Friday, May 29, 2015

When Coaching Is Not The Answer

Here are a few situations that I've encountered recently with traders:

*  A trader who showed talent but also tended to overtrade tried psychological exercises, journaling, reading books, and speaking with a coach.  Upon review, the trader appeared to have a lifelong pattern of poor attention.  A more formal evaluation did indeed find evidence of an attention deficit disorder.  The trader started on a new medication and has had far greater success with consistency in his trading.

*  A trader who made bad decisions during moody periods reported getting little joy from trading, despite working long hours.  A thorough evaluation found that he was experiencing little happiness overall, even in situations that normally would make a person happy.  He was evaluated for a form of depression known as dysthymia and started on a medication.  His sleeping, eating, and mood improved, as did his trading.

*  A trader who experienced unusual winning and losing streaks nearly blew up in his trading.  He described a pattern of past overuse of drugs and alcohol, as well as gambling binges.  He recently had been drinking to excess, especially after doing well in his trading.  He entered a program for addictions and began viewing his trading as part of an addictive pattern that he needed to change.

Check out the post on the greatest causes of trading problems that no one talks about.

Sometimes it's not about "controlling your emotions", "following your plan", or any of the well-intended advice given by mentors and coaches.

Sometimes an emotional problem is the result of a diagnosable disorder.   

It starts with a competent evaluation.

Make sure whomever you work with is competent to perform competent evaluations.

Coaches coach.  Mentors mentor.  Very often, they are not qualified to diagnose a disorder; nor are they financially incentivized to make referrals to medical and mental health professionals.  When all you have is a hammer, everything becomes a nail.  But not all problems that affect trading are trading problems.  And sometimes limitations are not just self-imposed beliefs, but very real disorders.

If you've been experiencing repeated problems and self-help has not been enough, reach out for qualified help.  It could make a huge difference in your life--and in your trading.

Further Reading:  Three Things That Can Improve Your Life Now