Managing Your Business
in Times of
SLACK COACHING PLATFORM
Business coaching services provided via this website use the Slack messaging and communications platform to provide fully online, asynchronous client-coach interactions and process narratives
What is Slack?
Slack is a secure, channel-based messaging platform. We use it to provide three capabilities that are essential for our coaching process purposes but that are far beyond what a single website could develop. One primary capability is being able to organize messages into topics, or “channels”. The second capability is message security: see below. Third is ease of use.
Organize messages: The ability to group messages by topic (channel) is extremely important. This avoids having to search through a stack of mostly unrelated messages to find the few that are currently relevant.
Message security: Ensuring security of all communications is absolutely essential in most business coaching and consulting processes. Sensitive topics are frequently addressed and confidentiality is vital.
Ease of use: Although Slack has an imposing number of features and capabilities, its basic messaging functions are known for their ease of use. We use only the most basic functions, ensuring that any client will have no difficulty in communicating over this medium.
Slack encrypts data at rest (i.e., stored on its message servers) and data in transit for all of our customers. For details, see Slack’s Security White Paper.
Data at rest: Data at rest in Slack’s production network is encrypted using FIPS 140-2 compliant encryption standards, which applies to all types of data at rest within Slack’s systems—relational databases, file stores, database backups, etc. All encryption keys are stored in a secure server on a segregated network with very limited access. Slack has implemented appropriate safeguards to protect the creation, storage, retrieval, and destruction of secrets such as encryption keys and service account credentials.
Data in transit: All data transmitted between Slack clients and the Slack service is done so using strong encryption protocols. Slack supports the latest recommended secure cipher suites to encrypt all traffic in transit, including use of TLS 1.2 protocols, AES256 encryption, and SHA2 signatures, whenever supported by the clients.
Coaching Process Mechanics
Many of you will have had experiences with face-to-face, and possibly also video-based (e.g., Zoom), coaching processes. Both require session scheduling (and rescheduling) as to when and where both parties can be simultaneously available (i.e., synchronous communications).
This restriction has become increasingly out of sync with today’s decentralized management processes – decentralized in both time and location. Interactions are much more video-based (Zoom) but these still require synchronicity.
The fundamental and vital requirement of process narratives in coaching is not implicitly addressed. Session notes via email are easy but wholly inadequate.
The asynchronous use of messages (aka emails) to provide a process narrative allows time for thinking. Face-to-face and video/phone interactions require relatively fast responses that may at times be weakly thought-through. Hip-shooting as they called it in the old West.
I have found that thinking time, or as an old associate termed it – “soak time”, may well be the most valuable aspect of this process approach. Each party can take whatever time is needed to think about a response, the consult with associates, and to do some direct research. While responses can of course be almost immediate, there is generally no need for haste.
Thinking time allows responses the be drafted and edited for accuracy, content, and relevance. These thus become almost the best kind of process documentation. The response is part of the process itself rather than an adjunct.
The three process narrative examples may be the best way to illustrate how this works.
You may wonder at this point how complex it might be to set up these mechanics. It is very simple from the client end since almost everything is handled by the coach. If you are familiar with Slack use, a separate Slack workspace will be set up for each client. Topic channels will be added by the coach as the process unfolds and primary topics identified.
What Is the Cost?
Because the major costs of business coaching have been eliminated by this fully online, asynchronous process design, coaching fees can be set quite low. No travel costs, no time consumed by chatty phone calls, no scheduling hassles.
After a good deal of study and thought, the most effective approach to fees seems to be the following:
- A flat monthly fee of $1,000 will be charged, with no limits on interactions.
- The first month will be free so that you can try out the service . No obligation.
- No contract, month-by-month. Cancel at any time.
- We use Stripe Payments for both invoicing and payments.