But what if the answer is No, I’m not credible, or merely an equivocal I think I’m credible, but I’m not sure. In that case, establishing credibility should be your first priority.
Credibility is relational and abstract. It derives not from objective reality. Rather, credibility emerges out of a relationship between two people — specifically, from one person’s preconceived beliefs concerning the other, and from the other’s ability to convey competence. One might say credibility lives at the intersection of prejudice and self-confidence. In other words, credentials count, but credibility grows from the inside out.
What does this mean for you as a mediator? It means you need to be appropriately confident in your skills while also mindful of how others perceive you. A focus on one without the other will not produce credibility.
[Excerpt from the acclaimed field guide for mediators, Mediating for Money: A Field Guide for Professional Mediators]