Everyone Does Better With A Coach

What sets a team of average players apart from a championship team? The Coach! A good coach helps his players perform at a higher level than they realize possible.

A coach helps maximize performance. A good coach will stretch, push, encourage and develop their team.  Jim Wideman does that and much more with his ministry coaching INFUSE.

In February 2015, I started six months of coaching with Jim Wideman.  Several years latter, I’m still amazed by how much I grew in such a short amount of time.  My ability to see the big picture, my capacity to lead and my desire to stretch and grow are just a few of the results of my time in Infuse.

If you want to take your leadership and ministry to the next level, if you want to get more done in less time, if you want to lead more effectively than you need to sign up for INFUSE.

I want to share from my experience in the program some tips on how you can get the most out of your time with Brother Jim.

  1. Buy into the process.

Jim always says, “Everyone does better with a coach.” It doesn’t matter the size of your ministry, how old you are, or if you feel like you are already doing great, you will benefit from Infuse.

If you want to achieve more, have extraordinary results; you will not find one way that will help you do that more, than participating in Infuse.

  1. Have skin in the game.

Some churches will pay for their staff member to go through the program. Personally, the best thing for me was to pay for a portion of Infuse. Because my family had skin in the game, I approached Infuse differently.

I had to get the most out of the program because my family made a sacrifice to participate.

  1. Treat Infuse like a masters program.

Schedule time every day for Infuse. Schedule time to:

  • Post online, ask questions and do assignments
  • Read the assigned work on or before the due dates
  • Capture what you are learning in a trusted source
  • Evaluate what you are learning on a regular basis
  • Implement what you have learned at a pace that will not kill your team.
  1. Don’t give into the temptation to disengage.

I watched as people started strong and lost focus and disappeared. They stopped engaging in the program. My advice: If you apply what you are learning as you learn it, it will give you the capacity to do everything required in ministry and stay engaged in Infuse.

  1. Don’t try to apply everything you are learning all at once, Prioritize!

The best part of Infuse is that you get to hear from Jim, his coaches, and all of the others in the program. You are going to walk away with more ideas, best practices, and suggestions than you know what to do with. Pace yourself. As Jim says, “It’s not a pill, it’s a process.”

Your team is going to be overwhelmed if you start applying everything you are learning all at once.  Pace yourself, prioritize and move at a pace that your team can keep up with the changes.

  1. Think of Jim like your direct supervisor.

For me, this meant when Jim posted a question or an assignment, I attacked it with the same tenacity that I would have if my Senior Pastor had given me a direct assignment.

In my ministry, I schedule time to be interrupted by my boss. I make any request from him the most important thing I have to do. Jim says it this way; “I have no other problems than my Pastors problems.” I did the same thing with Infuse. I built margin into my schedule so that I could work on assignments from Jim in a timely manner.

  1. Learn the tools. 

The Kidmincoach.me site is the heart of Infuse.  (If you’re not a member use the promo code “Get10” to save 10%.)  Before the program ever starts, learn the site. If you wait to learn the tools until the coaching is underway, you are going to fall behind.

  • Learn how to add a post, ask a question, or interact with others.
  • Post something to the site early in the program. This breaks the ice and gets you comfortable with the functions of the site.
  • Learn how the notifications work. Make sure that you will be notified if Brother Jim starts a discussion or if someone else in the group asks a question or makes a comment. It’s a horrible feeling to log in and realize you have missed three weeks of discussion.
  • Know the privacy settings. Who’s able to see what you are posting? Infuse is an opportunity for you to let your guard down and to be transparent. Make sure that your settings are set-up correctly.
  • Set a daily and weekly goal of how often you will visit the site and post.
  • Learn to navigate the site from your mobile device. I wouldn’t make this your primary way of interaction, but if you don’t know how to do it, you will be at a disadvantage.

Learn how to interact with zoom.us. This is where the live calls take place.

  • Create a free account.
  • Test your audio and video before the live calls.
  • Enter the meeting early and be ready to go when the group call begins.
  1. Ask lots of questions.

The quality of your questions are an indication of what you are learning and applying.

  • Keep a notebook with a list of questions.
  • Ask questions that are specific to your ministry.
  • Ask questions to the coaches and other Infusers.
  • Never hesitate to ask a question. If you don’t know what to do, ask a question.
  • If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification.
  • Those who get the most out of Infuse ask the most questions.
  1. Create a system to capture what you are learning.

You’re about to drink from a fire hydrant. You can’t do everything, so you need a way to capture what is most important to you. Have a system and schedule, and refer to it often. For me, I used Evernote.com. I still refer back to my notes years later.

  1. Start reading or re-reading Jim’s books.

This will give you a jumpstart into how Jim thinks.  It will also generate more questions.  You can ask how to apply something in a book to your specific situation.  You can ask WHY Jim chose to do something the way that he did.

  1. Show your church the value of Infuse.

Your church is making a sacrifice for you to participate in INFUSE.  Even if you’re paying for 100% of everything by allowing you to attend the retreats and carve time for the calls there is a sacrifice being made.  Help your church and leadership above you see the value.

  • Be transparent about what you are learning. When you receive praise for something, remind them of the coaching, it will make opportunity to continue with Infuse plus.
  • At the same time, don’t expect everyone on your team to have the same knowledge that you have received from Infuse. Know that some will be intimidated by your new passion and growth. Be steady and confident.
  • Remember, even if you are paying 100% for INFUSE, your church is making a sacrifice by letting you attend the retreats. Make sure they know the sacrifice is worth it.
  1. Tips for the calls and retreats.

  • Buy a headset for the calls. Others in your group will be able to hear you better during the video calls.
  • Don’t miss the calls or retreats. Seems like a no-brainer. Make them a priority and block them out on your calendar as soon as you sign up.
  • Print the agendas and teaching notes for the calls and retreats and have them in front of you.
  • Before the retreat: create a contact in your phone for each restaurant and gathering place. This will help you more than you know.
  • Stay in the suggested hotels. If it’s not on the list, there’s a reason. Unless you’re OK with bed bugs. There’s a story here.
  • Plan flight, hotel, and transportation early. Look for people to share a rental car, or hotel room with. This saves money and creates greater opportunity to build lasting relationships.
  • Get to know everyone in Infuse. Get their contact info and realize some will become close friends, others won’t. There’s nothing wrong with that.
  • Listen more than you speak. You might be an expert in something, or think you are, that’s great. This just isn’t the place to show off your expertise.
  • Look for ways to serve Jim.
  • Hold other Infuser’s accountable, pray for each other, share resources, and look for opportunities to build lasting friendships.
  1. Best practices.

  • Take advantage of the times Jim gives his cell number and says, “Call me.”
  • Stay engaged every day. If you keep up on the posts daily, you won’t get overwhelmed. If you let days, or weeks go by you, will be in trouble.
  • Be intentional and schedule time to visit the site and engage in the program.
  • Know what you want to get out of the program and go after it.
  • Don’t allow the urgent of your daily life to overshadow the importance of Infuse.
  • Take advantage of every opportunity.
  • Make networking a priority.
  • Don’t play the game of comparison, come to learn and be humble.
  • Engage with the coaches. Each of them has the heart of Jim, and has been chosen to be a coach for a reason. The coaches are more accessible than Jim is, so engage them through email, text, calls, and the website.

Infuse is an opportunity to hear from a father of children’s ministry. As one of Jim’s Infusers, you get a chance to learn from his wins and losses. You get a peak at his championship playbook; you get to walk out what you learn through the context of relationship with him and the team that he has surrounded himself with.

Final thought: You are going to be a better leader, Pastor, parent, employee as a result of this time with Jim. Look for opportunities to give back to Brother Jim and Infuse. Remember to pray for him, look for opportunities to use your new found capacity to do more to serve Jim and this process so that in continues to bless and help future leaders in need of a coach.

QUESTION: If you have gone through Infuse, in what area did you grow the most? Leave a comment so others can see the impact Infuse can have.

Past Infusers, what else would you add to this list of tips on how to get the most out of INFUSE?

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About the Author

Andrew VanDerLinden

Andrew is the Executive Pastor at Community Church in Eastern PA.

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