Trading Coach: Using Neuroscience and Self-discovery

The science of self-discovery helps trading coaches help you.

Even the best traders need a coach
Trading coaches use science to help investors.

Today's post is by Richard Friesen, CEO of Mind Muscle for Traders. Richard works with financial professionals and independent traders to increase their consistent profits using neuroscience. His online courses and intensive trading boot camps are well-known throughout the trading community.

We now know from neuroscience and many behavioral learning experiments, that there are better ways to learn new material and produce behavioral change.

From this vast body of research and knowledge, we can now improve our abilities as trading coaches, to help our clients perform better.

In the old style of coaching, the coach and the client get together and determine new goals for the client. Sometimes these goals are marked with a series of milestones. The coach is there to ensure that the client follows the plan and executes the milestones. Often times, with this external motivation, clients can break old patterns of behaviors and create new behaviors that serve them better.

However, for most of us, we still have the same identity, beliefs, behaviors and skills that keep pulling us back to the old behaviors that produce the old results that we no longer care for. Telling the client what to do can even produce the negative results of stacking on more failures, which result in supporting existing negative beliefs about our behaviors and identity.

It turns out that learning new behaviors is best experienced with a little bit of struggle. Because what we are actually doing is connecting new neural circuits that support new behaviors, we need to make an intentional effort to do this. The effort of working through a problem ourselves and making these neural connections as we go, provides a path for behaviors that serve us better.

So creating an external list and turning them into milestones without that dedicated intentional effort of creating new neural connections, often sets us up for another series of failures.

There are some trading coaches in the industry who have not resolved their own internal conflicts. And if a coach works with the “discipline” model, it is easy to project their own inability to use this dysfunctional model on themselves and try to discipline the trader into better behaviors. As a result, the trader feels like they have another disciplinary voice watching over their shoulder to criticize them when they do not meet their goals.

A trading coach who understands modern neuroscience, how the brain works and how we make new behavioral changes, does not need to use the crazy making model of just pouring on more “discipline.” Rather the trading coach will understand that all behaviors are simply well used neural circuits in our brain that were created at a time they were needed. These beliefs and behaviors were the best choices we had when we were younger and had fewer options. Trying to discipline these neural circuits into not firing starts to seem silly when you think about it.

The first step of a trading coach is to teach their client how to experience creating new neural circuits as a positive feeling.

Once the client gets a feel for the positive new behaviors that result from intentionally creating new neural circuits, the client can then use this self-discovery model to produce more changes that serve them better.

Many studies show that when people understand the process of synaptic change in their brain, new behaviors that serve them better are created more easily. One study in particular looked at two groups engaged in the same brain exercises. One group was taught how the brain changed on a synaptic level, the other wasn’t. The group that understood how the exercises built new neural connections, achieved better results in less time.

The model of thinking about unuseful behaviors as vestigial neural pathways that are no longer needed, not only helps us learn, but reduces the blame and shame we heap upon ourselves when we are experiencing the consequences of our actions.

We can now be simply curious about an unwanted behavior and note what triggers it. Just like in computers, the trading coach and the client can now start to create new behaviors, or new neural connections, using the understanding of how our brain really works.

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