"You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with." -Jim Rohn

One of the most powerful ways for leaders to accelerate their success is to be a member of a mastermind group. A mastermind group is comprised of typically five to seven leaders who meet on a regular basis to share ideas, challenges, brainstorm, receive feedback, as well as share contacts and resources. The group is designed to help members navigate quandaries through the collective intelligence of others. Because effective groups abide by confidentiality and trust, members feel they can discuss sensitive topics such as employee issues, new ventures, or sticky customer situations which they normally would avoid discussing with others.

Here are five benefits of Mastermind Groups:

1. Sounding Board and Support: The group is like a think tank where you can flush out ideas, problems, or opportunities. It provides a safe forum where you can process a complex situation or decision, devise a course of action or glean awareness to view it from a different perspective. The collective insights and experience of the group aids in finding solutions to many business and personal matters that you normally would not come up with on your own.

2. Challenge to Think Bigger: Because members have your best interest in mind, they will challenge you to stretch beyond your comfort zone and self-imposed limits. When you are surrounded by amazing people doing amazing things, you naturally become inspired to think bigger and move past your boundaries.

3. Feedback: It is extremely hard to see your own blind spots. Since the members are there to help each other, they will offer truthful feedback. They are trusted advisors and confidants that will candidly express constructive feedback which most leaders do not get in today's work world.

4. Accountability: Day to day complex business demands can distract you from focusing on your priorities. The group will keep you accountable to your commitments because you will be expected to report your progress at each meeting.

5. New Business Approaches: Mastermind members bring unique skills, wisdom and expertise to the group. They will freely share with you how to avoid costly mistakes based on their own personal experiences. The group becomes a learning hub where members share resources, networks, processes, systems and ways of thinking which can exponentially enhance your business success.

"Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher." -Oprah Winfrey

Pam Solberg-Tapper, president of Coach for Success Inc., is a Duluth-based executive coach, mastermind facilitator, professional speaker and adventure marathoner. For questions or to submit questions or ideas for future columns, please contact her at pam@coachforsuccess.com or 218-729-0772.