Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Finding the Right Trading Mentorship

One of the themes emerging from the responses to the recent poll is the need for mentorship in trading.  My experience is that this is a crying need among independent traders.  At many money management firms, a junior professional with unique skills can join an existing team and add value from the start by applying those unique skills.  That creates a situation where the junior professional can learn at the trader's side, both through observation and direct instruction.

The best mentorship I have observed has come from trading teams.  What is typically called "trader education" can provide useful information and perspective, but rarely has the ongoing element of deliberate practice needed for expertise development.  Even at trading firms mentorship can be spotty, as traders are typically compensated for their trading, not their training of others.

In my experience, Charles Kirk stands out as a dedicated mentor.  He works with a subset of members to provide mentorship, but--in an inspired stroke--also requires advanced students to serve as mentors to the newbies.  I have seen a similar dynamic at work at SMB, where there is considerable use of video resources on top of live mentorship from advanced students.  Neither of these is free or cheap, but then again, neither is a quality education at any institution of higher learning.

Many sites in the blogosphere do a good job of education/training, even if it's not the same as trading side by side with a mentor.  Two that I've mentioned recently are Brian Shannon at AlphaTrends and David Blair at Crosshairs Trader; please feel free in the comments section to suggest others.    

I continue to believe that the development of virtual trading groups is a promising way to go for many enterprising independent traders.  Connecting with just a few other dedicated learners and committing to sharing the learning can supercharge learning curves for all.  The key is identifying the right fellow students: ones who are truly committed to be teachers as well as students.  A valuable function of online communities is the opportunity to connect with like minded fellow travelers on the path of trading development.

Further Reading:  Leveraging Learning With Virtual Trading Groups