Over the years, I've found that coaching clients don't always come in with a request for a specific course of action. They are often in search of fresh perspectives which they can then integrate into their own approaches. They've already examined a topic with their associates and they'd like a person with gray hair, a few scars, and a completely independent attitude to tell them something new.
Their unspoken question is "What am I missing?"
This can be fun because the consultant gets to play Sherlock Holmes.
That's not necessarily difficult because in many instances the client knows the situation but simply wants confirmation. In others, the answer has been standing in front of the client but the management team is so close to the situation that the problem has blended in with the background. As someone once noted, "It's difficult to see the picture when you're standing inside the frame."
Of course, there may not be a problem at all. Things are cruising along and the client just wants some advice on how to get better.
Those are the most enjoyable sessions of all.