There are different schools of thought around what is discussed during coaching sessions. Some subscribe to the idea that the coaching sessions are limited to the specific purpose of the coaching engagement. Others consider it essential to explore all areas. Some progress with a specific purpose for the coaching sessions and are also open to other areas being discussed if they come up. Others start with a big picture understanding and then focus in on a specific purpose.
At the Center for Coaching Certification, the Certified Professional Coach program provides options for each approach. During the coaching practicum, each participant coaches, is coached, and observes coaching for an introductory session and four coaching sessions.
The introductory session is 20 to 30 minutes. It is an opportunity to discover whether the coach and client are a good match and for the client to gain a sense of what coaching is like before moving forward.
Next is an opening session. For coaches who explore all areas for a big picture understanding before focusing in on something specific, the opening session in the class provides this process. Then in session two the focus is on strategizing how to support long-term success. For those that want to coach just for a specific purpose, they skip the big picture exploration of the opening session and strategizing of session two by moving straight into subsequent sessions.
To ensure the full experience of coaching only for a specific purpose, in the class participants change partners for sessions three and four when practicing.
For those that are open to either approach, often they discuss the options with their client and then decide.