McLeish said: "Davey (David Moyes) and I go back a long way and he's done a terrific job at Everton.
"It's actually a good yardstick for aspiring managers in the Premier League to try and get close to what David Moyes has done.
"He's been very diligent and shrewd and there having been stepping stones."
Everton's progression under Moyes has been a gradual one, with the former Preston chief steering the Toffees away from relegation fights and towards regular European qualification.
McLeish added: "They struggled against relegation but look where they are now - but that's not been overnight.
"You have to give Davey a lot of credit for that."