The Business of Creativity

Houchin Consulting PLLC

SBC: Conflict Management & Mediation Services

Posted on | April 18, 2011 | No Comments

I’m now offering Conflict Management and Mediation services. However, since I’m not wearing my lawyer hat when I’m in this role, I’m offering these services through The Space Between Center for Creative Spirit in Business. But, I thought I’d at least share an overview of the services here.




Conflict is an unavoidable part of our lives. The question is: How do we handle that conflict? Do we handle it with grace or outrage? Do we look for opportunities in conflict or do we let ourselves stew in anger?

We know our lives are more fulfilling when we are able to prevent most conflicts, while handling the unavoidable conflicts in a healthy, dignified, and proactive way. At The Space Between Center, we believe there is opportunity in every challenge, and healing is available inside every conflict. This is why The Space Between Center for Creative Spirit in Business is proud to offer Conflict Management services for individuals, businesses, and public organizations.

What is Conflict Management?

Conflict Management is a distinctive combination of prevention, resolution, and education services offered to you exclusively by The SBC. Read on to understand how The SBC uniquely weaves together conflict education, prevention, and resolution to provide creative ways to handle conflict in your life and business.

Conflict Education:

Often, conflict can be resolved without the need for third-party help if it’s addressed early. Our education services help you learn how to identify a potential conflict, analyze the issues involved, and work toward an appropriate solution before the conflict has escalated. Think of our third-party mediation services as insurance for the big stuff, while using what you learn in our education services to deal effectively with the little things that come up day-to-day all on your own.

1. Negotiation Coaching

When you don’t need a full mediation process, you will still benefit from some negotiation coaching to help form strategies to make the best deal for achieving your long-term interests. Negotiation coaching focuses on a particular relationship or situation.

2. Negotiation Training

Negotiation training helps you or your group learn the critical interest-based negotiation skills needed in every relationship. Training services are focused on the process of interest-based negotiation generally and are not intent upon resolving any single issue or situation as in our coaching engagements.

3. Negotiation Skills Presentations

The professional conflict managers from The Space Between Center are available to give negotiation and deal-making presentations to your group, team, or organization.

Conflict Prevention

Identifying a conflict after it’s happened is easy. Feelings of anger, hurt, and discontentment come to pervade a relationship–whether in our personal lives or in our business lives–making communication difficult or at worst, impossible. Mediation, arbitration, or litigation, are great tools for settling a conflict after it’s happened.

At The SBC, we believe that conflict management can begin at the start of a relationship. Investing extra time laying the groundwork minimizes potential for future conflict. Granted, this approach isn’t practical for all relationships, but in relationships where stress and conflict could potentially cost a great deal, it makes sense to invest energy forming the relationship correctly right from the start.

Relationship Formation Mediation

Similar to conventional conflict resolution mediation–only without the conflict–our process helps people identify and resolve the key issues in a relationship with the goal of minimizing the potential for future conflict.

When to Use Conflict Prevention Services:

  • Important business deals
  • Multiple owners/investors forming a business
  • Key employee hiring
  • Significant customer contracts
  • Significant supplier contracts
  • Pre-nuptial agreements
  • Public policy making

Conflict Resolution:

Even with extensive planning and foresight, conflict does happen–and it happens everyday. The SBC has a thorough process for humanely and fairly helping you resolve conflicts outside of the legal system–saving you significant time, stress, and money. We offer three approaches.

1. Mediation

We work to help the parties in conflict find their own creative resolution to the conflict. We do not make decisions or sell a specific agenda, but instead provide a safe space and process within which the people searching for resolution can find a solution. We don’t do this the same way as most mediators, so be sure to read the “what makes us different” section of this page.

2. Conflict Assessment

If you’re unsure of whether mediation or coaching will work in your situation, we can conduct an assessment to help identify issues and risks associated with attempting to mediate the conflict.

3. Conflict Coaching

If you would like us to coach you through dealing with a conflict yourself, we’re happy to help counsel you through this stressful situation. This is NOT a legal service. If you need legal counsel in a conflict situation, we can refer you to lawyers we trust.

What Makes SBC Conflict Management Different?

Core Beliefs

  1. More than money is at stake in any conflict.
  2. The mediation process should be used as an opportunity to heal relationships and look for new opportunities for collaboration whenever possible.
  3. Opportunity is hidden in almost every conflict.
  4. Understanding the individual personality types at the negotiation/mediation table is essential for finding resolution.
  5. Given a fair and safe process, most conflicts can be resolved between the parties rather than decided by a third party.
  6. The mediator is NOT the decision-maker. The mediator facilitates resolution between the parties by helping the parties discover and agree upon a solution themselves.
  7. People have done and will do the best they can in any given situation.
  8. Creative solutions are encouraged and honored.
  9. Measures of “quality” are inherently subjective, at least in the creative industries.

Niche Experience

  • Creative Services Industry
  • Technology Entrepreneurs
  • Information Entrepreneurs
  • Internet Marketing
  • Business Start-up
  • Business Divorce

Distinctive Mediation Process

Many of the processes of conflict management are universal, especially in mediation situations. However, at The Space Between Center, we do a few things a bit differently. We think our approach brings added value to the process and increases the chances that you will find a successful resolution to conflict or make a better deal to avoid future conflict.

Focus on Preparation

We invest more energy in preparation than many mediation professionals because we think it is better to go into a mediation session with great information and conscious strategy rather than walking in cold and hoping the process will magically yield a wonderful solution. Because conflicts are the result of personal interaction, we invest time understanding the people and building strategy in two primary ways.

1. Personality Assessment

We ONLY work with conflict when everyone at the table is willing to complete an Enneagram Personality Assessment and share this report with the mediator/coach. This process is built into our engagement fee and allows everyone to understand the personal approaches to conflict, stress, success, and communication much more quickly and accurately than trying to build that picture during the course of the mediation. We encourage (but do not require) both parties to share the top-level results with each other in an effort to facilitate understanding and effective communication. Finally, we believe that the assessment report is a valuable tool for personal understanding and development outside of the mediation context, which insures at least one ongoing beneficial outcome from any conflict.

2. Negotiation Toolkit

We invest significant effort coaching each party to achieve the best result from mediation. This includes:

a. Issue Identification

It’s part of our job to make sure all the issues in the conflict are identified. We may not need to address them all in mediation, but we want to make sure that each party is making conscious choices about what is on the table and what is not.

b. BATNA Definition

Perhaps the most important element of successful conflict resolution or negotiation–especially in the mediation setting–is having a clear statement of your Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement (“BATNA”) or, what happens if we walk away. We’ll make sure you know your BATNA before you come to the table so that you can recognize and accept a better alternative when you see it.

c. Technology Training

Because we use online video conferencing technology during mediation, we make sure that each party has practiced using the technology and is comfortable before the group session(s). We want the technology to assist in resolution, not add anxiety or frustration. We’ll schedule the group meeting only after each party is comfortable and competent using the online systems.

Mediation Technology

In-person mediations are the norm in most firms and we are happy to facilitate in-person, meeting either in our Fort Collins, Colorado offices, or at your location. But, for those of you who do not want to invest the travel time and expense for your team or the mediator, we offer secure, confidential mediation services via the Internet using state-of-the-art video- and audio-conferencing technology. While there are some undeniable advantages to in-person meetings, our investment in pre-mediation preparation combined with the right technology-savvy parties allows for effective online mediation–saving you time, money and stress. The technical requirements are only your telephone, web cam on your computer, and a decent Internet connection.

Agreement Drafting

Many wonderful mediators are not lawyers, and many mediators who were or are lawyers focused their careers in areas other than agreement drafting. The Conflict Management professionals working through The Space Between Center are attorneys who have drafted literally hundreds (probably thousands) of agreements between individuals and businesses. They know how to get the essentials drafted into the resolution document without wasting time and energy on things that just add confusion.


The Space Between Center’s Conflict Management Team is lead by Kevin E. Houchin, Esq. Kevin is the Founder of The Space Between Center, an attorney, and a negotiator with deep experience in the creative business niche. Kevin has been negotiating deals and resolving conflicts for over 20 years.

Other conflict management professionals may be engaged on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of the conflict prevention or resolution situation.

Contact Us.

To discuss hiring The Space Between Center to help with your Conflict Management strategy or situation, please call 1-970-493-1070 or email


Leave a Reply

  • Tags

  • Archives