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Trading Psychology Advice - 1: Get the Right Kind of Help |
Education Trading Psychology

Trading Psychology Advice – 1: Get the Right Kind of Help


Many times traders fail to reach their potential because they seek the wrong kinds of help.  Early in a trading career, what is needed is mentoring, not primarily psychological coaching.  Consider a young person who is early in their development as a baseball player.  The most helpful help will come from mentors who are familiar with the game and can teach proper ways to stand in the batter’s box, pitches to swing at and let go, ways of adjusting the swing to the placement of the defensive players, ways of recognizing different kinds of pitches, etc. etc.  In copying the guidance of a mentor, the novice performer learns the fundamentals of performance.  Only later in their development do they modify those basic actions based upon experience.  It makes little sense to focus on self-help, psychological advice if performance problems are due to a lack of mastery of basics.

Conversely, the experienced player doesn’t necessarily need to be shown basics.  The problem is implementing those basics with consistency.  This requires coaching from one familiar with the performance domain.  For instance, an experienced trader might have difficulty adapting to a new set of volatile market conditions and become frustrated when losses are larger than expected.  Coaching in such a situation might include techniques for mastering frustration as well as solution-focused efforts to reduce trading size, structure trades for better risk/reward, improve diversification, etc.

Here’s a good way to think of ways to get the right kind of help:

If you lack experience, you need a mentor to show you what to do and how to do it.

If you have trouble drawing upon the experience you have, you need a coach to help you identify what you already do well and how to expand that.

Many developing traders have never seen a bear market, have never traded consistently volatile markets, and have never traded proper trends.  They need to go back to basics and obtain mentoring from those who have been there and done that.  

Experienced traders facing a new environment need to maintain a constructive mindset, focus on what they do best, and figure out how to adapt their strengths to current market conditions.  The right coaching helps the experienced professional become their best version of themselves.  

Turning trading around begins with seeking the right kind of help.  This is an important reason why success rates of traders at top trading firms are so much higher than among traders who try to develop entirely on their own.  When we are part of a team or trading community, we can learn from each other and achieve both mentoring and coaching.  Think of performance domains:  in sports, in the arts, in the military.  There is always mentoring and coaching to further the process of development.  It is very difficult, if not impossible, to find world-class athletes or musicians who are entirely self-taught.  That should tell traders something.
Further Reading:

How Individual Traders Can Benefit From Teamwork

The Power of Mentoring in Trading Success

Selecting a Trading Coach

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