Typically speaking, when a person brings a coaching issue or problem to you, you might ask, “What do you think?” or “What have you already processed?” And if you take the time to unpack their thinking, what you’ll discover is that they’ll be able to get more clarity in terms of what they already know and what they don’t. Then they’ll be able to pinpoint more clearly what it is they need from you in order to move forward.
I find that people have usually done a lot more thinking than they’ve let on initially. When you ask, “What have you already thought of in regards to that issue?” or “What’s already clear to you about this issue?” you’ll be in a position to help them unpack what they already know.
This line of questioning yields the additional benefit of letting them know you’ll be asking them for their best thinking so far. When they know that, they’ll come more prepared, having thought through things more clearly before they come to you. When they come prepared, the coaching conversation is far more fruitful… because they know what they know and what they don’t know.