Self-Coaching for Trading Newbies - - Financial Market Media No. 1 in the World Self-Coaching for Trading Newbies Self-Coaching for Trading Newbies

March 16, 2021

Self-Coaching for Trading Newbies

 Take a look around the internet for fund performance reports. I bet you’ll see that there are professional traders or managers who are seriously lagging behind benchmarks, a smaller group who are in the middle of the pack, and then very few (both known and unknown) who are having rock star years.

Now that everyone has access to the same information, the difference between the performance results is arguably the level of skill an individual or team has in understanding forex market behavior, consistent execution, avoiding mistakes, minimizing losses, and maximizing opportunities.

One of the best ways to overcome the long learning curve and shorten the road to competency – and eventually skill mastery – is having a mentor or coach to guide the way.

Unfortunately, unless you’re among the few who has worked their way into a hedge fund, proprietary trading firm, or institutional trading team, your access to an experienced and willing coach is probably slim to none.

And yes, there are knowledgeable and talented individuals all across the internet (including in our super cool forex forum) who enjoy sharing what they do and willing to give out general advice, but most of these folks don’t have the time or ability to do the things that a coach does:

Records and analysis your effort and results.

Observes and identifies any psychological roadblocks.

Prescribe ways to improve trading processes or techniques specific to you.

Motivates you when you need it.

Fortunately, there is an alternative that can be effective and it won’t cost you a dime: self-coaching!

Self-coaching involves doing all of the above-mentioned tasks on yourself, which to some, probably doesn’t make sense to do. “How do I (a non-experienced, wannabe forex newb) coach myself to perform better?” Well, here’s the first thing to know: A coach is not necessarily a teacher.

While the two roles can be blended and a coach can teach, a coach’s main job is to lead, observe, redirect, and motivate that individual or team to doing the right things to achieve the goal.

Before one can be coachable, they must have the fundamental skills of their chosen profession internalized. A master sushi chef doesn’t say to his apprentice, “this is how you cook rice” every time the apprentice needs to do so. The apprentice is shown maybe once or twice (or maybe he already knows the skill) and is then sent off to do it. The master chef will check out the apprentice’s work and then give guidelines on how to do it better next time.

In the world of forex trading, you should have all of the fundamental knowledge and trading skills (e.g., understanding market behavior, entry/exit frameworks, trade/risk management, position sizing, etc.) locked down before taking trades and being coached (no coach wants to waste their time on someone who isn’t serious).

The great thing is that forex trading concepts and techniques are mostly simple to understand, and can be found for free in our Trading Tips or learned from folks willing to share all throughout the internet. Once you’re past the initial learning stage and have chosen a basic trading framework that you feel fits you, then the self-coaching (i.e., the real work of a trader) really begins.

The self-coaching process is very simple and at a bare minimum, only requires three things:

A forex trading journal,

Lots of self reflection and being honest about yourself, and

Writing it all down.

Being able to screenshot forex charts and markin’ them up would make the process more efficient, as well as keeping a spreadsheet of your trading data, but if you have great attention to detail and you’re good with words, then it’s possible to work your way to the competency stage of development by diligently keeping a simple written journal.

The basic self-coaching process is the same as what a coach does:

1. Observe and record everything.

Write down your efforts, plans, and any mistakes and observations about yourself and market behavior that need to be addressed. Remember, what isn’t measured can’t be managed or improved.

2. Review your observations.

With the solid fundamental forex trading knowledge and skillset already acquired, review your observations and determine how you can make better decisions or improve the trading process.

Again, trading concepts are pretty simple and only requires common sense to improve and avoid mistakes. But you have to ask A LOT of questions. Don’t just look at a winning trade and think, “I should have had a bigger gain.”

Ask yourself questions to find out how to improve. Was my target appropriate? Should I have added to my position in this environment? Was my entry the best in this particular situation? If you really need help, show your journal to others for feedback.

3. Create guidelines.

With your self analysis (or tips from others), create guidelines to help you avoid bad trading habits and to remember to practice good trading habits for future trading sessions. With time and practice, this can be internalized, but you should make it a habit to review it regularly.

Write down why you got into trading and/or your life goals. Review every day to motivate you. You will need to do this because there will be days (very many in the beginning) where trading will not fun (READ: profitable).

4. Rinse, repeat and stay focused.

That’s it, forex folks. Simple, but not easy as this will obviously be a lot of work. A lot of the questions you ask yourself to improve will take time, and maybe some experimentation, before you find the right answer that fits you.

And don’t think this process only applies to discretionary traders, chartists, or mechanical traders. Robots need to be watch and improved upon as well, and as with any other tool, applied to the situation it was made for.

Keep in mind that there is no guarantee of success in anything we do, even when years of hard work is applied. This is especially true in the world of trading and investing as it will always be a game of probabilities.

But the one thing that I can say is that without a process of deliberate practice and reflection like self-coaching, your probability of success in this business is significantly reduced; maybe even zero.

So, don’t just look at charts, aimlessly buy or sell, call it day, and then grab a drink with friends to celebrate (or sulk) over your trading session…grab your journal and get to work!