What to look for in a trading mentor, and how to avoid a costly mistake

Have you heard the expression, “Those who can do, those who can’t teach”?

I’ve always felt irritated with that statement, as an unfair slight on the whole teaching profession – and none more so than when I founded Trading College.

This horrid phrase seems to be founded on the assumption that teachers have tried and failed at their intended goal, and have been forced to enter teaching as a Plan B or a second option.

For anyone with young children, the role of the teacher cannot be underestimated. Your child’s teacher is an enormous influence and role model in their lives. From my own school days, I was strongly influenced by my favourite teacher who certainly supported me to follow my goals and dreams of professional sport. The power of the teacher is enormous and their words (positive or negative) can ring in our ears for decades! Who knows where I’d be, had I not had words of encouragement at a critical time.

This week, a group of Trading College students successfully completed their 12 month mentorship programme. We were chatting and congratulating them, and one asked whether there might be opportunities to teach on our programmes. A light bulb moment! I am so glad that she appreciates the value of teaching others. She’s a gifted student, someone who has grasped the concepts well and has committed herself to learning how to trade successfully. She’d be an excellent teacher, I don’t doubt.

I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve been asked why I teach others. It’s true to say that I didn’t really intend to get into trader education and mentorship. I was a professional trader – busy trading my own fund – and that was my sole income. I was perfectly happy with my work. I loved trading with a passion. But I was also single and working alone all week long.

As all my students know, trading can be a lonely profession. There’s often no-one to talk to, no support network, no technical support, no HR service, no Christmas party. For anyone used to teamwork, it’s very quiet. But more importantly, without the natural stimulation of human interaction, something has to fill the void. Traders have reported that they’ve drifted off course, lost sight of their trading plan, forgotten the basics. Bad habits creep in.

For me, teaching and trading mentorship is 3 things:

– A way to give back’ as I’ve certainly been afforded a huge number of opportunities and good luck in my career. I want to pay this forward.

– A vital network of communication, support and structure, which I need as a trader for energy, vitality and well-being.

– A vital method of keeping me on track with the fundamental lessons of trading. It focuses my trading mind and is a good way for me to channel my competitive edge. By constantly teaching the basics of trading – I certainly never forget them!

And without doubt there is no better buzz in the world than a student saying to me, “Thanks Lee, I get it. It’s working. I did well. I’m in profit”. Truly I couldn’t be more pleased to see someone find their way and to succeed at this.

If you’re looking for a trading mentor, you’ll need to see evidence of several things.

Recommendations for finding a personal trading mentor

For me, common sense says that the person needs to have:

1. a proven track record of consistently profitable trading. It’s always best to learn from a trader, not just someone presenting to you who lacks personal experience. A trader who trades their own pot is even more valuable, as this mirrors what you’ll be doing.

2. a long list of testimonials from other recent students. Ask to speak to these

3. qualifications as a trader and a coach.

4. a personalised programme so that you can see in advance what will be delivered and milestones that you’ll be achieving.

5. a support network, both technical and practical, as every new trader requires support along the way.

6. Solid experience of teaching others – very important as not all successful traders can also transmit the info necessary for the student to learn.

Finding the right trading mentor

The right trading mentor will be relatable, and easy to speak to. At Trading College, we like anyone considering a mentorship to come and see us at our ‘Learn to Trade Live’ courses prior to signing up. We assess synergy and make sure that the right coach is allocated to the right student. It’s a no pressure environment designed to help you make a decision that right for you.

Before signing up to a personal trading mentor, you might like to consider checking their website and social media channels to follow their videos and market updates.  It’s worth observing their teaching skills and trading expertise. Also essential is to tune into whether the person is a day trader or swing trader – and whether that’s compatible with your own plans and learning objectives.

By investing a little time on following the mentor and observing their online presence, you could avoid a costly mistake. AVOID – the person who invites you to share their course material, as this person is only interested in reducing their costs and has no interest in your personal success. AVOID – the lure of international brokers promising to trade your funds for you for enormous returns. In our experience these are scams. AVOID – the experienced trader with no experience of teaching at all. AVOID – those lacking in relevant trading qualifications, who may be simply presenting the material created by others with little or no experience.

I founded Trading College 10 years ago, and in that time we’ve seen countless students through our doors. Key questions to ask yourself are:

– How much time do I have to trade?

– Can I commit to day trading, or is swing trading better for me?

– Do I learn best online or face to face?

– What is my risk profile?

– How much am I prepared to commit to learning?

– What am I trying to achieve? What are my goals?

– Is this mentor a qualified trader and experienced teacher with a proven track record of success and excellent reviews?

– Am I happy with a set course, or do I need a personalised training plan to best succeed at this?

In our experience there are few short cuts to trading, and learning to do it for yourself can be a way to earn an exponential income for life.

Things you need to start trading

– An internet connection

– A laptop or computer (see website for detailed specification)

– A broker, plus charts and signals

– A sum of cash to trade with (although you can start learning with a demo account)

– Trader education

– A support network

My advice, don’t rush into this – do your research. Only those less scrupulous will pressure you in to parting with you hard-earned cash. There’s no hard sell here, and there never will be from me.

Take it at your pace, and make sure that you’re right for trading, and that trading’s right for you.

Lee Sandford

And if you’d like to know more, call for a no pressure, no obligation chat anytime.

0203 005 4905 or email chris@tradingcollege.co.uk

Bookings for Learn to Trade Live, our introductory course here: