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The same is true for your trading. Develop and play to your strengths first and foremost, then notice what happens, what is left over in terms of ‘weaknesses’ and then decide to what level they need to be developed , if at all, so that they are not ‘hurting you’.

Identifying Strengths

In my experience as a coach one of the most difficult questions for people to answer with sufficient depth seems to be ‘What are your strengths?’. This is even more interesting in comparison with the ease at which people can answer the question ‘What are your weaknesses?’. One of the reasons behind this is our biological conditioning and bias towards negativity as a survival mechanism, helping us to assess risk and worst case scenarios, another maybe cultural conditioning where self-deprecation of our character is often seen as more acceptable than ‘blowing our own trumpet’.

So how then can we effectively elicit our trading strengths? The answer lies in recent developments in the world of interviewing which has seen a move away from traditional style interview questions such as ‘what are your strengths?’ and towards an approach known as behaviour based interviewing where you ask questions that are focused on actual experiences and then elicit the answers you are looking for from it. For example in trading instead of asking ‘What are your strengths?’ we would ask, ‘Tell me specifically and in as much details as possible about a time when you traded really well or made a great trading decision (regardless of the outcome)’, and then listen to the reply for evidence of what strengths enabled that success/decision. I have noticed significant differences in both the quantity and the quality of information that I have been able to elicit from clients using this approach. Try it for yourself.

Think back to three great trades, trading days or trading decisions (these could be times when you have reduced losses or been disciplined as much as the times when you made big money) that you have made. Recall the events in as much detail as possible. What do you notice? What were you thinking, feeling, doing? What helped you to achieve those successes? Is there anything in common?  What do those experiences say about you as a trader? Write down your responses and insights.

Identifying Strengths

Utilising Strengths

Once you have identified your key strengths the next stage is to ensure that you are fully utilising them and leveraging them. One important way of doing this is to ensure that they are reflected in your trading, that you are where possible hitting the sweetspot, trading at the center of your own personality and strengths and the markets and strategies that are most inline and supported by them.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you to identify your trading sweetspot:

• What are your strengths?

• What do you enjoy doing?

• What are you most interested in, and motivated to do?

• What do you do best in the markets?

• Where have you been most profitable?

Of course the market conditions, your strategies and indeed even yourself will not remain constant over time, and so staying in the sweetspot , or close to it, becomes a dynamic process. One of the keys to longevity in the market is the ability to be able to stretch and flex, both in the short term and in the long term, to be able to adapt to changing conditions and keep performing.

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