The Establishing Credibility Approach

Different people focus on different challenges in their work. Some individuals want to explore the following themes.

“How can I establish credibility? How can I do this in my own way rather try be something I am not?”

The second point is vital. It is important for individuals: a) to be true to themselves; b) to build on their strengths; c) to help others to achieve success.

Some people aim to gain credibility by taking initiatives. They may volunteer their services and perform superb work. This helps them to build trust with potential customers or employers.

Some people aim to get credibility by gaining qualifications. Some aim to get it through self-promotion and bragging. Some aim to get it by trying to win arguments and proving they are Number One.

Looking back, when have you established credibility? You may have done this as a counsellor, teacher, nurse, engineer, leader, business owner, knowledge worker or expert in a specific field. What did you do then to establish credibility?

Imagine that you want to maintain credibility in the future. The following section explores some themes it may be useful to consider.

One key point is worth bearing in mind, however, when considering these themes. It is important to apply the approach that is most appropriate to the situation.

Many people workers, for example, actually start by focusing on the third theme that is described below. They aim to provide practical help that enables the client to get an early success. Getting a quick win helps to build confidence and lay the foundation for their future work together.

Bearing this in mind, here are the themes that it can be useful to consider.

Showing high professional
standards and a pattern of success

Great workers realise they are always on stage. They recognise that other people are watching and will make judgements about what they do and deliver. They therefore maintain high professional standards.

Professionalism is a good starting point, but potential customers also want reassurance. They want to feel confident that the person offering the service has a track record of delivering the goods.

Potential clients want to know what a supplier will deliver – not just what they will do. They want more than a list of experiences and skills. So it can be useful to show a pattern of delivering success.

Different people do this in different ways. Some knowledge workers, for example, prefer to share what has worked – rather than try to sell – and also put people in touch with previous clients.

Showing specialist knowledge in the
area in which people want to succeed

Great workers gain credibility by showing their expertise. They share their knowledge in ways that are informative rather than intimidating.

A good consultant, for example, may clarify a potential client’s agenda and then share the possible options for going forwards. They may say something like the following.

“As far as I understand it, the goals you want to achieve are:

“To …

“To …

“To …

“Some of the potential options for going forwards – together with the pluses and minuses of each approach – include the following.

“Option A is … The pluses and minuses are …

“Option B is … The pluses and minuses are …

“Option C is … The pluses and minuses are …

“Would you like to know more about each of these approaches? If so, I can give your more background and details.”

Such workers demonstrate they know their subject in depth. They often bring the themes to life by moving from the concept to the concrete. They often say:

“Let me give you an example …”

They give specific examples that the listener can relate to and can apply in their life or work. This builds confidence and shows that the worker knows their subject.

Showing you understand people’s
aims and using your strengths
to help them to achieve success

Great workers recognise that people buy success rather than the theory of success. Bearing this in mind, they aim:

To clarify the real results the person – or a group of people – want to achieve;

To use their strengths do superb work, provide great service and find solutions to challenges;

To help the person – or the group of people – to achieve the desired results and, if appropriate, to achieve ongoing success.

Different people apply this approach in different ways, but the key is to deliver the goods. This helps to build a positive reputation.

Let’s return to your own work. Looking to the future, what is the specific activity in which you may wish to develop or maintain credibility? How can you do this in a way that feels comfortable for you?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites to complete the following sentences.

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