5 Tips for Choosing a Great Trading Mentor

mentorA trading mentor is someone who you pay to help you learn how to trade binary options.  Trading mentors typically provide their customers with an abundance of resources and training materials.  These may include articles, eBooks, video tutorials, a private discussion forum, trading alerts, systems, and one-on-one coaching.  You can learn how to trade without a mentor, but a mentor can cut months or years off of your journey, if you find the right one.  In this article, I offer a few tips for choosing a trading mentor.  Here are some more.

  1. Look for a mentor with a believable history.

Be very wary of trading coaches who have some kind of rags-to-riches story that has absolutely no viability.  This means having realistic expectations yourself, because there is no other way for you to evaluate the stories told by someone else.  This does not mean that your trading coach didn’t have a rags-to-riches story, but it should not go like this: “I started trading with $100 in 1979, and within five years, I was a millionaire.”

That is simply not how trading works in real life, as much as we would like to believe otherwise.  A mentor who tells you that is lying, probably about far more than that.  A trading mentor may have come from modest beginnings, but the story of how he or she became successful should have its ups and downs.  It needs to be something that could have happened in the real world.  Here is what a more realistic story looks like:

“I started trading with $100 in 1979, and blew my first account inside three months.  Two years later I tried again with $2,000, after years of testing and hard work, and I managed to break even the first couple of months.  I started turning a minor profit after a few more months.  Ten years later, I had $20,000 in my account, and I was finally trading for a living.  I have been trading for a living ever since, and I’m finally living comfortably and traveling.”

Your trading mentor should be honest about all of his or her past mistakes, and about the struggle to overcome.  Because those are the kinds of mistakes you are likely to make.  A mentor can help prevent them by offering you the benefit of his or her experience.  Moreover, a mentor who is honest about mistakes and the struggles of his or her trading career is probably honest about the services he or she offers.

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  1. Look for someone who will help you to find your own way.

Do not confuse a trading mentor with somebody who is selling trading systems.  Your mentor may offer you trading strategies as part of the coaching package, but ultimately your mentor’s job is to help you find your trading style and your trading system.  You may end up using a system that your mentor provides (or a variation of it), but you may also end up using a completely unrelated system.  Either way, your mentor should be able to provide you with help developing or using your system of choice.

Don’t be afraid to check out signal services as well.

  1. A mentor should excel at expressing complex ideas in simple, straightforward ways.

Trading is a very complex activity in many ways.  Systems, analysis, and other aspects of trading can make trading look unapproachable to many (just consider the reactions you have gotten from people you have told about trading).  But at its heart, trading can be very simple and elegant.  In fact, the most successful traders are usually those who can boil down all that complexity to discover that simple essence.  Likewise, a good trading coach is going to be able to help you to do just that.  Look for a mentor who can distill the simple essence of trading from all that complexity and present it in a clear, easy-to-understand format.

How can you find out about a trading mentor’s style?  Have a look around his website and download any free materials which are available.  A lot of mentors offer free eBooks.  Trial membership may also be available.  If the materials you read are overly complex or ambiguous, you should go elsewhere.  Look for material that is presented clearly and succinctly, and takes the mystery out of trading.

  1. Owning an island is not a criteria for being a great teacher—teaching well is.

Okay, so maybe not an island.  But you will run into a lot of trading teachers who present themselves as desirable mentors because they are supposedly wildly successful and swimming in vast riches.  But a mentor really does not need to be a millionaire or a billionaire to teach a great course, or provide excellent one-on-one coaching.  A coach does not even technically need to be a great trading success to coach well.  You will sometimes find students attacking teachers because those teachers are making most of their income coaching, not trading.  But there is a huge difference between trading well and teaching well.

A good mentor must understand the essence of good trading, but there is nothing wrong with making an income from teaching if the mentor truly can help students to progress.  And do not forget, not every expert trader can excel at teaching.  Just because someone makes hundreds of thousands of dollars each year trading does not mean that person has any teaching expertise.  And likewise, just because someone doesn’t make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year trading does not mean that person cannot help you do the same.

  1. Look for a comprehensive course.

Learning how to trade is about a lot more than systems, analysis, and mechanics.  It is also about trading psychology and money management.  Furthermore, it is about getting to know yourself and integrate your trading routines into your actual day-to-day life.  At some point, theory has to be put into practice.  A real mentor will help you to do that.  Your instructor will understand the complexities of your real life, and will teach you how to become a trader in the real world—not just what it means to conduct a particular type of analysis or how to trade in theory.

Finding a top-shelf trading coach is not easy, but a great instructor can cut down your learning time and help you to save money by not making costly mistakes.  How should you start your search?  Get on trading communities and talk to people.  Look for referrals, or follow leads from free materials.  And remember, a really good instructor may not even advertise services or offer coaching to students en masse.  If you meet someone who you think can teach you to trade binary options like a pro, consider making that person an offer.  And if you do decide to learn how to trade without the aid of a mentor, do not forget you are not alone.  You still can learn alongside other members of the binary options community when you join forums online.