This article discusses the relationship between the newly identified learning guide and personal learning. It draws on recent research that has critically examined the role of the personal tutor in secondary schools and colleges. The similarity in the two roles is discussed, and findings that may assist learning guides to have the impact envisioned by policy-makers are highlighted. The quality of personal tutoring is dependent on the educational relationship that is created between the tutor (or learning guide) and the individual learner. Educational relationships need to provide a cordial and encouraging interchange that identifies and considers strategies for learning, criteria for success and an understanding of critical self-assessment. We suggest that an effective learning guide engages in a dialogue which focuses on personal goals, motivational factors and steps for achievement. A positive climate in personal learning sessions is characterized by challenging but realistic expectations and targets. Feedback to students should be clear and specific and stress strategies for improvement.