Mixing Worlds

I've been exploring the world of theatral improvisation, and discovering not only how positively constructive it is, but how much it can help us build the confidence we need to face the challenges of the global and multicultural world we live in. A comment I posted on The Cultural Detective website (a great source for seeing things through others' eyes) led to a request for a guest blog post on the subject of using improvisation in the intercultural sphere.

Yes and...

The crux of the matter, and of my blog post, is that by adopting the first precept of improvisation we can open up so many possibilities.  That first rule being a mindset of 'yes, and'.  Yes to what you are saying, and I could imagine taking your idea in such-and-such a direction... It is hard to fathom how powerful that can be, especially as opposed to yes, but or yes, and here is my own take on the situation...

Interested? You can find the blog post here: Cultural Detective: What will they think of me?

How Coaching Impacts the Success of a MasterMind Group

I’ve often been asked about what a Facilitated MasterMind Group really is, or rather, what it really does! It can be an abstract concept to explain as it lends itself to a multitude of uses – individuals working on their own challenges, team-leaders sharing best practices, it can even be used as a model for teams/educators/families to brainstorm and move forward together. Recently I came upon a research report by Frank Farnschlaeder, of Nuremberg, Germany which describes quite nicely the history and purpose of MMG groups. Frank defines a MasterMind group as: "...a form of peer coaching and mentoring group that has gained increasing interest in the recent years”.

He also underlines the added value of coaching in creating success for the group and its members, and his article supports my understanding of 3 areas where coaching makes the difference in a successful MasterMind Group:


Framing the Process

Creative construction

Coaching supplies a structure defining the parameters such as confidentiality, respect and timing, helping to build what Frank calls a supportive group culture. Getting off on the right foot with agreed upon guidelines of communication and attitude are essential to provide an environment conducive to daring and sharing.

Planning and accountability are an important part of the process: MasterMind Groups are established to help members find clarity around a goal they are preoccupied with, explore desired outcomes, create an action plan and follow through on that plan. The coach maintains that process leaving members free to focus on their content.

Coaching tools are the support beams of exploration, choice, and converting ideas into actions.


Holding the Space

Space for growth

When a coach facilitates a MMG, they take on the responsibility for assuring that each participant gets their fair share of time, and shares their ideas with the others as well – something some people are too shy or reticent to do.

The coach also builds the communication model, helping everyone to adopt a coaching mindset of constructive inquiry and opportunity. Some basic rules on giving feedback and sharing ideas provide a fertile environment for growth and development.

The resulting safe space allows everyone an opportunity to test their ideas, actually to hear themselves think and then consider the diverse feedback from the group. It is for each person to pick and choose what is useful to them and what is not.


Stimulating new ways of thinking

Sparking new options

Like spontaneous combustion, members of an MMG generate constructive options and resources for each other. The strength of the group support can provide that missing boost and conviction which can help participants to dare to try.

Specific coaching questions and tools keep each MMG member thinking deeply about what they want to change and build to get them where they want to be. Participants remain owner of their challenge and the choices they make in dealing with it.

I find it is the combination of the coaching process and collective intelligence which creates such a special atmosphere in a Facilitated MasterMind Group. More on collective intelligence coming soon!

Have you participated in a MasterMind Group before? Leave a comment letting me know your experience and if you’d try it again.


Don’t forget! The Early Bird Special is still in effect for my Facilitated MasterMind Group starting in October 2014. Get your project going with other like-minded individuals in a well-tested frame-work to get where you want to be!