Self-funded Sabbatical

The question, “what do you do?” has become a bit of a challenge to answer, at least in the short-sentence form that is expected in most social settings. This is because I made a decision in August to resign from a nearly 19-year career with a great Fortune 1000 company and take a sabbatical year to work as an executive coach for nonprofit organizations. Perhaps a bit more explaining is in order.

In 1993, I started with Sigma-Aldrich, answering phones in the Technical Services department. I still can hear the phone ring and my conditioned answer, “Hello, this is Kevin Krosley with Sigma Technical Service, how may I help you?” Fifty calls a day, five days a week, for nearly two years. I’m sure I spoke to about 10,000 customers.

Sigma was great for giving opportunities and I was eager for the next challenge. The result was a series of two-year assignments including: Director of Quality Control, VP or R&D, Corporate Director of M&A, VP of Operations (Packaging and QC), Team Member or Leader on five corporate strategic plans, head of global process improvement efforts, and creator and head of the company’s New Ventures Group. What a wonderful experience it was.

In every role, the most enjoyable aspect for me was partnering with colleagues for the purpose of their personal and professional growth–what is now referred to as “executive coaching.”

Now, let’s mix in three major influences that contributed to the decision to take a break from corporate life. The first is Charles Colson and the Centurion Program. In the one year program, Colson led me through the four questions that every worldview must answer — Where did we come from? What went wrong? What can be done about it? and How now shall we live? That last question brought into focus my desire to live a life of purpose and meaning.

The second influence is John Maxwell and his writing and teaching on leadership. Maxwell says that “everything rises and falls on leadership.” I began believing this eighteen years ago when I read my first Maxwell book – Developing the Leader Within You. I believe it more now with the benefit of having experienced some great leaders, some not so great leaders and the impact that each had on their organizations. Maxwell’s influence in my life expanded last year when I completed certification as a coach, trainer and speaker with the John Maxwell company.

The third major influence in recent years has come in the form of work with a number of nonprofit agencies. I have been inspired by the selfless leadership of a number of executive directors and their teams — out to change the world, often at great personal expense.

What do I do? Well, for this year, I am an executive coach serving nonprofit leaders with the sole purpose of helping them change the world. I am so grateful for the experiences and opportunities of my past. I’m even more thankful for this chance to serve in the present.

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7 Comments

Filed under Coaching Sabbatical

7 responses to “Self-funded Sabbatical

  1. LeeAnn

    Go, go, go! I’m sure many will benefit from your decision.

  2. I was so curious about this when you mentioned it at your place (for the Stuart gathering). Kev, this is so neat! What a cool opportunity and I can’t think of a better guy to do it! I love seeing my fellow brothers-and-sisters in Christ taking a big risk for the Lord. It’s super scary but it always grows us up in Him in great ways. I would understand if you can’t tell us more, but I still hope you’ll document some of the cool experiences you’ve already had doing this. 😀

    • Thanks Tiffany. I currently have twelve nonprofit executives that I’m working with. I’m coaching eight executive directors here in St. Louis and three more in Nashville. I’m also serving on an advisory board for one other nonprofit. I love the work and more than that, I love the people. I will certainly remember this sabbatical year as a high point in my life. Of course, none of it would be possible without the most supportive wife on the planet. Me: Is this crazy? Pam: Yes it’s crazy and you have to do it!
      Wow I love her!

  3. Joey

    I’m interested in the 4 questions that any worldview must answer. I understand the first and last of “where did we come from?” and “how (now) must we live?”, but “what went wrong?” and “what can we do about it?” seem to pre-suppose that things are broken. Isn’t it possible for a worldview to start even more basic without assuming that things are broken?

    • “Isn’t it possible for a worldview to start even more basic without assuming that things are broken?”
      It absolutely is possible for a worldview to answer the question, “what went wrong?” with a single word — nothing. This is the primary answer that is associated with Moral Relativism as a worldview. It requires that we look at the holocaust and Jerry Sandusky and drug abuse and genetic disease without the ability to say that things should be different; without affirming these are not the way it’s supposed to be.
      Every major world religion most strains of secular humanism assert that things are not the way they’re supposed to be. They differ in the cause of the brokenness — sin, mutation, ingnorance, etc.
      Practically, Moral Relativism is not a very easy worldview to live with. People tend to hold the view that there is no such thing as right and wrong up to the point where you take their wallet or punch them in the nose. Then they rapidly become moralists.

  4. Shiv Kumar

    Kevin ,I just saw that you at K-Squared Executive Coaching. I just wanted to know that if you have left Sigma-Aldrich and have joind this institution. I would like to know more about that Institution and what they do. Please write me back if you have time.

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