Lisa M Stephen, Ph.D.

    Peak Performance Coach



    Welcome to my coaching practice. This document constitutes a contract between the client, the client’s parent/legal guardian if they are a minor and me (the “agreement”). Please read it carefully and raise any questions and concerns that you have before you sign it.

    Description of Coaching

    “Coaching is a partnership (defined as an alliance, not a legal business partnership) between the Coach and the Client in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires the client to maximize personal and professional potential. It is designed to facilitate the creation/development of personal, professional or business goals and to develop and carry out a strategy/plan for achieving those goals.”

    (Source: International Coaching Federation Sample Coaching Agreement pg. 2)

    Differences Between Coaching and Psychotherapy

    I have extensive training in coaching through the College of Executive Coaching and I continue to work to develop this expertise. In addition to being a coach, I am also a licensed psychologist in Vermont with training and experience in diagnosing and treating emotional problems. While there are some similarities between coaching and psychotherapy, they are very different activities and it is important that you understand the differences between them. Psychotherapy is a health-care service and is usually reimbursable through health insurance policies. This is not true for coaching. Both coaching and psychotherapy utilize knowledge of human behavior, motivation, and behavioral change. The major differences are in the goals, focus, and level of professional responsibility.

    The primary focus of psychotherapy is the identification, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological disorders. The goals of psychotherapy include alleviating symptoms, understanding the underlying dynamics that create symptoms, changing dysfunctional behaviors that are the result of mental health issues, and developing new strategies for successfully coping with the psychological challenges.

    I cannot be someone’s coach and psychologist. Coaching clients will not receive any type of mental health, custody and/or visitation evaluation from me, nor will they engage in mental health treatment with me. If either of us believes that you would benefit from a mental health intervention, I will give you information about resources. You will be solely responsible for researching options and arranging for your mental health services. Some clients find that they need to take a break from coaching to focus on their mental health needs while engaging in psychotherapy. At other times, clients engage in coaching and psychotherapy concurrently. If you are in therapy it is recommended that you inform your therapist that you are receiving coaching. If you experience a mental health emergency and/or any issue that might impact your safety or the safety of other(s), call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.

    The focus of coaching is the development and implementation of strategies to reach client-identified goals related to enhanced performance and/or satisfaction with a variety of aspects of their life. For example, coaching might address specific personal goals, athletic and artistic performance, life balance, job performance, career satisfaction, and/or other goals in the client’s life. Coaching utilizes strategic planning, values clarification, brainstorming, and the application of positive psychology and coaching techniques. The relationship between the coach and client is specifically designed to avoid the power differential that occurs in the psychotherapy relationship. The coaching relationship is designed to be more direct and challenging than a psychotherapy relationship.

    Coaching is not mental health therapy nor is it a substitute for it. Coaching does not prevent, cure, or treat any mental health or substance abuse issues.

    Coaching – Client Relationship

    I provide in person, phone, and/or online coaching services, which are designed in collaboration with the client and/or their legal guardian/parent. Coaching clients set the coaching agenda. Success depends on the client’s willingness to be honest and try new approaches. I will be honest and straightforward. I will ask powerful questions and use challenging techniques to help you to achieve your goals. You are expected to evaluate progress and if coaching is not working as you wish, you should immediately inform me so we can both take steps to correct the problem. Like all coaches, I cannot guarantee a positive outcome for the services I provide. As such, your signature on this form indicates that you agree that I am not and will not be liable or responsible for any outcomes you experience related to your coaching experience. Either one of us can terminate the coaching relationship.

    Coaching is a professional relationship. While it may often feel like a close personal relationship, it is not one that can extend beyond professional boundaries both during and after our work together. Considerable experience shows that when boundaries blur, the hard won benefits gained from the coaching relationship may be compromised.

    Fee Arrangements

    Coaching sessions will be charged at the rate of $200 per 50 minutes unless the client purchases a package plan. Rates will be prorated as needed. My time spent on client services outside of coaching session time (e.g., scoring and interpreting assessments, planning, and researching) is usually included in the session rate. On rare occasions these tasks require more time than is included in the session fee. If this might occur, I will bring it to your attention in advance to discuss it and, if needed, payment rates can be adjusted. I will not complete any extra work with out your consent.

    Fees for coaching sessions must be paid in advance through my website. Information can be found under the “Services” tab. Payment is due by the first day of the month in which they are provided unless an alternative arrangement is agreed to in advance. Services not paid for in advance will not be provided.

    Cancellation Policy

    You are required to give 24 hours notice if you need to cancel or want to request a change in the appointment time. If you cancel fewer than 24 hours in advance, you will be charged half of the session fee. After the first cancellation with fewer than 24 hours notice, all future cancellations will be charged in full. You will be charged the full session fee for all no shows. I might make exceptions to this policy for occasional urgent medical situations, bad weather and/or a personal emergency.

    I will make every effort to reschedule sessions that are cancelled as soon as my schedule will allow. If you cancel coaching sessions repeatedly and I feel it is disrupting the work, I may discontinue services. I will make every effort to discuss this with you in advance.


    I will protect the confidentiality of our communications consistent with the law and applicable professional ethical standards. I will only release information to others with your written permission, in a true emergency, in response to a court order, or in response to a subpoena. There are some situations in which I am legally obligated to breach confidentiality in order to protect you or others from harm. If I have information that leads me to suspect that a child, elderly or disabled person is being abused and/or neglected, I must report that to the appropriate state agencies. If a client is an imminent risk to them or makes threats of imminent violence against another, I am required to take protective steps. These situations are quite rare in coaching practices. If such a situation occurs in our relationship, I will make every effort to discuss it with you before taking any action.

    As you know, it is impossible to protect the confidentiality of information that is transmitted electronically. This is particularly true of email and information stored on computers that are connected to the Internet, which do not utilize encryption and other forms of security protection. If we communicate via a tele-coaching platform or by phone you must ensure your confidentiality from your location. For example, someone could overhear your discussion if you do not take the steps necessary to ensure your privacy.

    Some sessions are conducted in a group format. By signing this agreement, you commit to maintaining the confidentiality of all information communicated to you by other coaching clients and by me. Sometimes you may feel your progress is enhanced when you discuss your coaching relationship with trusted colleagues, family, and friends. You can have these discussions, but you must not share information that leads to any possibility of the identification of others in the group. If you are ever in doubt regarding what to reveal and what not to reveal, you are expected to not share that information so that you can protect the privacy of others.

    In order to provide the best services possible, I may engage in peer consultation and discuss the themes of meetings without providing identifying information about you.


    A record will be kept in your name. This record will include summaries of each contact and any collateral information received.


    Signature Form

    Your signature below indicates that you have read and understood the Coaching Contract, agree to its terms. You are acknowledging that you have been given information necessary to consent to coaching and are consenting to receive those services. If you are a parent/guardian of a client who is a minor your signature indicates that you have full legal authority to obtain these services for your child. You also acknowledge that you have access to a copy of this contract.

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    For Clients who are minors:

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    PO Box 1034, Jericho, VT 05465 • drstephen@ignitepeakperformance.com • 802-355-9299 • ignitepeakperformance.com

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