Home Marketing Best Practices The Diffusion of Innovation: A Coaching Framework

The Diffusion of Innovation: A Coaching Framework

36 min read

What kind of issues are those in the Early Majority likely to bring up in coaching. First, the Early Majority client is likely to be attracted to the domain of information. They not only want evidence that coaching can be of value, they want evidence about everything before moving forward. The Early Majority are often trapped by “analysis paralysis.” They keep waiting for sufficient evidence to be accumulated so that risks are minimal. They don’t want to be surprised. They are settlers who move West only after the pioneers have mapped out the territory and blazed a trail that is clearly marked. An organizational coach will often have to nudge their Early Majority client forward and help them identify one or more compelling reasons to take a risk and move forward. These compelling reasons reside in the domain of intentions. The Early Majority are motivated first and foremost by security. This is their career anchor (to use Edgar Schein’s term) (Schein, 2006). This, however, is not their only anchor. What stirs their passion other than just security—perhaps technical/functional competence, general managerial competence or even service to other people (to mention three of Schein’s other anchors)? “What are the important rewards that you (the client) envision will be waiting for you at the end of this journey?” “In what way(s) is the journey itself going to be rewarding?” Many organizational coaches who provide personal coaching will be particularly effective in helping the Early Majority client move forward.

Several dynamics are unique to the Early Majority client. First, reasoning is highly valued by most members of the Early Majority. They not only like to linger in the domain of information, they also like to set this information in clear and tidy categories. However, with the encouragement of their coach, Early Majority clients also need to trust and honor their own intuition—as Jonah Lehrer (2009) suggests in his provocative book, How We Decide. Second, the Early Majority client needs to know that she is not alone. She wants to know that she is in the Early Majority rather than being an isolated outlier. She wants to settle in a community, not live alone out in the wilderness. An effective coach will help his client find an enduring support network.

Third, in keeping with their orientation toward rationality and information, the Early Majority client is likely to be quite tactical in their approach to problems they are confronting in the organization. As settlers rather than explorers or pioneers, they will look to short-term, low-risk solutions to their problems. They are unlikely to project very far into the future nor look very far beyond their own settlement. An effective coach should encourage these reticent clients to engage in more strategic thinking—to look a bit more into the future and at the big picture. This does not necessarily mean taking more risks, but it does mean examining and reflecting on how various elements of their organization fit together and how the actions they do take impact on other parts of the organization (thereby appealing to their desire to be rational and information-based).

Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Download Article 1K Club
Load More Related Articles
Load More By William Bergquist
Load More In Best Practices


  1. Gary B Cohen

    November 24, 2011 at 12:02 am

    William great insight I reposted your article on Board of School Superintendents website and CO2 Partners. I found it interesting how you connected the way each stage of diffusion of innovation shows up differently for a coach. I certainly have found this to be true just never connected with innovators model. Great stuff. Thank you for sharing.


  2. Anonymous

    November 30, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Gary: Thank you for your appreciative comments. I hope your School Superintendent colleagues find this to be of value. Obviously, the dynamics associated with the diffusion of educational innovations in our school systems are critical and coaching can be of great value to these hardworking superintendents. Bill Bergquist


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Section Three: Leadership Development and Coaching in Organizations

A Comprehensive Perspective on Leadership Development In promoting a systemic approach to …