Personal Coaching is a term generally used in the fields of business, executive, life, dating and career coaching to differentiate the coaching process from the more popular connotation of sports coaching. However, sports and personal coaching have the same origin.

Personal Coaching is a relationship which is designed and defined in a relationship agreement between a client and a coach. It is based on the client's expressed interests, goals, and objectives.

Personal Coaching is a learning process. A Personal Coach may use inquiry, reflection, requests and discussion to help clients identify personal and/or business and/or relationship goals, develop strategies, relationships and action plans intended to achieve those goals. A coach provides a place for clients to be held accountable to themselves by monitoring the clients' progress towards implementation of their action plans. Together they evolve and modify the plan to best suit the client's needs and environmental relationships. A Personal Coach acts as a human mirror for clients by sharing an outside and unbiased perspective on what they are observing about their clients. A Personal Coach may teach specific insights and skills to empower the client toward their goals. Finally, a Personal Coach encourages the client to celebrate the achievement of milestones and goals.

Clients are responsible for their own achievements and success. The client takes action; and the coach may assist, but never leads or does more than the client. Therefore, a coach cannot and does not promise that a client will take any specific action or attain specific goals.

Personal Coaching is not counseling, therapy or consulting. These different skill sets and approaches to change may be adjunct skills and professions. The Personal Coach recognizes his/her limitations, and refers the client for other services as ethically required.

There are several organizations that provide certification systems for personal coaches. Some of these organizations also accredit coach training organizations. In North America the terms "certification" or "certified" typically refer to an individual who has achieved certain standards, and the terms "accreditation" or "accredited" typically refer to an organization (school) that has achieved certain standards. However, in Europe the term "accredited" is often used to describe an individual who has achieved a certain level of proficiency.

The International Coach Federation (ICF) both certifies coaches and accredits coaching schools. Some experts believe this is a conflict of interest, but the ICF has not responded to this charge. In Europe the European Coaching Institute accredits coaches, and the European Mentoring and Coaching Council "accredits" organizations. The International Association of Coaches (IAC) and the Association for Coaching (AC) both provide a certification system for coaches. The Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC) provides a certification system for business or executive coaches and is also launching an accrediting system for business/executive coach training programs.

Several other organizations are also associated with coaching, including the International Association of Career Coaches, the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations, the Association for Professional Executive Coaching and Supervision, the Australasian Institute fo Professional Coaches, The ADHD Coaches Organization, the Peer Resources Network, the Christian Coaches Network, and the Creativity Coaching Association.

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Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Personal Accountability. The Official Guide to Personal Accountability is Jay Fiset. Jay Fiset is a powerful speaker, a risk-taker, and a leader who reaches his goals by assisting others to achieve theirs. He has over 20,000 hours experience conducting personal development seminars. His company, Personal Best Seminars, is a leading seminar company that provides workshops promoting self awareness and stimulating personal growth. Jay enjoys living life to the fullest. He continually challenges himself and expands his comfort zone by participating in such activities as bungee jumping, sky diving, and fire walking.

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