Vertical Development: How Grown-ups Grow Up
The Developmental
A Lived Experience of Vertical Growth

A Lived Experience of Vertical Growth

A forensic investigator's journey towards becoming first a leader, then a leadership expert and, in the process, growing into a more conscious, wiser human being.

Through my work, I have been immensely lucky to meet some exceptional humans who have inspired me, taught me precious lessons of wisdom and even offered me the most precious gift of all: their friendship. This episode features one of these remarkable people: Samantha Kropff.

Sam shares with us her journey from being a forensic investigator to becoming a leader and later a leadership development expert and the accompanying transformation she experienced in her work and life. She vulnerably shares the ups and downs of her growth - revelations, setbacks, hard-won lessons and the courageous choice to push herself out of her comfort zone again and again.

Samantha is an inspiring example for every woman who has ever had to find her voice and step into her leadership power, especially when working in male-dominated environments. She is also an advocate for the value of vertical development as a life practice, showing us how incredibly beautiful and painfully messy the journey of human growth can actually be.

Episode Summary:

  • [00:05:30] Sam’s Background: Sam’s career and personal journey towards vertical development.

  • [00:15:45] Redefining vs. Transforming: Differences between the lived experience of Redefining and Transforming. See this previous episode of The Developmental for an overview of the stages of development.

  • [00:25:00] Sam’s Career Change and Identity Shift

  • [00:35:00] Relationship with Time: Evolving from a linear to a flexible perspective on time.

  • [00:45:15] Integrating Shadow Aspects: Importance of integrating shadow aspects in personal growth.

  • [00:55:00] Organizational Change Challenges: Challenges in pushing for change as the chair of a culture reform committee.

  • [01:05:00] The Role of Discomfort in Growth: Discomfort as a catalyst for vertical development.

  • [01:14:00] Closing Thoughts: Final reflections on vertical growth's impact on individuals and organizations.

Guest Bio: Samantha Kropff

Samantha Kropff is a Manager of Leadership Development in NSW Government and also a leadership coach. Samantha has spent her career working in government organisations both in Leadership Development and also as a technical specialist. Samantha is an experienced executive coach, having coached senior police leaders both across Australia as well as 8 international police agencies over the past 4 years.

Samantha started her career as a Forensic Investigator working both nationally and internationally on commonwealth police investigations. Working to dismantle global organised criminal syndicates and also helping Australian citizens or those overseas during times of crisis, such as Timor-Leste to help during civil unrest, deploying to Netherlands to assist with the investigation of the downing of MH17, or deploying interstate to help with fatal bushfires.

Samantha transitioned from investigating crime to using her investigative skills to explore what influences leadership behaviours, and how to support leaders to grow and development, not just as a leader but as a human being. She can see the exponential impact leaders can have on others and organisations, and it is her passion to find ways to support current and aspiring leaders to be the best versions of themselves.

Samantha works with vertical leadership development in her coaching practice and as a leader herself. She is a living example of applying the tool to herself for her own growth and works with leaders who want to do the same. She is especially passionate about supporting female leaders to let go of the conditioning that keeps them small and support them to feel safe to be seen and reach more of their leadership potential.

You can read more about Sam’s work on her website:

Dive deeper

I hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast. If you are curious to dive more deeply into learning about Vertical Development and how it might impact your work and life, check out our online library of webinars and courses accredited by the International Coaching Federation.

Explore the Online Programs Library

Spread the word…

If you want to bring your bit to building a wiser, more conscious world, I hope you share this article with others who could benefit from the learning.


and, if you haven’t done it yet, Subscribe!

Join your nerdy community and let’s keep on staying curious and learning from each other.

Vertical Development: How Grown-ups Grow Up
The Developmental
A podcast about the messy, beautiful ways grown-ups grow up. Leaders, learning experts and developmental researchers come together to explore turning science into the day-to-day practice of adult development in teams, homes, organisations, and life.
Dr Alis Anagnostakis is an adult development researcher, group learning facilitator and founder of the Vertical Development Institute. Her highest hope as a researcher-practitioner is to help support the growth of conscious, mature and future-fit leaders and to bring the tools of vertical development into day-to-day to day life.