Credentials and Credibility

NaBloPoMo 2020 – Today’s Lesson

Who do you trust?  Why? 

Margo and I were friends.  So when she recommended Christine as a life coach, I trusted enough to make the call.  I had no idea what a life coach was; “CPCC” was meaningless to me.  But after the intake call, her credibility and expertise were well-established, and she has been my coach ever since.  That was 2005.

I spent $900 and a weekend on Zoom last month for Ozan Varol’s Moonshot Academy.  I trusted in the value of the experience based on my interaction with Ozan’s Inner Circle to date—for two days I would give and receive peer coaching in a creative and challenging environment.  And bonus, I met Andrew, Kes, and Nicole.  Each of us aims to learn, share, expand our horizons, and do more good, hallelujah!

Kes’s last blog post goaded me to differentiate between credentials and credibility—my own and others’ alike.  Do I deserve your trust in clinic just by virtue of my MD?  What about when I speak and write on communication and leadership?  Why should you trust me?  Why should I trust you?

What are credentials?  My list includes education, work/life experience, recommendations/references, and body of work (eg peer reviewed publications). 

What establishes credibility?  My list: Attitude (humility, honesty, curiosity, reciprocity); consistency and integrity; purpose; quality of relationships (and thus references).  Christine’s credentials are solid.  Like any good professional she expands her expertise with continuous study.  But her credibility stems from her honesty and integrity—who she is.  It’s why I refer patients and friends.  Their feedback glows, and Christine’s credibility expands.

So perhaps credentials are superficial—what we’ve done, what’s immediately visible…  And credibility is deep—who we are, what we’re about.  I know which is more important to me.

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