The Best Way To Develop Trading Expertise

Yesterday I participated in a team meeting at SMB where the members reviewed their performance for January. It was striking how many of the traders were working with team members to improve their trading, often by trading shared books. In these shared books, the traders developed ideas jointly and worked through how to trade those ideas. The performance of the joint books was off the charts, and many of those traders made six figures on the month

What's going on here?

Consider three levels of learning:

1)  We can attend seminars, listen to podcasts, etc. where experts tell us how to trade;

2)  We can attend classes where experts teach us how to trade;

3)  We can work as an apprentice to experts to involve ourselves in learning.

What I have found is that the first option is good for conveying information, but has little value in terms of developing expertise. The second option is helpful in terms of describing what to do but is limited in terms of helping us actually achieve the doing. The third option involves hands-on role modeling and mentoring and actually provides real-time feedback on performance for deliberate practice.

The shared trading acts as a vehicle for mentoring and apprenticeship. It creates a structure for using skills, getting feedback, and making improvements--every single day. I see this at hedge funds, and I see it at proprietary trading firms. Mentoring works. Single-shot seminars and classes inform but do not build expertise.

Can we develop processes for mentoring ourselves? In other words, what if we have a wise self that we can tap into as well as a reactive self that makes lots of trading mistakes? Is there a way we can access this wise self and utilize our own experience as a vehicle for mentoring? For many traders, this would be a game-changer. I will be developing this theme and providing examples in upcoming posts.

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