If you’ve never been involved in a true mastermind collaboration, you’d be totally forgiven for thinking it’s the same as a group coaching program.

In fact, you’d be in good company. 

It’s really common to see the two terms – mastermind and group coaching – used interchangeably in the online space, sometimes even by those who should be in the know. 

But this isn’t a ‘potayto, potahto’ situation.  

These terms are distinct from each other, and it’s important to understand their distinction beyond a marketing aspect. 

Their seemingly minor differences can add up to major legal headaches if you’re unclear on which is which. 

**Real quick before we jump in: 

Everything I share is legal education and information. It’s not business, financial, or legal advice, and it doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship between us. 

Defining a Mastermind vs Group Coaching

 A mastermind is a small group of peers who meet to give each other advice and support on any number of things.  

You’re on both the giving and receiving ends of the advice and support in a mastermind. 

And you’ll likely spend time brainstorming, “thinking out loud,” and even dealing with personal issues that come up.  

It’s also important to note that a mastermind typically doesn’t include a structured curriculum.  

Basically, it’s a masterclass where everyone’s the teacher. 

Group coaching, on the other hand, has one single mentor (the coach) providing guidance and advice to everyone else in the group. 

You might be in the “hot seat” (or, more progressively, “the support seat”) and have some personalized, 1:1 help at some point… 

But it’s likely only the coach will weigh in on that.

Good programs generally have a predefined curriculum designed to address specific goals and provide a structured learning experience that the participants are aware of going into it. 

Group coaching requires participation. 

Just not the same level of participation – from everyone who isn’t the coach – as a mastermind group.

Legal requirements of masterminds vs. group coaching

Once you know the difference, you can see how it would matter for your legal agreement, right? 

A mastermind agreement should cover the facilitation of creativity and support, not only between YOU and the members of your mastermind group but between members, too.  

It should include: 

–Terms for the Facilitation of your mastermind

–Details for payments due



And a few other important things that will CYA as you run these programs.

You’ll also want to outline your involvement in the mastermind and spell out that this is NOT 1:1 or group coaching-style mentoring.  

A group coaching agreement should cover you as the sole mentor or guide for the entire group and address the different aspects of what’s expected between members and of yourself. 

It should include:

–The scope of services that will be provided

–Details for payments due



Which should be distinct from the terms outlined in a mastermind agreement and should also be completely distinct from one coach’s group program to another. 

(An important reminder that you want to be tailoring your legal agreements to suit your business, not copying and pasting from another coach, no matter how close a collaborator they may be.)

Get clear on what you offer

When it comes to personal and professional development, masterminds and group coaching are both popular options. 

And they each have their place in helping individuals who seek guidance, support, and growth. 

(Often at different stages or with different end goals in mind). 

There isn’t one “best” choice in terms of which works for what purpose, but I’d bet there’s a best choice for you, your coaching or facilitation style, and your audience. 

What matters most from my perspective as an attorney, is that you nail down which of the 2 terms best describes your offer. 

To cover yourself from a legal standpoint. 

After all, you want to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into before you start signing contracts, right? 

And if you need help, we’ve got you covered with templates for your Mastermind and Group Coaching Agreements in the shop.


Learn even more about protecting your business when you join the list of exclusive listeners of the Uncomplicating Trademarks podcast. 


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