The problem with being a trader is that, by pure numbers alone, it can be quite a lonesome business. Unless you’re some hotshot working on a trading desk for a bank, or you have control of a proprietary account for an investment firm, you probably won’t get the chance at first-hand, personal interaction with more experienced traders.
For many of us, we have to rely on ourselves to find that mentor who can guide us in our journey to become consistently profitable traders. We have to go through books, forum posts, and blogs to find the most suitable mentor for each of us.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a mentor as a “trusted counselor or guide”. In my opinion though, that definition isn’t enough. Here are some characteristics that I think every mentor should have:
He/she must be credible.
First of all, any good trading mentor must have evidence that he or she knows what he’s talking about. I’m talking about a proven track record (three years should suffice) with detailed records that explain his trading process.
He/she must be able to inspire you.
Second, your mentor has to be someone you look up to. This goes beyond the scope of just trading.
According to BabyPips forum user Mastergunner99, mentoring should go beyond just the forex market. Conversations with your mentor must include topics on goals, relationships, and possibly, faith.
Most importantly, Mastergunner99 believes that your mentor should have your best interests mind and should guide you towards the lifestyle that you aspire to acquire.
You must be able to trust him/her.
Thirdly, you must be able to trust him or her. You have to be able to open up to that person, because not only will you most likely be following his trading style, but he will also be critiquing you as a trader.
If you don’t trust his or her judgment, it will be very hard for you to keep an open mind, keeping you from growing as a trader.
More importantly, down the road, you will eventually move on to live trading. Do you trust this person enough to teach you so that you don’t blow away your hard-earned cash, time, and effort?
He/she must be honest.
As I have said time and again, the forex market is unforgiving. If your mentor promises you 100% success, you better think twice about heeding his advice.
He should be able to make you understand the real-deal and tell you that forex trading ain’t easy business. It is his job as a mentor to prepare you and help you get through those tough times.
He/she must help you be your own trader.
Don’t get me wrong, I advocate having someone else in your trading journey. However, there will be instances when you will have to trade alone. Heck, it would be very hard to find someone in the same timezone as you are.
A good mentor should be able to help you realize and make you confident enough that you will be okay on your own. After all, at the end of the day, you’re still the one making the call on those trades.
I’m not gonna lie, finding the ideal trading mentor with all of the traits mentioned above is like finding a unicorn. However, you can try your luck by interacting with other traders such as those in the BabyPips.com forums, from whom I got some of the ideas for this article.
Just be careful though! Many people, scammers or not, offer mentorship at a price. However, I don’t believe that it is necessary to shell out boatloads of money for a good mentor. Some people, like SimonTemplar, find fulfillment at the mere fact in helping other people.
The way I see it, finding a good mentor depends a lot on you. And I don’t mean by how much money you’re willing to shell out for them.
Mentorship isn’t just a one-way street. You, as the student, stand to gain knowledge and wisdom under a mentor. But what’s in it for him if he decides to put in the time and effort to teach you? For many, it’s the joy of seeing a student grow, and I think many share DoubleEcho’s sentiment that a good mentor would only invest their limited time and resources into a noob who shows the potential for success and that they would work very hard for it.
With that in mind and if you’re seriously thinking about getting a GOOD trading mentor, I think you must first ask yourself, “Am I worth it?”