Over the last ten years or so, I have taught and coached several hundred traders through my workshops and coaching programs. It has been very interesting for me to observe different types of behaviors and varied results in these people.
I started categorizing different learning styles of my students and I noticed several types or phases that I actually went through myself as a developing trader. For 2-3 years early on, I was a Window Shopper. Then after a short phase of being Stuck-in-Frustration, I started to Rule-Tweak other systems to create my own new system. Then, after a couple of years of Fine-Tuning my systems during the Super Trader Program, I was ready to trade in production mode. This whole process took me many years.
Recently, however, I have found that becoming profitable does not have to take years. Through my experiences and experiments as a teacher and coach, I am now convinced that you can become a profitable trader in a much shorter amount of time – and I wholeheartedly wish this for you. How long you take to become profitable depends in part on your learning type and what you do after you learn a trading system.
Some time back, I wrote a well-received article about several categories of distinct Learning Types I noticed in traders attending my workshops. The Types have their individual pros and cons and I can clearly describe them as well as make recommendations about how each one can become a better trader. Since I wrote that article, I have been asking myself the following question: How do individual Learning Types determine success in implementing the trading systems back at home?
To read the original article about the Eight Learning Types, click here: “What Learning Type Are You?” The following figure is a quick overview of the Learning Types –
From the article: What Learning Type Are You?, Tharp’s Thoughts Newsletter, September 2017 (#857)
Implementation Success by Types
Once I understood and identified these diverse types, I wondered how each behaves and progresses once the workshop is over. That picture is diverse and person-specific, however, over the last several years, I have found that certain types progress considerably better, faster, and easier than others.
Let’s take the example of Type 7 – the Clinger. This Type tends to be the most successful in terms of learning speed, efficiency and implementation accuracy of the systems taught. Clingers can learn to flawlessly execute the systems in a very, very short time. Surprisingly, this does not depend much on the amount of previous trading experience. I have seen several cases of complete novice traders who developed into mature traders executing these systems making consistent real money in less than 6 months!
Let’s have a look at each of the Types.
Type 1 – the Window Shopper
Having been a Window Shopper myself in my earlier days as a trader, I know this can be an important phase of orientation for traders. Once the workshop ends, typically I do not hear much from a Window Shopper anymore. A small percentage of them, maybe 3-5%, actually contact me months or even years later once they have made their mind up to seek a closer collaboration to learn to trade my systems. Though being late movers, they tend to become the most loyal students.
Window Shoppers represent about 5-10% of my systems workshop attendees.
Types 2/3 – the Fine Tuner / Rule Tweaker
Category 2 and 3 have the most questions for maybe the 2-3 months following the workshop. Both types do not necessarily want to trade the systems in the same way I do; they want to develop their own systems. So they come up with lots of questions on the systems to fully understand them. Then, they can adapt the systems better to their liking. I am not against this approach at all, however, it does take much longer for them to become successful. Why? They have to develop their own rules and then this represents a new system. Every new system needs to be tested, fine-tuned, and traded with a very small position size, then refined over and over again until the system becomes really good and solidly productive. This whole process typically takes 1.5 to 2 years at a minimum.
Fine Tuners and Rule Tweakers together represent about 20% of my workshop attendees.
Types 4/5 – the Lost in Space / Stuck in Frustration
These two types represent the majority of people who attend my workshops. These types also overlap a lot with the Clinger (You’ll notice that the percentages for the types do not add up to 100% exactly). It seems a pity that many traders have to go through this kind of stage until they are ready to “cling.” Once someone is ready to be a Clinger, they receive direction as well as invest the required time & effort to become successful.
I learned over the years that there is a certain ideal amount of “supportive struggle” where you leave your comfort zone and reach the stretch zone. Applying the concepts of Deliberate Practice then leads into states of exponential skill growth— which I offer my students after the workshop.
Obviously, anyone who is over-frustrated and completely lost, needs to get out of this state as fast as possible. How? Having an experienced trader as a guide and relying on a group of like-minded traders has been generating great results so far. I have watched attendees who were very lost or stuck develop a lot of positive momentum which has led to huge trader growth.
These 2 learning types represent about 60% of my workshop attendees.
Types 6 – the U Turner
This Type is a very special and very small category of people, however, it is also the most painful for me!
Very successful traders that have put a lot of effort might become a U Turner and this happens especially when they have just made a major break-through. These mature traders have a very short way to go to become consistently profitable with new systems. But as the label indicates, U-Turners can turn around and leave the systems – never looking back. I believe their actions arise from their subconscious as their reasons for abandoning the systems do not make logical sense most of the time. I think a belief kicks in that says, “I have done that, been successful, let’s look for something else to prove myself”. Unfortunately, learning and mastering any new system requires much more time and much more effort.
The U Turner represents about 2-3% of my workshop attendees.
Types 7 – the Clinger
This Type is very goal-oriented and focused so progress comes very fast and in a very efficient way. Nowadays, whenever I want to learn something new for myself, I become a Clinger. It actually makes the most sense of all Types. Why? Following expert guidance without the need to doubt, deviate or argue over the task is the most efficient, fastest, and energy-saving way to grow as a trader. Surely, this is easier said than done because being a Clinger has to completely trust the “Coach” and the methods.
Clingers represent about 60% of my workshop attendees.
Types 8 – the Novice
This Type represents another special Learning Type and overlaps with both Types 4 and 7 (Lost-in-Space and Clinger). It’s no surprise that Trader Novices get confused easily and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of trading information available with so many websites promoting another Holy Grail indicator or strategy. Novices find trusting a trading coach much easier than an experienced trader who has already ingrained very specific trading beliefs and behaviors.
In just the last year, I found out that Novices don’t necessarily take longer to learn systems than experienced traders. A Novice can build everything on the green lawn while an experienced trader might need to unbuild some structures first. In addition, experienced traders may have ingrained some psychological issues and accumulated trading pains that he or she might need to dissolve first. I have watched Novices who decide to become a Clinger go off “like a rocket” in their trader development. The transformation into a mature and profitable trader can happen in less than 6 months!
Knowing more about who you are and where you are on your trading journey is the first step. Coming to learn with the right mindset can lead you to great success in a very short time. Make 2021 a very successful year for you!
Looking forward to meeting you in person soon,
PS — Gabriel teaches his Forex Trading Systems Workshop in March.
Gabriel is a successful full-time trader and graduate of the Super Trader Program in 2010. He has more than 35 years of successful trading experience trading Futures, Forex, Cryptos, Stocks and Options. Though Gabriel had a very successful corporate career at PIMCO and Allianz GI, he accomplished his dream of being an independent trader after completing the ST program. With a passion for learning & growth, he shares his trading expertise through Workshops, Group Mentoring and Individual Coaching. Gabriel is known for developing trader talent and from his Workshops we see full-time traders emerge regularly. Part of his personal mission is to develop successful trader talent within less than 8 months.