This article aims to understand the prevalent leadership models in seven prominent leadership development programmes targeting emerging and aspiring civil society leaders in Sweden and the United Kingdom (UK), which have two different civil society regimes. An analytical framework based on ideal-typical leadership models (transactional, transformational and collaborative) helps us distil how programmes conceptualise first the relationship between leaders and the subjects of leadership, and second, how they conceptualise core leadership qualities. Our analysis of documents and interviews with programme designers finds that programmes in both contexts predominantly conceptualise leadership in an individualistic and personalised way. Yet, Swedish programmes have a stronger focus on top-down leadership models, whereas programmes in the UK increasingly incorporate elements of the collaborative leadership model. The identified similarities and differences call for further systematic analysis of the relationship between external, structural and organisational factors and the content of leadership development programmes across civil society regimes.