Life Coach C.J. Liu – Career as a Life Coach

Name: C.J. Liu
Job Title: Life Coach
Where: Seattle, WA
Employer: Self
Years of Experience: 3-4 years
Education: ICF-Certified – Academy for Coach Training, MBA – Haas School of Business, B.A. – Mathematics and Economics – Duke University, Certified – Neuro-Linguistic Programming
Salary: The salary of a life coach varies depending on location, experience, and specialty

Career as a Life Coach

One of the hottest job fields these days is coaching, not football or baseball, but rather business professional life coaching and personal life coaching. More and more people are seeking out life coach  careers, serving clients who need personal or professional guidance. Some coaches even work as both life and business coaches; C.J. Liu is one of those dual talents. She recently talked to Payscale (in an audio interview, above) about her path to becoming a life coach, her life coach career and life coaching techniques.

Because a life coach career is a relatively new concept in the marketplace, the salaries of life coaches can vary. As mentioned in Dr. Salary, the salary of a life coach can add up to six-figures annually. If you’re wondering about becoming a life coach, what it would be like to have a career as a life coach, or what steps to take toward life coach training, keep reading for a few tips from a certified professional.

How long have you been a life and business coach?

I’ve been coaching for probably about 3 to 4 years, depending on how you define it. When I was at Microsoft, I was doing business coaching and in the last year and a half I’ve been doing life coaching.

What’s the difference between business professional life coaching and personal life coaching?

There’s not that much difference in terms of what you do and what your responsibility is. The difference is, it’s probably hard for a life coach to be a business coach if they haven’t had any business experience. I think probably a lot of people could be life coaches because they have had life experience, but if I’m working with someone who is saying, “I need strategic planning and I need someone to help me in this one area,” then it helps that I’ve had business experience because I guide them by asking specific questions that are relevant.

What kind of people come to you for personal life coaching?

It’s an interesting question, a whole gamut of people, I talked to someone who used to be a nun, another who was a personal chef. I’ve talked to lawyers, accountants, people who own their own businesses, people who are in the high-tech industry, just every single industry, every single position you could imagine, I’ve talked to them.

Say I’m a personal chef, what kind of successful life coaching would you give to me?

Life coaching is not so much about giving advice, as it is about trying to help a particular person with an issue that they may be facing. In this case, a chef who wanted to move her business to a different location, so she needed some business planning to go about doing this.

I had a school teacher, a very gifted Julliard pianist, who decided that he wanted to go into the corporate world, and then realized he wanted to keep on doing what he was doing. He loved it and what he really needed to do was figure out a way to make more money. So through our work together, we were able to get him a 30K raise. And that was really just about marketing. This guy was incredibly talented; it was taking all his skills and packaging them up in a way that we could actually market to a new school that would pay him.

It was really simple things, just working on his resume, fighting for what he is worth; often times people don’t fight for what they are worth. I’d say, “Go in there; make sure you get this money. Don’t say, ‘I may get this money.’ Go for the largest amount because that’s what we set our goal at.” Often times it’s half-marketing, half-positioning, interviewing and just having the confidence in knowing that you’re worth the extra money.

During your life coach career, who has been your most interesting client?

I had a client who was in a PR agency and she decided to become an artist, which is a pretty big jump in salary, I mean, that’s a huge risk to make those kinds of moves. It’s really inspiring to see someone overcome their fears to do something that is so meaningful to their heart; there’s nothing more inspiring than to see that. I see how much joy that person has because they’re doing something congruent to their soul, so it’s joyful from that experience and it’s also joyful to know that I helped them get more in touch with their soul.

Also, I worked with one guy to find his ideal mate. It seems kinda like no big deal, but this is a person who’s been single for I don’t know (how long); very eligible gentlemen, a guy who all the women would love to be married to and he was out on the market forever, like 15- 20 years. For him to say, “I finally found someone I feel I could marry,” that’s a huge thing, a huge inspirational very happy moment for me.

I’m going to a bar tonight and I’ll probably talk to some ladies there. What are some life coaching techniques to help me gain rapport with the ladies?

I think just really listening to what the person is saying and reflecting back to them what they are saying really helps a lot. It’s like “I just had the worst day.” “You’ve had the worst day, huh?” “Yes, I have.” “Hmmm…” Women dig listening. They like that. Don’t ask “why.” “Why” puts the person on the defensive.

Why, err, “how” is your salary faring these days? Find out with our salary calculator.