Amazon reviewer Elijah Chingosho writes: “Good consultants employ Socratic questioning of their clients. Socrates is immortalized at least in part for his teaching approach of asking a line of questions that leads the student to discover answers for themselves. When clients discover answers to their problems, rather than simply hear them from the consultant, they will own the answers. Their ability to hold onto the concepts, apply them, and improve their situation will significantly improve. Therefore, when the author [of the book being reviewed] states that consultants are merely providing information that the client already knows, he is missing the point. What consultants need to learn is to improve their ability to help clients discover (through the use of Socratic questioning), their problems and then come up with practical workable solutions.”
Recommendations and implementation apply as well (in many cases), but that’s a fundamentally sound definition of where a consultant’s true value is derived.
See also: Lessons learned from Hitch