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

The Diffusion of Innovation: A Coaching Framework

36 min read

Early Majority/Settlers

The next two diffusion categories are filled with men and women who are less likely to request professional coaching services—and when they do request these services it is often for the wrong reasons. The coach must be particularly careful when working on the coaching contract with those in the Early and Late Majority. This is usually a high priority for a coaching client who is in the Early Majority. These men and women generally prefer clarity and consistency—after all they want to settle down in a safe place rather than venturing forth into new territory. The Early Majority also like to see evidence that new ideas are valid and proven—so if they are attracted to coaching it is because some respected leaders in their organization have demonstrated (or at least accepted) the value inherent in coaching (the so-called return-on-investment). The Early Majority often ask for coaching because something new (innovation) has happened in their organization and they want to adjust to this change. They are good “organization men” and “organization women” (to use an old phrase from the mid-20th Century) and want to cooperate and adapt to the changing conditions in their organization. Like the settlers on the frontier, they are primarily in the business of surviving in an environment that can sometimes seem quite hostile.

Two challenges are immediately apparent with regard to the coaching of someone in the Early Majority. First, the Early Majority need to be convinced that they should use a coach. They want to see the evidence that coaching can be of value to them. Second, the coach needs to assess the unique issues that Early Majority clients are likely to bring up in coaching sessions. Let’s turn to the first of these two challenges. Members of the Early Majority are much more selective than the Early Adopters. They want some proof before making a commitment to anything—product or service. How do I know that this product will work? Can you assure me that this service will be effective and of value to me? Do we have any evidence that this product or service is worth the money we will have to spend in order to bring it to market? In populating the American West, these are the settlers who wait until they know that there is something to settle into. They wait for reports from the pioneers and check to see if these reports are accurate. They look to the Lewis and Clarks of their world to provide credible accounts of the “true” West.

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 …