How To Find A Trading Mentor
Find A Mentor – Not Just An Educator
Learning is a two-way street.
It requires feedback. And as retail traders the only feedback we typically get is from the markets – and it’s usually pretty harsh.
Having a trading mentor or a trading coach can help you on your way much more efficiently and without as much pain. There are many great traders who attribute most or all of their success to having good mentors.
Although I personally have a long way to go before I can call myself a great trader, I owe what little success I have so far entirely to my coaching.
I was very fortunate when I began trading and found some extremely good educators and mentors early on. Part of this was luck, but part of it was pro-activity on my part too.
Every top trader had a mentor, someone older, someone wiser, someone who was willing to show them the ropes. Michael Marcus had Ed Seykota, Paul Tudor Jones had Eli Tullis.Martin Shwartz, Pit Bull
I sought out mentors when I first began forex trading because I knew that there was a lot of misinformation out there about the business and what it takes to be successful as a trader.
The very first thing I did when I decided I wanted to begin trading was keep my ear out for anyone in my social circle who had either traded or knew someone who traded.
The first person to mention a trader to me happened to be my girlfriend. She told me that her boss trades forex, as does his brother, and they were both successful at it.
I immediately jumped on the opportunity and asked her if she could arrange a meeting for me with him. I was nervous, and it was totally out of my character.
But I knew that it was important that I begin on the right foot, so I took a leap of faith and it paid off. This millionaire businessman I’d never met graciously agreed to meet me to talk about whatever I wanted to ask.
Over lunch I asked him every stupid question I could think of about forex trading and took notes. He was extremely gracious and patient as I was clueless at the time and yet that didn’t seem to bother him at all.
It turned out he was an algo trader, using Python scripts to trade his automated strategies while he operated his web development business during the day. Algorithmic trading was obviously way out of my depth at the time, but his advice was extremely helpful.
He told me that he wasn’t going to give me his strategy’s rules. I didn’t ask for them, and I didn’t intend to, but he made it clear that giving me his rules wasn’t going to help me.
Instead what he did was far more valuable.
He told me what I needed to focus on in order to achieve long-term success. He explained the importance of risk management and trading psychology, he told me which brokers were most reputable and what resources I should use to educate myself. He gave me his email and said I could contact him whenever I wanted.
Later he told my girlfriend that he was impressed that I took the initiative to contact him before starting my trading journey. Apparently my nervousness was unnecessary.
Not only was he willing to help me, but he went out of his way for me. He even refused to let me buy his lunch.
I never needed to contact him again however, because I soon found an online mentor (Steven Hart) who fit my technical trading style much better and really propelled my journey forward.
But I am grateful for that generous man’s early guidance and I believe his advice prevented me from starting out much worse than I did.
If you are serious about trading and you discover that someone you know is also involved with trading, then don’t hesitate to contact them.
Let them know you are passionate about trading and that you aren’t going to waste their time. They might say no, but if they do, that probably means they haven’t got much to teach you.
But when they say yes, pick their brain. Don’t be shy.
Great traders love to talk shop when they meet someone who genuinely listens. Be respectful, but take advantage of that whenever you meet them.
They won’t mind.
The only other avenue you have if you can’t find a successful trader you can meet with is online mentorship. This is the easiest and most popular form of trading mentorship, but it is rife with danger.
There are many trading “gurus” out there who claim to be selling mentorship, but really, they’re selling a product or a pipe dream.
True trading mentors will not be pushy. They won’t care if you buy from them or not. They won’t over-hype their services.
A professional forex trading coach I follow named Jason Graystone covered this topic in an excellent video recently. I have never worked with Jason, but he is the real deal and he has a lot of valuable content to share with the trading community.
He breaks down good and bad educators into two groups – one group that is trying to sell you a product and keep you dependent on them (the bad group), and one group that is trying to sell you personal independence (through education – the good group).
Trading education is an extremely important part of your journey as a trader. Without it you are doomed. But the problem is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to trading.
Which means there is a hell of a lot of misinformation out there, ranging from downright lies and fraud to an overwhelming amount of good information, and thus general confusion about what works for you.
A trading coach will help you resolve this. If you are serious about trading and you find a trading style that you like, but you haven’t quite developed the necessary habits and techniques to execute on that style profitably yet, then a mentor will be the final piece of the puzzle for you.
I can say with certainty that if you put in the work, and you find a good mentor that you get along with and you can trust and who has a proven track record, then you will find success as a trader. It is only a matter of time.
A good trading educator will not be just an educator, but also a mentor. They will answer your questions personally. They will give you feedback and suggestions to improve your craft.
If you take their advice seriously, they will take you seriously. There will be no question that you are on the right path. That is how you’ll know if you’ve found a good trading educator.
So then, how do you tell what a bad educator looks like? They can often be hard to recognize until it’s too late and you’ve already paid them money. Like many others, I’ve been caught out by this before.
Well, here is the cheat sheet for identifying bad trading educators.
How To Identify Bad Trading Educators
If they’re putting you off trading, I can guarantee you they’re a pretty good educator.Jason Graystone
What Is Their Philosophy?
What drives them? What motivates them to do what they do?
If they’re all about the money and they always feature their Lambos and Rolexes and luxury hotel rooms and expensive clothes in their content, then beware.
A real trader doesn’t have time for that nonsense. A real trader is humble and hard-working, like any other serious professional. They are not obnoxious, they are not loud and stupid and flashy. Most of them dress like they’re on their day off.
Traders are financially enlightened. They don’t live like high-rolling gamblers, and they don’t buy expensive liabilities like Lamborghinis and mansions – at least not until they can buy them without taking on debt.
And they don’t spend most of their time on beaches or in 5-star hotels sipping cocktails and eating expensive food (unless they’re retired).
Internet marketers do that crap, and it’s all an advertisement and an act. A real trader lives a normal life like anyone else, grinding out their daily work.
The only difference is they have a lot more free time and a better understanding of genuine wealth.
What Is Their Product?
Some trading educators have products that are genuinely helpful.
Of course, all great trading educators will have a high-quality trading course complete with videos and examples and tutorials and all that fun stuff.
But as part of their service they might also sell products such as complex spreadsheets used for backtesting and journaling your trading (which is extremely valuable, as no one in their right mind enjoys creating complex spreadsheets).
Or they might sell an indicator or software tool that makes your life easier as a trader, like automated technical analysis tools such as an Advanced Pattern recognition tool or a dynamic structure indicator (as Tier One Trading do).
These are quite useful tools that are typically reasonably priced or included in your course membership. These are the kinds of things you should expect from an educator.
If the trading educator has “trading robots” for sale like MetaTrader Expert Advisors, or a signal service, or any too-good-to-be-true-but-expensively-priced product, really think hard before you buy.
Put yourself in the shoes of the seller. Do you think they have your best interests at heart, or do they just want your money? Unfortunately, in the real world, most of them just want your money.
So don’t give it to them. Give it to someone who deserves it, who has earned the trading community’s trust, and who has genuine quality to offer.
Pay attention to client testimonials. They are your best way to determine if someone is worth your time and money.
What Are Their Tactics?
Watch out for people operating out of a scarcity mindset.
If they make you feel pressured to buy, then move on to somewhere else. You want a trading coach, not a pushy salesman.
If they are promising you a set amount of return over a set period of time, such as “Earn $100 a day!”, then you’re in the wrong place. There is no such thing as a free lunch in trading.
You have to work hard every step of the way and fight for every point of profit. If they are selling a dream, telling you it’s easy and that you can make a lot of money with minimal effort or time, then they are lying to you.
They are cashing in on your ignorance and impatience. They don’t care about you or your trading success. They just want you to buy their books, or their buggy software, or their rubbish expert advisors.
Check their affiliations. If they are affiliated with a broker and pushing you to sign up to one, then you can be almost certain that they make more money from broker referral commissions than from their actual trading.
Are They Transparent?
Any trading coach or mentor worth your attention will be fully transparent about both trading in general and their own personal trading.
They won’t lie to you. They’ll tell you how hard trading is and they will be open about their own trading struggles and obstacles and will frequently share their insights on how they overcame them.
They will share their trading records or journal with you and be open about their losing trades. In fact, the best ones will focus more on their losing trades than their winning trades.
Once you have a year or two’s worth of experience in trading you should be able to tell when a trading educator is telling the truth.
The best educators will allow you to watch over their shoulder as they trade. They won’t hide anything from you. The biggest value factor of a trading educator is in fact watching them endure drawdowns.
Watching a real trader endure a real drawdown or a brutal losing streak and then come out the other side victorious is the real value of a mentor and trading educator. That’s what you are paying for.
You’re not paying them to be impressed. You’re not paying them for them to show you how good they are.
You’re paying them to help you, and the best traders know that the only way to do that is by leading through example.
As I mentioned in 10 Untold Truths About Trading, trading is a mind game above all else.
A trading coach and mentor will be the light at the end of the tunnel when you think you can’t make it. They will be there to lift you up when you inevitably fall down. They will share the journey with you.
Mike Bellafiore sums it up best: