Stephen Covey's Habit 5 in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People says 'Seek first to understand, then to be understood'.
If our first task is to listen to you, the client, with a blank sheet of paper and an enquiring mind, our second is to make sure we understand the issue, with its idiosyncrasies and its dependencies.
In our experience, most issues are not neat and linear, do not conform to standard 'problem solving techniques' and are unique to the problem holder. Our aim is to metaphorically come around to your side of the table and see/experience the issue from your standpoint.
Einstein said 'We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that created them'. It is important, therefore, to peel away the layers to expose the issue to be resolved at its core.
Questions can be a useful tool to distinguish the nub of an issue from the symptoms which sometimes cloud it. Taking a painkiller for a headache will mask the symptoms without necessarily solving the problem. Sending a manager who does not want to delegate on a delegation skills workshop will not solve the problem, as it is not a skill-based problem you are dealing with.
Robert Dilts' Logical Levels model can provide a useful basis for determining where the core of a problem lies, and therefore provide us with the right questions to better understand how to resolve it
It is vital that we understand the organisational context, the culture and the political landscape within which change needs to take place. Thought must be given to how such initiatives are introduced, the language to be used and the measures of success to be agreed.