Lisa Stephen, PhD, ACC
As a coach, I am passionate about helping people change and grow. I hold a master’s degree from Boston College and a PhD from Michigan State University in counseling psychology. I chose these programs specifically because each focused on positive psychology and offered rigorous training in a strength-based approach to the practice of psychology. In addition, I was able to specialize in the psychology of women as well as work with adolescents, college students, and adults. I have over 30 years of experience helping clients improve their mental health as they pursue their personal and career goals.
In 2017, I began training as a coach with the College of Executive Coaching. I also began my coaching career helping clients to reach their personal, career, health and wellness, and performance goals. In 2019, I earned the associate certified coach (ACC) credential through the International Coaching Federation.
When I reflect on my education, I first think about my two grandfathers, rather than the degrees and credentials I have earned. One grandfather, who immigrated to the US from Scotland thinking the streets were paved in gold, emphasized the value of formal education. He repeatedly asked me thought-provoking questions and then, through those discussions, highlighted the importance of formal education. The other, a first-generation Italian–American, was my first teacher in positive psychology. The impact of the quality of thought on emotion, behavior, and performance has fascinated me for as long as I can remember.
One of my earliest memories is of my grandpa telling me to “shake those bad thoughts” out of my head as he taught me to replace them with healthy thoughts. He taught me to meditate, use imagery, and develop a gratitude practice even though he had no idea what those things were. With my grandfather’s help, I developed my own peak performance plan to manage my anxiety and improve my dance performance by the time I was 12 years old, and it worked! It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I learned about positive psychology and performance psychology, and I was immediately hooked. I integrated what I learned in my own life with my formal education and then built on that foundation to develop my coaching services.
My grandfathers were very different people, and in many ways, I became a blend of both of them. While I am committed to continuing education, my approach as a coach is practical, genuine, and collaborative. The information I learn is only useful if it can be applied in a straightforward manner to help clients create the meaning, purpose, and change they are seeking in their lives.
Every service I provide is evidence-based and customized. My clients describe me as a deeply empathic, active listener who asks powerful questions and offers astute observations. The client leads the way, and I act as a thought partner as I help them develop goals and action steps to create the meaningful change they are seeking in their lives. Through the process, clients experience unexpected insights and discoveries about who they are and how they want to grow and change. Clients also describe me as funny, and I like to think I have a great sense of humor!
Having achieved the ACC credential, I am continuing my studies at the College of Executive Coaching where I am working toward fulfilling the requirements for a professional certified coach credential through the International Coaching Federation. I am also enrolled in their postgraduate certificate program in positive psychology, health, and wellness coaching. I am always striving to learn more so I can perform at my very best.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, hiking, snowshoeing, traveling, gardening and cooking. I absolutely love being outdoors enjoying nature.
Please look at my CV to learn more about my career history.
To learn more about my training in speciality areas, please look at my Specialty Training Summary.
- American Psychological Association, member
- American Psychological Association, Division 47, Society for Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, member
- American Psychological Association, Division 17, Society for Counseling Psychology, member
- Association for Applied Sport Psychology, professional member
- International Coaching Federation, member
Recent Professional Activities and Interviews
Stephen, L. M. (2021, January). Mental Skills and Imagery in Athletic Training and Physical Therapy. Presentation at the Postural Restoration Institute: Lincoln, Nebraska.
Stephen, L. M. (2020, Dec). Negative Thoughts and Emotions Impeding Progress. Presentation with the Postural Restoration Institute Program at the Postural Restoration Institute: Lincoln, Nebraska.
Stephen, L. M. (2020, Nov). Enhancing Communication and Connection with the Physical/Athletic Therapist and Client. Presentation at Postural Restoration Institute: Lincoln, Nebraska.
Contributed on background (2019, Dec). Grit or Quit column, “This is How the Strength Myth Crumbles” Men’s Health.
Interview (2019, Jan). So You Blew the Game. Here’s How to Get Over It and Win Again. Men’s Health.
Stephen, L. M. (2019, Feb). Vassar Rise Student-Athlete Mental Skills Training. Workshop delivered to Vassar College: Poughkeepsie, New York.
Stephen, L. M. (2018, May). Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescent Athletes: We Can Make a Difference. Workshop delivered to the Green Mountain Valley School Alpine Program: Waitsfield, Vermont.
Stephen, L. M. (2017, Nov and 2018, Dec). Mental Skills Team Training. Workshop delivered to Vassar College Women’s Basketball Program: Poughkeepsie, New York.