Coach’s Notebook

UTD Mastermind Groups
Article for UTD Coaching News
July 2012
“Third Anniversary of the UTD Mastermind Groups”
By Mario Flores

In August, the UTD Mastermind Groups will begin the 3rd year of providing a regular forum that meets quarterly to discuss coaching issues and share ideas with coaches that have graduated with the same coach training from the UTD Executive & Professional Coaching Program. As the founder of the UTD Mastermind Groups, Mario Flores, President of Top Notch Coaching, LLC and a UTD graduate of cohort 6B, launched this initiative in August 2010 and now there are more than 80 UTD graduated coaches from every graduating cohort, domestic and international, in the alumni-based UTD Mastermind Groups. There are two groups, one for external coaches and one for internal coaches. The External Mastermind Group is for those participants who have their own coaching services business, are part of a business who offers coaching services or have an interest in learning more about coaching in one of these two environments. The Internal Mastermind Group is for those participants who coach inside an organization. Their coaching may or may not be their only functional responsibility. External coaches may join the Internal Mastermind Group as well because they have an interest in learning more about coaching inside an organization. Internal coaches may join the External Mastermind Group as well because they may have either a goal to coach external to their internal coaching environment or learn of best practices that may be applied within their organization.

The UTD Mastermind Groups meet quarterly for one hour at predetermined times. The External Group meets the first Thursday of the second month in a quarter from Noon-1:00 P.M. CST. The Internal Group meets the second Wednesday of the first month in a quarter from 5:30 P.M.-6:30 P.M. CST.

A relevant and rich set of coaching issues, topics and ideas are discussed and shared among the participants. Real life coaching issues and topics are selected by the coaches. The live quarterly meetings are recorded and afford the coaches the opportunity to go back and listen to topics or issues of interest or if a meeting is missed, the coach can still listen to the meeting contents and benefit. In addition to the quarterly meetings, recommended reading lists are available on UTD Blackboard, which the participant has access to upon joining the UTD Mastermind Groups. In addition to the quarterly meetings, the UTD Mastermind Groups host special presentations with UTD Executive & Professional Coaching faculty and other coaching leaders speaking on leading edge coaching-related topics.

The UTD Mastermind Groups provide many benefits including:

  • Providing a student an opportunity after graduation for (1) continuity with relationships established in their cohort, (2) common issue identification, and (3) idea sharing that addresses their real life issues after graduation.
  • Improving the closure of a cohort’s life cycle by providing a transitional bridge from the ACTP to the ICF certification process and to the real-life application of coaching.
  • Counting as ICF Continuing Coach Education (CCE) Credit.
  • A forum for continual learning, whether it is re-sharpening the saw or exposure to leading edge thinking and dialogue.
  • A win/win condition created between the UTD Program and its graduating students. “We care what happens to you after the Program.”

The following are some graduating student testimonials:

“The UTD Internal Coaching Mastermind Group is an extremely valuable networking and benchmarking opportunity. I have learned a great deal from my internal coach colleagues that will be of use in my own internal practice within my organization.”—Bill Behrendt, PhD- Vice President for Human Resources, UT Southwestern Medical Center

“The UTD External Coaching Mastermind calls are exceptionally valuable exchanges of ideas, experience and knowledge with practical applications. The calls provide any coach who wishes to continue to grow and learn an hour jammed packed with opportunities.”—Fred Halstead, Halstead Executive Coaching, LLC

“Participating in the UTD Internal Coaching Mastermind Group allows me to compare notes and share strategies with my peers. As an internal coach, it’s very easy to allow yourself to get isolated and siloed in your own culture. Learning about the issues of coaching in different corporate environments gives me a fresh perspective and lets me calibrate and compare my challenges with those of other internal coaches.” – Laura Robinson, Director of Employee Development, Transamerica Life and Protection


Mario Flores is founder and President of Top Notch Coaching, LLC, an executive and professional business coaching company specializing in Leadership Coaching for the Financial Executive and Financial Professional. As an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coach Federation (ICF), he is an experienced Executive and Professional coach in both “for-profit” and “non-profit” environments. Mario’s core competencies include coaching, leadership, business acumen, strategic thinking for results-driven execution, multi-functional and end-to-end process viewpoints, and an understanding of the development of the “Professional to Business Partner to Business Leader” evolution.