner may be your best bet.
Just remember, no matter which direction you take, it’s still your responsibility to act on the guidance you receive to accomplish your goals.