Exeleon Magazine

Dave Bailey: Unleashing the Potential of Leaders

Dave Bailey Leader of the Month_Exeleon Magazine

Being a CEO and leading an organization is a daunting task. The intricacies of the role require skills that aspiring and emerging executives spend decades developing.

The role requires effective leadership.

Without this, all business elements remain inactive. It’s what enables CEOs to maximize productivity and attain business goals.

The road to effective leadership is an unclear path, prompting most CEOs to succumb under pressure and fail.

This heightens the need and importance of an effective coach. Someone who offers a neutral third-party assessment and points out blind spots in the CEOs’ leadership; someone like Dave Bailey!

A leader himself, Dave has leveraged years of experience as an entrepreneur and investor to become one of the top CEO coaches in Europe. He believes in the power of questions, and helps his client’s introspect, gain clarity, and find their own answers.

A Look into Dave’s Journey

It was back in 2008 when Dave began his journey as an entrepreneur. He co-founded a tech company called Ezlearn, based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Oxford University graduate recalls, “It was exciting, and challenging, to build a new business—raising money, recruiting a team, building a product—while learning Portuguese at the same time!”

This willingness to throw himself in new and challenging situations, which goes beyond different geographies, has remained a consistent theme in Dave’s journey.

After exiting Ezlearn, Dave joined a restaurant delivery company, called Delivery Hero, as a late co-founder, looking after Brazilian operations. A couple of years later, he moved back to the UK and went on to co-found another tech company in the event discovery space.

In 2015, Dave began working for a London-based seed fund called Downing Ventures. This was major learning curve in his career. “Working as an investor got me exposure to more entrepreneurs and businesses, as well as a deeper understanding of how to make investing decisions.”

Around this time, Dave started his blog, The Founder Coach, where he shares articles and in-depth guides for founders and investors. This ultimately led him to become a coach, “One of my readers asked me to coach them, and I said yes.”

Dave further asserted, “Coaching, and the ability to get results from other people, has been an amazing experience for me, and one that I wish I’d mastered earlier in my career.”

Moving Past Challenges

As with any other leader or entrepreneur, the journey is filled with challenges. Dave was no exception.

Since starting out as an entrepreneur, Dave faced challenges related to raising money in a bear market, rebuilding a tech platform while growing sales, getting into tricky legal situations, hiring the wrong people, laying off the team, breaking-up ties with a co-founder, and even shutting down a business.

“As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly fighting for company’s survival,” he claims.

He points out that the emotional struggle that comes with these challenging situations makes them even more difficult to tackle. “Almost all founders will suffer from anxiety and sleepless nights, feelings of isolation and loneliness, and heartbreak at points along the way.”

This was one of the key reasons behind Dave’s decision to move into coaching full-time. He aims to provide founders and entrepreneurs with the emotional support that he lacked during his journey. “It’s deeply fulfilling to provide this support to a new generation of entrepreneurs, in a world where external expectations have never been higher.”

Accountability Drives Results

Growing as a leader requires deep inquiry and the courage to act boldly. Dave Bailey is confidante to some of the fastest-growing tech CEOs in the world. He provides them with a safe space for reflection, asking the right questions to help his clients look at problems from multiple angles.

“While the decision is theirs, I’m there to ensure they follow through. Accountability drives results—whether that’s measured in learning or action—and that’s what makes coaching valuable.”

Dave realizes that going from founding a startup to becoming the CEO of a large, complex organization is a massive challenge and his roles allows him to support them on this journey.

Combination of Vulnerability and Vision

Dave stresses the importance of innovation, and how leaders must constantly innovate as things rarely go to plan in real life. “What used to work well suddenly stops being effective, and as problems emerge, solutions are needed.”

However, he’s quick to note that not every problem needs a new and innovative solution. The process of innovation is inherently risky and not every problem needs invention. Instead, Dave suggests smart leaders to inform themselves about existing best practices, and focus their creativity on the areas that truly need it.

As a CEO coach, Dave works alongside CEOs of high growth tech companies, who have a chaotic and dynamic lifestyle. He believes that aligning and motivating a team in a highly uncertain environment requires leaders to provide a clear vision and embrace their own vulnerability.

He explains, “It’s the combination of vulnerability and vision that can win hearts and minds. Vulnerability fosters connection . . . and hearts love connection. Vision clarifies direction . . . and minds love clear direction.”

Road Ahead

Looking forward, Dave Bailey wants to stay at the forefront of leadership coaching to positively impact upcoming entrepreneurs and innovators, who strive to make our world a better place.

“Today, I work with several CEOs of companies valued at over $100M, and I plan to keep coaching in one-on-one and group sessions in the future. Increasingly, I work with a wider ecosystem, including VCs, entrepreneur communities and government bodies around the world, to share best practices and important questions that leaders of the future need to wrestle with,” he concludes.

Website – https://www.dave-bailey.com/

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