Jess Thirlby

Teams mirror your energy

Latest Podcast

Listen now: Apple | Spotify  | Google

Our Great Coach this week is English netball coach Jess Thirlby. 

Like many Great Coaches, Jess first became involved with her sport as a player, representing England in youth teams all the way to senior team. During this time she had her first experience of coaching, simultaneously playing the sport while coaching the England National Youth teams. 

At the age of 26 Jess retired from playing and transitioned into full-time coaching with a position at the Celtic Dragons. In 2008 she returned to Team Bath, for whom she had once been a player, and led them to 3 super league titles before serving as the team’s Director of Netball. 

In 2019 Jess was appointed as the head coach of the senior England netball team and, in 2024, her contribution to netball was recognised when she was officially inducted into the University of Bath Hall of Fame for Sport. 

Make sure that you give the episode a listen to hear Jess’ insightful take on leadership and coaching. Some personal highlights that stood out to me from the interview were:

  • Why she feels that it’s critical to help people enjoy the slog that leads to achieving success.

  • How the desire to build connections across the team drives her actions. 

  • Her realisation that a team’s performance often mirrors the energy and mindset of its leader. 

  • Her views on the power of challenging people, and the very deliberate way that she goes about building the team environment in order to facilitate this type of communication. 

As always, I hope that you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it - I’d love to hear which points in particular resonated with you. 

Asking Questions as a Leader

We always say that there’s no algorithm for leadership and this is also true of ‘being led’.

Just as each leader is unique and brings different skills and experiences to the table, players, team members and athletes will also respond differently to various leadership techniques and approaches. 

In this clip from our previous interview with Mike Hesson, he discusses the idea that most players and athletes will have worked with a number of different coaches and teams prior to meeting you and that -as a leader- it’s important to ask the right questions in order to uncover and understand the ways in which you can build upon those experiences and genuinely add value.  

If you enjoyed this clip, you’ll find many more on our website covering a wide variety of leadership topics - just click the button below to explore the library!

If a friend, colleague, or family member shared this newsletter with you, why not subscribe to start receiving your own copy each week?

It’s completely free to sign up, and all you need to do is click the button below and register your email address.

Deschamps’ Potential “Double-Double”

This year’s UEFA European Football Championship is well underway, casting a shining light on the careers and skills of players and coaches from across Europe that you may or may not have previously been familiar with. 

One name that many football (soccer) fans probably will be familiar with is that of Didier Deschamps, who has coached the French national team since 2012. 

Having won a European Championship during his playing days as a defensive midfielder, success this year in Germany could see him become the second person to win a European Championship as both a player and a manager - the “double double”. 

Deschamps’ journey from celebrated player to highly-respected manager is an interesting one, and this article from BBC Sport gives a great overview of both his playing and coaching careers. 

Elevate Your Leadership

The coaching team at Elevated Leadership have lived and led teams in multiple countries, allowing them to see leadership from numerous and diverse informed perspectives.

We understand the challenge of having to step up and forward in times of uncertainty, as well as the pressure that arises from having to manage time, people, and expectations.

Get in touch today to learn more:
[email protected]


This newsletter is brought to you by Macquarie University Business School’s MBA program. Designed to empower, challenge and transform, the Macquarie MBA gives you the business skills and knowledge you need to succeed in an evolving global economy.

Contact Us

If you have any feedback or if you would like to speak to us directly feel free to contact us at [email protected].