High Performance Leadership – Lessons from Elite Sport

Key facts

  • Study mode and duration: Online
  • Delivery Dates:

    • Autumn 2023 (2pm to 6pm UK time) - to be confirmed
  • Guest speakers from the world of football including Jürgen Klinsmann, Mike Phelan, Dave Horrocks, Karen Carney & Ebru Koksal

Study with us

The High Performance Leadership programme is delivered in partnership by Strathclyde Business School and Longford International College.

Strathclyde Business School holds triple accreditation from the three main business school accreditation bodies - AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB. The school has been recognised for the outstanding support it has given to Scottish businesses, particularly in innovation and leadership. This is demonstrated through the school being the first in Scotland to be awarded the Small Business Charter Award.

Longford International College specialises in providing business and sport-science-related courses. The institution stands out from its competitors through its close professional ties in the sporting industry.

Through this partnership, the High Performance Leadership programme has been designed to upskill leaders in creating and managing complex teams, through lessons learned from elite sport.

Participant profile

The High Impact Leadership Programme is designed for executives with significant experience in leadership roles. The programme welcomes participants from all functions and units within all sectors and will benefit a range of candidates – from C-suite leaders, high-potentials or experienced technical specialists who have come to leadership positions later in their careers to those trying to understand how leadership relates to performance.

The programme uses a range of perspectives, tools, frameworks and styles needed to make both incremental and transformational change. Our specialist will guide you in how to lead across cultures, and how to lead and respond to personal, organisational and societal change.

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Course impact & relevance

Our organisational landscape has never been more complex or more turbulent. This represents a pivot point that's likely to lead to generational changes in our personal, societal and organisational worlds - both in predictable ways and in others that we're yet to fully understand.

The importance of our organisations in surviving and rebuilding post-pandemic cannot be exaggerated – they are the engine that drives the global economy and give meaning and purpose to those who work in them. They provide the goods and services that will create the necessary innovation, technology and science to create opportunities.

The High Performance Leadership programme explores leadership skills for the complex and dynamic modern workplace. This unique programme combines the knowledge, skills and experience of some of the world’s most influential and successful sports managers with the most up-to-date practitioner and academic thinking. The programme takes a holistic approach to leadership and considers context, culture decision making and retaining & developing talent.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

Guest speakers

Jürgen Klinsmann – professional football manager & former player

Jürgen Klinsmann.

Jürgen Klinsmann played for several prominent clubs in Europe including VfB Stuttgart, Inter Milan, AS Monaco, Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich. His teams twice won the UEFA Cup, and his individual honours include being named Footballer of the Year in both Germany and England as well as coming in third in 1995 in voting for the FIFA World Player of the Year.

At the national team level, Klinsmann was Germany’s premier striker during his career, scoring in all major international tournaments he participated in from EURO 1988 to the 1998 FIFA World Cup besides winning the bronze medal in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. All told Klinsmann collected 108 caps for Germany, scoring 47 goals and ranks sixth all-time scorer in the FIFA World Cups with a total of 11 goals. He was part of the West German team that won the 1990 FIFA World Cup and captained the unified German team that won the 1996 UEFA European Championship. On November 3rd, 2016, he became only the fifth player to be named as an honorary captain of the German national football team.

As a manager, Klinsmann led the German National Team to third place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup and subsequently coached other notable teams including Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and the United States National Team.

After retiring as a player, Klinsmann became a principal in SoccerSolutions, LLC, a consultancy specializing in strategic planning, brand development, organizational alignment, and business opportunities. Clients have included professional teams, national nonprofit organizations, and top brands associated with soccer such as Adidas, Coca-Cola, MasterCard, and McDonald’s. Klinsmann has also represented Germany on trade missions. When he is managing teams, Klinsmann does not engage in consulting.

To assist children in need, Klinsmann founded the children’s charity organization AGAPEDIA, which runs projects in Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Georgia. AGAPEDIA has been operating since 1995.

Klinsmann is fluent in Italian, French and English besides his native German. He is a commercial helicopter pilot and enjoys flying on a regular base. In addition, Klinsmann is the co-owner of SILVERLAKES PARK, a 24- field facility serving youth soccer in Southern California.

Karen Carney - professional football pundit, commentator & former player

Karen Carney holding a Hall of Fame award.

Karen is the lead female football analyst and pundit for men's and women's football on Sky Sports, and now also the lead female for ITV's 2022/2023 football coverage. Most recently Karen has become the newly appointed Chair of the Future of Women's Football Review for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, looking into ways the Government can nurture and expand the game in the UK.

With 144 caps Karen Carney is England’s third-most capped player having made her international debut in 2005 at 17. As a former player for both England's Lionesses and Chelsea Ladies FC, Karen's expertise and experience playing at the very highest level of women's football at a Champions League final and competing at four World Cups and four European Championships. She also played for Team GB at the London Olympics in 2012.

Karen's most recent participation was at the 2019 World Cup in France where she announced her retirement from playing which has seen led Karen to become a much sought-after broadcaster.

After beginning her broadcast career covering all football with the BBC and BT Sport, she is now across Sky Sports Football output as their lead pundit for the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, and part of the matchday team for the Premier League and the EFL. From providing expert studio analysis in the UK, Karen hopped across the pond, delivering nationwide commentary on the UEFA Champions League for CBS in America.

Awarded an MBE in the 2017 New Year's Honours List for her services to football which was followed in 2021 with an induction into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame, where judges voted unanimously to include her “in recognition of her outstanding football career, her involvement in advancing women’s football and her overall contribution to the game on and off the field”.

She made her senior debut for England aged 17, against Italy in 2005. Her success was only just beginning when later that year she became an integral part of the team at the UEFA Women's Euro 2005, scoring a last-minute, game-winning goal in the win over Finland. At club level, Karen played for Arsenal FC, Birmingham City FC (becoming the first woman inducted into the club's hall of fame), and Chelsea Ladies FC. She also took her football skills stateside playing a season in the USA with the Chicago Red Stars where her roommate was Megan Rapinoe.

Mike Phelan – professional football coach & former player

Mike Phelan on the touchline at Old Trafford.

Considered one of the most astute coaching minds in the game, Mike Phelan was an integral part of Manchester United’s most successful years, as right-hand man to Sir Alex Ferguson, when the club dominated Premier League.

United, of course, are much more than a football club and in his years at Old Trafford Mike has seen from the inside how United transformed themselves into a multi-million-pound business and global brand.

Mike is now back at the club with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer drawing on his vast experience and knowledge as United seek to return to the summit of English and European football.

Phelan is a rare case of someone has played for the club, then coached at all levels before finally becoming assistant manager. Before returning to United, he also had a spell as a Premier League manager at Hull City, a consultant technical director in Australia’s A-League, worked in television as a pundit and set up his own business in the online retail sector.

After making his name as a player with Burnley and Norwich City (winning league championships with both clubs), Mike, moved to United in 1989 and a year later he won the FA Cup. In 1991 he was part of the team which won the European Cup Winners Cup and then the Premier League in 1993.

Under Ferguson, United won 13 Premier League titles as well as two Champions League titles and a host of domestic Cups. With 26 major honours across a variety of roles, Mike knows how to win and from a multitude of perspectives.

He has coached the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes. Phelan is also a keen observer of the business world as he searches out cutting edge, innovative ideas and cites the likes of Google, Disney, NASA, and Nike among others as influences on his business acumen.

Mike brings all this experience to Insight’s courses and boot-camps, providing fascinating and valuable insights into preparation and decision-making, working with different generations of talent, how to operate in the ‘challenge state’ and what makes the difference between good and great and above all, what makes a winner.

Ebru Köksal, CFA – Chair of Women in Football

Ebru-Koksal speaking.

Ebru Köksal began her professional career in New York, as a financial analyst in Corporate Finance at Morgan Stanley, before moving back to Turkey to serve as a senior manager at Citibank between 1992 and 1999. In 1999, she joined private equity fund of AIG as a VP, before joining Galatasaray Sports Club in 2001.

Ebru has held several senior positions at Galatasaray including, Galatasaray Marketing General Manager (2001 – 2006), Galatasaray SC Marketing and Finance Group Head (2006 – 2009), Galatasaray Stadium General Manager (2009 – 2010). Following the merger of football, stadium and marketing companies in 2010, she was appointed as the General Manager of the merged entity, Galatasaray Sportif A.Ş.

She was the first woman to be elected to the Executive Board of European Club Association in September 2010 and she served as the vice chairwoman of Institutional Relations Working Group. In October 2011, she was appointed as the General Secretary of Turkish Football Federation and led a restructuring and corporate efficiency project, which was highly praised by FIFA.

She was the recipient of the Executive of the Year Award 2011 by Stadium Business Awards and the 1st ever Making a Difference Award by HBS Executive Education in 2018. Ebru served as a Board Member at Galatasaray Sports Club between June 2013 – May 2015 and besides assuming the role of General Secretary for the Board, she was responsible from Foreign Relations, Stadium and Football Academy.

Ebru is the Chair of the progressive organisation 'Women in Football' who are driving for positive change in the sporting industry.

Why this course?

The programme consists of four intensive workshops delivered live via our Virtual Learning Platform. You'll learn the techniques to lead and develop high-performance teams that will add value and purpose to your organisation.

Drawing on the skills and experience of World Cup winners, elite sporting managers, world-class academics and global practitioners, we'll investigate how to develop your capabilities to lead using practical tools, case studies and frameworks from Strathclyde Business School and Longford International College.

You'll hear insights and reflections from a host of elite sportspeople who have led teams on a global stage.

The programme aims to equip you with the ability to:

  • navigate the dynamics of leadership in an increasingly complex world
  • develop and lead teams effectively
  • improve performance and effectiveness of individuals and teams

We'll explore your strengths and weaknesses as a leader, help you to learn to articulate your vision and impact on your organisation’s goals, examine the way decisions are made in organisations, and the role of leadership in driving change.

You'll hear insights and reflections from a host of elite sportspeople who have led teams on a global stage.

Educational Aim

As organisations navigate the ever-changing business landscape, this programme supports leaders to:

  • appraise the latest thinking and practice on leadership from elite sport
  • apply this expertise to drive team performance and consistency

Learning Objectives

By the end of this programme, you'll be able to:

  • evaluate the characteristics of a high-performing team, and reflect on your own leadership behaviours in order to enhance team performance and engagement
  • formulate your own talent management practices and construct proposals for better selection, development, retention and diversity
  • lead the application of strategy, often in response to digital disruption, by building team capabilities for success and fostering a productive, collaborative culture
  • sponsor major change in your organisation, and support your people through the inevitable resistance that transformations provoke
  • evaluate on your own capabilities and performance as a leader through engagement with peers and tutors
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Course content

Influencing, Motivating & Building Engagement

High-performance cultures not only bring out the best in our people, but attract the best people to the fold, giving organisations a significant competitive advantage. (HBR 2021).

As we emerge from a global pandemic; the challenge of leadership has never been greater; how do leaders effectively influence, motivate and engage their teams to create the environment and behaviours for high performance? The balance has changed, as people seek a greater sense of shared values and purpose; for leaders this requires appropriate levers and a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators to build trust and cohesion within teams and create a culture of high performance and talented achievers. 

We will explore what this means for you as a leader and the ways in which you can influence, motivate and engage others to create an environment and culture for high performance.

Taught by Marina Livingstone – Programme Director, Strathclyde Executive Education & Development

Marina is a highly motivated and experienced Strategic Business Transformation Professional and Coach with a proven track record in successful delivery of strategy development, business transformation and improvement projects and a passion for facilitating and supporting people development to align talent and leadership with strategic initiatives. Her experience spans the entire spectrum of organisational design, change management and leadership development aligned with business strategy and financial management.

She has significant experience across public and private sector organisations and academia in a powerful combination of hands-on management and operations roles within industry and as a Senior Consultant with two major international Consulting Firms. Her interests span many aspects of professional development and cultures, she loves to explore new perspectives and make connections between them. She also combines Leadership Development and Coaching with a role in Executive Education as a Programme Director and Educator on International MBA Programmes.

Developing Talent in a Competitive World

In the modern era, and certainly post-covid, organisations are increasingly put under pressure to ensure that they have the best talent available. The big challenge is to attract the best talent, but an even bigger challenge is to retain them. There is the old adage of, “if you don’t look after your employees then rest assured that another organisation will look after them for you.

In essence this unit is about how to attract the best talent and once you have them in your organization, how to keep them. We will explore areas of recruitment, selection, development and relevant aspects of leadership. We will then go on to explore the requirements for having an inclusive workforce with an examination of the key areas of diversity management and how they can be beneficial in today’s fiercely competitive global marketplace. It is no longer possible to admit to a lack of cultural intelligence and organizations that seek high levels of performance must embrace diversity – in how they think, act and operate.

Taught by Anthony Birch – Dean of Business School, Longford International College

Tony is an experienced university lecturer and business practitioner. Having served in senior management roles for organisations in many diverse industries, Tony has a particular interest in HRM and Operations Management. Before becoming an academic, he was involved in the restructuring of several companies prior to their sale and flotation.

Tony is an expert in TQM and has led teams in diverse manufacturing companies from heavy industry to pharmaceuticals. Tony is an expert in online learning and is the current director of Longford College’s MBA programme. Tony is currently completing his DBA.

Module - Strategy, Capabilities & a Winning Culture

How do businesses gain a competitive advantage while focusing on their internal resources and lessor on the external aspects?

Despite years of discussion about strategic choices that bring competitive advantage, the disagreements have raged against whether competitive advantage is best understood by looking inwards in the firm, or to its environment.

The tensions between internal strategy are seen principally through the lens of Porter’s 5 Forces or through the lens of the Resource-based View. But, has all this started to change? Is the traditional view of strategy losing its relevance? This module will look at the new force on the scene – digital disruption. Despite years of discussion, understanding what digital transformation means for established companies remains a daunting challenge.

Without a clear understanding, the wrong people are often put in charge, with the wrong resources, and the wrong KPIs, setting the digital transformation project up for failure. It has never been more important to understand that the traditional means of market domination are rapidly being eroded. Integrate or create - the traditional route to market leadership is rapidly disappearing.

Taught by Professor Vincent English – President, Longford International College

Vincent is President of Longford International College and is a Professor of International Business and Strategic Management at the Uninettuno University of Rome. He is also a visiting professor at two other business schools in Naples and Geneva. Vincent holds a PhD in business strategy and numerous other degrees in Law, Education, Physics and Data Analytics from University of Cambridge, Kings College London, Maynooth, Aberdeen and Dublin. Vincent is also attached to the University of Cambridge as a researcher into adult online learning and is a member of their prestigious CEDiR group.

Vincent is also currently CEO of Vernier Europe, a subsidiary of Vernier Software and Technology, the world’s largest manufacturer of digital data collection technologies for schools. He has extensive experience of international business in many different sectors, including educational materials and equipment, retail, and engineering.

Vincent has founded several successful companies and has served as Managing Director of companies in Ireland and the UK for the past 25 years. He has worked at all levels in firms in the SME sector and has extensive experience in marketing, project management, mentoring, international distributor, and sourcing of products. Vincent was voted the Entrepreneur of the Year in 2020 in Longford, Ireland.

Leading Change & Transformation

Too often ambitious strategies land badly in the business, business cases aren’t fully realised, technology improvements take longer and cost more than anyone anticipated.

The often-quoted McKinsey research tells us that 70% of programmes fail to achieve their goals.  Leaders – often with the battle-scars to show for it – know they need to do better on leading change.  

Now in 2022, there’s no going back.  Every leader knows no company will revert – entirely – to 2019 business models.  So, what does it take to transform the organisation?  

This module will look at the leadership role in change and transformation, covering: 

  1. what does it mean to be transformational – how does it differ from leadership more generally? 
  2. what the data tells us about why so many changes fail
  3. the role of leaders – the leadership skills and behaviours that help to secure success
  4. creating a compelling case for change, including genuine urgency
  5. the role of resilience among people making the change
Taught by Mary Galbraith – Programme Director, Strathclyde Executive Education & Development

Mary is a Programme Director in our Executive Education & Development team. Prior to this role she has held leadership positions in major transformation programmes for a wide range of organisations, both public and private sector. She spent 14 years with major international consulting firms, latterly at Director level, and also works independently, advising on strategic change. Her sectoral experience ranges from energy to automotive, broadcasting to pharmaceuticals, and healthcare to policing.

This work has extended across all parts of the UK and the rest of Europe, Africa, north America and south east Asia. In these programmes she has coached and developed executives to be better sponsors and leaders of change. She has focused on ensuring that engagement with stakeholders is embedded and genuine, and is done to build meaningful commitment and active advocacy. A particular interest is ensuring that the compelling case for change is evidenced and articulated for all affected audiences.

Mary has operated at non-executive level for education, arts and healthcare entities, is currently a member of the Scottish FA Equality & Diversity board, and is a Fellow of the RSA.

Mary has recently been appointed as Independent Non-Executive Chair of the Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL).

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Fees & funding

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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Programme cost


Strathclyde alumni


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There are no educational or experiential entry requirements for this course, but we suggest that it is suitable for those that currently lead teams in a senior position.

Applications for this course are currently closed.

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Contact us

Jacqui McKay

Executive Relationships Coordinator

Email: Jacqui.mckay@strath.ac.uk