This month (March 2022) we released an episode podcast called “The GROW Model”, if you’d like to listen, you can go to our podcast page or use your preferred podcast app and search “Chirping with ABA Owls” – we’re on iTunes, Podbean and other platforms.
If you prefer to read rather than listen, this post will summarise the episode.
The first episode and blog post on the “Training staff” series was an introduction to this topic area, and even though the GROW model is not ABA, we feel that it is a very useful tool that can be combined with ABA procedures.
Disclaimer: Both this post and the podcast episode are in no way meant to be seen as training on the GROW model – we are gathering the resources available online and putting them together in one place.
What is the GROW model?
It was developed in the 1980s in the UK by business coaches Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore. Have a look at their official website for more details into the history of GROW: https://www.performanceconsultants.com/grow-model
It is important to note that the GROW model is copyrighted, but based on what we’ve read on the official website, we think it applies to businesses that want to use it. We’re not sure how that applies to individuals at home. There is an email or contact form provided if you want to seek permission to use GROW in your business or organisation.
GROW stands for: Goal, Reality, Options (or Obstacles) and Will.
Goal – something that you aim for, that’s inspiring. It doesn’t have to be measurable nor detailed. Some people have the goal of being happy, others want to be artists, or become carpenters. Goals are different for everyone.
Reality – what is the current situation? E.g. Little time for x,y,z tasks.
Options or Obstacles – When we were trained, we were taught this section is about the Obstacles standing in your way. However, the official website mentions “Options”. There have been other places where the term “Obstacles” is used. On the performance consultant’s website it is written “Explore the options moving forward” and an example of a question you could ask yourself in this section is “How would you tackle this if time wasn’t an option?”.
Will – What achievable and measurable steps will you take towards your goal? These steps should be something you will commit to. Don’t worry about setting up loads of targets, it’s better to do a few but achievable.
How to use it?
The official website describes the GROW steps, along with examples, and they provide training for people who want to be coaches and for those who want to use GROW themselves.
There are various videos on Youtube about the GROW model, here’s the link for one that we found helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fbooiSh_bA
Why should you use GROW?
We find that GROW is a really good tool to create clear and achievable steps towards an end goal. This method makes end goals feel less daunting and its format reminds us of ABA type ways of breaking down goals into small, achievable steps.
Feeling overwhelmed is something we have all experienced at one time or another – goal can seem out of reach and it’s difficult to know where to start.
GROW founders also advise on their website that this model should be used in conjunction with other tools. They mention “fundamental coaching skills” but since we’re not business coaches, we rely on ABA.
GROW and ABA
To end this post, we will discuss the similarities and differences between GROW and ABA.
1- They both look at the current situation (GROW calls it reality and ABA calls it Baseline)
2- They both use achievable and measurable steps towards an end goal (GROW calls it Will. In ABA it can be called “intervention”).
1- ABA doesn’t use vague goals. In GROW, a person can set up a goal such as “being happy”, but in ABA it’s harder to use a goal like this. It’s not impossible, but we would look at how that person describes “happy” and give it a clear and measurable definition. Happiness means different things to different people, so we would ALWAYS tailor that main goal in terms that are clear and specific for that person.
2- Whilst GROW separates Options (or obstacles) and Will into separate parts, ABA will more likely combine the two. For example, on their website, GROW founders gave the following question as an example for Options: “how would you tackle this if time wasn’t a factor?”.
In ABA, we would use the information given from Options and convert it into targets. Whilst GROW has people separating these into two separate categories, in ABA we are more likely to do this in one go.
As an ABA practitioner you can separate these two, of course – this is especially helpful when you are new to setting targets. Once you become more fluent, you’ll find that you might not need to set up all those questions, options, etc. before deciding targets.
At the end of the day, this is a very good tool to use, whether you are ABA trained or not. We discuss our opinions on this model in more length on our podcast episode – just search “Chirping with ABA Owls” or go to the podcast page on our website.
You can also follow us on Instagram (@ABA_owls), send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a comment below.
Thank you for reading,
Carla and Lauren