Showing your work can be an important part of designing. If for no other reason than to give yourself an idea of how you work and perhaps even how you think. Showing your work gives you insight to your processes (which you don't necessarily have to share with the client).
I keep a client journal on my desk. Basically, it's a Moleskine® where I write things down, old school. It typically contains a page or two I've written up during my initial telephone interview with a client. I ask a few questions, then listen to their ideas about the design, (the more passionate their ideas, the better). While I listen, I write down key points about shapes, colors, thoughts about their ideal customers, descriptions of the service or product, and even the feelings that it conveys. If a visual pops into my head, I will sketch it out as well.
When it comes down to the design process, I start with an initial concept, and then walk away from it. Leaving a project and then coming back to it later is a great way to give it a fresh look. The second look is then shared and discussed with a second pair of eyes before it goes to the client for review.
At the beginning of 2015, Rolling Rook Studio took on a photographer and design partner who often serves as a second pair of eyes and creative director. It has changed the way we work for the better. Having another visual professional on hand to offer input on projects, has proven to be invaluable, and greatly improved our work.