I have a deep interest in working on performance, engagement and leadership problems worth solving and courageous conversations worth having. A naturally curious soul and engaging storyteller, I will challenge your current thinking.

For more than 25 years I have been grappling with the issues of leadership, being human and developing performance. Through a professional career in leadership in industries as diverse as logistics, construction, commodity brokerage and tropical agribusiness (among some others), I have learned a lot  about what works and what doesn’t. Leadership is integral to performance, both good and bad.



In 2011 I took the step into the world of solopreneurship with the grand intention of transforming the world of work. Based on a belief that the construct of leadership is broken, I am working with leaders to open the doors to high performance and create an environment that improves the lives of people at work, enabling them to do their best work.

I originally studied accountancy but realised early on that it was not for me and never worked in the profession. Subsequently, I embarked on a journey that led me to uncover a passion for people. My focus now is on working with people to perform at their highest level, while becoming a human of deep integrity, respect and openness.
Let’s face it, leading well is hard. People present all sorts of challenges and leading well means meeting those challenges courageously, compassionately and empathetically, in a way that engages. High performance leadership is about leading in a way that creates real engagement, that creates excitement and a willingness to solve the leadership problems that hold people back. We want people to come to work because they want to, not because the have to.

The business world has a major problem. Too many people are just doing enough to fulfil the most basic needs of their job. This is not their fault necessarily. This is a failure of leadership and the solution is to be found in the way we lead. How we make people feel about the work.

I  have been fortunate to have had some truly awful leaders, and a few great ones too. I have observed, studied and questioned all sorts of leaders. None of them want to be poor leaders. They want to do a good job. My aim is to  support those that want to do great leadership work, to build teams and organisations that are great.

Life is messy. We all have a story to tell and scars to show. I am proud of my stories and scars, they are who I am.

I am ignited by adventures, both intellectual and physical. Meaningful problems worth solving excite me just as much as climbing a big mountain, running an ultramarathon or travelling to places that most won’t go. 

I have had successes and failures. I have been through things that should have broken my spirit, but didn’t. From running a mountain ultra-marathon solo, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, a lifetime involved in sport and growing a successful business to being arrested in Ghana, divorce, obesity, bankruptcy and years of an anxiety,panic disorder and ADHD, all intermingled. 

These are the things that build resilience, that teach lessons if you can bring yourself to see them.

Brian Downes Leadership Coaching

I have pushed myself physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually – sometimes winning, sometimes losing, always learning.

What I remember most in all of this are the people that I have encountered along the way and what I have observed from my mine, and others, dark sides. How we behave when faced with adversity.

I am inspired and energised by many of these people, most of whom you have never heard of. I continue to learn, be inspired and energised by people, by humanity and by experiences, everyday.

Making a difference

I discovered that I could make a difference and realised what I wanted to do. I want to make the world of work a better place to be, a place that encourages honesty, creativity, challenge, constructive conflict. To help create leadership, cultures and environments that people engage with and perform through.

Brian Downes Leadership Coaching
Brian Downes Leadership Coaching