The difference between personal coaching and coaching can be made clear in considering that the concept of a personal coach is similar to the concept of a personal sports trainer; the coaching offered very much focuses on the needs of the individual; it is driven by the individual and often looks holistically at that person's needs as opposed to being purely work related. With an increased emphasis on the importance of achieving work/life balance, encouraging individual learners to acknowledge and address the opportunities and challenges in their overall personal development is becoming more important and appropriate.
Often a plan is worked out between the coach and the participant, which sets personal goals and targets and enables the participant to prepare for and take control of challenging situations. It is often very proactive and the relationship is built up over a period of time, which enables the coach to really develop a support and challenge approach.
Being a personal coach is like accompanying someone on a journey; in this way being described as a personal guide could be more accurate. As in any journey it is important to prepare, to have an overall sense of direction and then to build in special stepping stones. In acting as a guide there is the need to recognize that at certain times the individual will want 'guidance', and at other times will be ready to enjoy a process of self-discovery. Coaches have a responsibility to get close to their learners and to help them to know themselves.
By understanding how people learn and building that knowledge in those whom they coach, coaches are actively demonstrating the saying, 'Give a man a rod and teach him to fish.'