The story about Starbucks being found guilty of disability discrimination has been in the news recently (click here).

We work with lots of employees and organisations are struggling with dyslexia – the role isn’t working out and no one knows what to do!  Avoiding a tribunal is the most important outcome and finding a way forward is possible.

I asked our Director of Coaching, Cheryl Winter, what she would have recommended to Starbucks if we had been involved.  Cheryl suggested that we could have worked with Mrs Kumulchew directly in a strategy coaching programme.  This would probably have involved:

  • Reflecting on her strengths of great customer service – how does she do what she does
  • Checking out her memory: how does she remember the client orders and get it right- does she repeat or tap into her visual memory
  • Reflecting on her previous success: How had she got to the role of Supervisor in the first place, what strengths did she use, how did she learn other tasks
  • Building a model for how she learns at her best – reflecting on previous things she has learnt to do ‘
Then, having grown in confidence by recognising her strengths and how they help her:
  • Help her to understand how her visual memory works for her- generally we know this is one of the wonderful strengths of dyslexic thinkers.
  • Build a strategy with her for being in the ‘right state’ for that piece of her role
  • Remove any distractions before commencing the task
  • Coach her into visualising the numbers before transferring these over


Our research shows that coaching programmes can be a very effective intervention.



And for Starbucks?

An Inclusion Awareness Training for the team or a Co-coaching session for Ms Kumulchew and her Manager would help everyone understand how dyslexia affects adults (clue… it’s not always literacy).  Following the co-coaching and training Starbucks management would understand more about how to agree a move forward and reasonable adjustments that might help in the future…..
Genius Within CIC provide this service to 1000 clients per year.  Please do get in touch with Molly and our lovely customer service team if you are experiencing any of these difficulties, either as an employee or line manager – we can help!

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