Friday, May 30, 2014

Finding and Transcending Trading Mentors

The recent post on mentorship and coaching emphasized the importance of both role modeling and skill building in developing elite performance.  

A perusal of StockTwits uncovers a variety of experienced traders who have offered guidance to others.  A few that come to mind are Brian Shannon of AlphaTrends, David Blair of CrosshairsTrader, Steve Spencer and Mike Bellafiore of SMB, Jim Dalton of J. Dalton Trading,  Terry Liberman of WindoTrader, and Charles Kirk of The Kirk Report.  If there are others you recommend who offer mentorship either formally/commercially or informally, please feel free to make suggestions via comments to this post.

Charles Kirk recently posted an article that emphasized the need to eliminate hero worship from trading.  He makes excellent points:  independence of thought is essential to trading success.  It is difficult to stick with an idea if it is not genuinely *your* idea.

One of the great transformations that occurs during mentorship and coaching is the transition from hero worship to a stage of greater independence.  Budding artists begin by copying the masters but, as they master elements of their craft, they experiment and discover their own "voice".  Similarly, a new quarterback on the football field will start out starry eyed in worship of a legendary coach, but eventually will have the confidence to call an audible and change the planned play.

A child misses something in development if he or she doesn't have parents who are heroes.  That child also misses something if he or she does not evolve beyond hero worship.  It's the hero worship that facilitates an early internalization of attitudes and skills.  It's emotional and intellectual independence that allows one to cultivate new attitudes and skills.

If you read the biographies of successful traders, you'll find that most were mentored by successful traders--and yet none ended up as clones of their mentors.  Who among experienced traders hasn't been inspired by one or more of the Market Wizards captured by Jack Schwager?  But in markets, as in Oz, Wizards look quite different from the other side of the curtain.  In recognizing the limitations of our heroes, we take the next steps in finding our greatness.

Further Reading:  The Heroic Dimensions of Trading