When to Seek a Coach or a Mentor

This is a kind of follow up piece on something I wrote recently (Is It Time for a Trading Coach, Sept 5th). There have been several enquiries about this aspect and I am not surprised, I must say, about the response! People know that there is something not quite right with their lives in the market but many of them are unaware of what exactly is wrong and how to fix it. So when something appears on the horizon, talking about a problem that they may have, it is quite natural for them to respond.

One of the main questions was whether one needs a Coach or a Mentor  to improve. I thought I will touch upon that subject a bit more this time.

You need a coach when you want to develop some specific competence. Such as being able to develop a certain method for trading and investing or develop some specific trait or practice  such as being able to select the proper quantity or set the right kind of stops or spot a good entry or exit opportunity. Then, you would need a coach, if you have been doing trading or investing for a while and not really going anywhere, not meeting your targets, not achieving your potential etc. Another area you may need a coach is of you want to introduce new approaches to trading or investing. A coach can take you where you have not been, because of his superior knowledge of the business or the process or his sheer experience. Another area where a coach is necessary is to improve the efficiency of what you are doing already.  These are all some areas where a Coach could make a significant difference. Remember that a coach works directly with you. Coaching is all about performance. So when you need performance, go for a coach.

You need a mentor when you want to be able to pass on what you know (assuming that it works) to your team or your successor. The mentor understands the levels where the others are and guides both the leader and the team towards a process where this transfer can take place.  You need a Mentor when you already have a process but unable to either apply it or have a faulty application of the same. The mentor can se what impedes the proper implementation of what you already know.  And he helps you overcome them. You need a mentor when you have a good grasp on what you need to do and do it to a good extent too but would still like to have someone whom you can speak to, discuss with so as to produce clarity in your own mind. The mentor can often function as a sounding board for those who have ideas themselves. Finally, a mentor is to be sought when you wish to move into a higher plane where it is not about just trading or investing and making money but it now goes into work-life balance, into the philosophy of life and how to live it better.
Remember that a mentor works either directly or indirectly on you and many times not necessarily with you. Mentoring is all about development. This is beyond performance. Once you are already on the path of performance, seek out a mentor to carry you beyond.

In both cases, you must ready to be coached or mentored. Nothing can happen without that. If you are in love with your doubts and don’t really want to let them go, no coach or mentor can ever help you, for you really don’t want a solution. You just want to prove somehow that it cannot be done. The old adage is also true: when the student is ready, the teacher shall appear. So make yourself ready and leave it to the Universe- it will send the teacher!

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