When Life Gives You Lemons…Teach Others By, Ken Long

When life gives you lemons, figure out how to make lemonade, then use Scale, Leverage, and Momentum to Innovate. Next, make an Artifact to lock in Innovation-That-Lasts, then Lather-Rinse-Repeat with Continuous Improvement. Finally, Teach Others in order to Learn More.

COVID forced us to adapt the way we teach our Tortoise trading techniques. From long-term core investing, to intermediate-term swing trading to short-term day trading, and the hybrid trading approach which integrates them all in a master trading strategy.

An “instructional coaching” approach when teaching our Tortoise style of trading has proven to be a very effective and practical way to achieve skill development. The improvements in self-directed, autonomous trading proficiency have been remarkable among our applied practitioners.

Instructional coaching is an important and emerging discipline in the world of adult education. It is a body of knowledge that examines HOW we teach expert material to students, and it addresses a real problem in the world—that expertise in content areas does not necessarily come with expertise in how to teach it to others. “How to teach” is its own skill and proficiency which improves the way we teach specific technical skills.

Instructional coaching features a close examination of the skills you aim to develop in the student/performer/trader. The teacher acts as a coach whose intention is to give feedback to the trader in order to develop those skills. The coach designs the sequence of skills so that they are additive and creates practice conditions that start simply, then add complexity, tempo, and friction to get progressively closer to the actual environmental conditions where the skills are executed in real-time. In this model, everything is about the intentional performance.

The steps of instructional coaching:

  1. Identify the target performance you want
  2. Identify the biggest skill gap
  3. Break the skills into components that can be individually practiced
  4. Design the progressive and sequential practices
  5. Facilitate the practices in controlled situations
  6. Give targeted feedback with the increased complexity of practice
  7. Identify and update areas for improved performance

Successful instructional coaching features:

  1. Performers/athletes and traders who are invested in the outcome
  2. Coaches possess strong interpersonal communication skills
  3. Coaches are disciplined in selecting bite-sized steps and give good feedback
  4. Coaches have their own expertise in the skills

Positive impact comes from:

  1. Specificity
  2. The incremental nature of progressive practice
  3. A high level of support while unconsciously adopting new methods and creating new habits

There is a strong evidence base in the scholarly and practitioner literature for the efficacy of instructional coaching within domains of practice.

We are continuing to refine our Tortoise workshops for Foundation, Core, Swing, Day, and Hybrid trading, working on our basic patterns, setups, frames, and refinements for effective trade management. We will be doing bar-by-bar trading workshops starting July 1st that combine home study and focused small group work with the intention of teaching each other how to give feedback about what we see going on. Through this process, each of us learns to look through the eyes of the coach when working together. This dispassionate, all-seeing coaching eye helps us discover our own blind spots by looking for them in others to help them thrive.

The engaged dialogue between trader and coach is how both improve their game.

An example of an emerging insight from this approach was realizing that if you make 10 decisions in the life cycle of a trade, you might have 1 entry, 1 exit and, 8 stop management decisions in between.

  • If you want to improve your discipline, proficiency, and skills, you should consider concentrating on how to standardize and improve your stop management decisions because you do more of that than anything else.
  • Then, you realize the exit decision is made by price when it hits your adjusted stop (unless you Activate Sniper!)…
  • Then you realize that when you adjust a stop you are simply revising and updating your assessment of reward to risk,
  • Which is exactly what you did when you made your entry, when you decided that the reward: risk ratio was favorable to be in the trade according to your chosen parameters and judgment.
  • You then study your performance like a coach, an accountant, and an analyst to adjust your rules and procedures taking good care to make evidence-based judgments.

This instructional coaching approach has had a profound impact on our approach to learning and trading.

We are looking forward to the next leg of our learning journey!

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