Do you know if you or your client is experiencing burnout?


In the Institute of Coaching’s first public webinar of the year, we invited Stanford trained psychologist and executive coach Dr. Jacinta Jiménez to speak on the topic of burnout. The research on burnout has been proceeding for the past several years, however the Covid-19 Pandemic has exacerbated the workplace stress that many individuals experience. Dr. Jacinta highlights a Gallup poll conducted in the USA that showcases America’s rating of mental health has dropped to its lowest since data collection started 2 years ago. 

Burnout is a significant problem internationally. Dr. Jimenez features a statement from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the subject matter, “Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” So what are we to do with the issue of burnout? To start with, Dr. Jacinta’s advice focuses on what she calls the Three R’s to help her clients be resilient against burnout. 

The first of the Three R’s is Recognize. With the essence of this point being the sooner a coach or individual can recognize burnout, the sooner it can be addressed. And burnout isn’t as straightforward as some may believe. Firstly, coaches may want to be familiar with the symptoms of burnout.

  1. Excessive Fatigue
  2. Insomnia
  3. High Blood Pressure
  4. Vulnerability to Illness
  5. Mood Disorders
  6. Increased Mistakes
  7. Decreased Productivity
  8. Loss of Overall Vitality 

Dr. Jacinta equates recognizing burnout to be like a gas tank indicator. An individual may be experiencing one or more of the symptoms of burnout before fully feeling burnt out, so recognizing the different components to the phenomenon can help one realize how low their tank may be. 

The second of the Three R’s is Respond. The popular myth that Dr. Jacinta brings up lies in how we accredit burnout to being the poor coping responsibilities of the individual. However, as noted within the symptoms of burnout, it is not realistic to claim that all responsibility lies within the person experiencing the issue. The reality involves much more such as: organizational environment, team culture, individual choices, and societal factors can all contribute to burnout in individuals. Dr. Jacinta equates the build up of burnout within individuals to occur when there is a mismatch between the work environment and an individual's human capacities. And there are 6 specific mismatches that Dr. Jacinta brings up in her work.

  1. Values – do the individual’s values align with their management and/or company 
  2. Fairness – has the individual experienced inequity within salary negotiations, HR disputes, etc.
  3. Workload – does the individual’s workload exceed the amount of resources they have access to
  4. Reward – does the individual receive rewards (financial, social, intrinsic) for their work
  5. Community – does the individual have a community 
  6. Control – is the individual receiving enough responsibility to feel autonomy 

The final of the Three R’s is Replenish. Ultimately, stress is a human experience that is naturally occurring; however, chronic stress drains the ability we have to respond. Dr. Jacinta brings focus to how socially, we are conditioned to view stress being intertwined with success. This reality is not beneficial for a long-term response to burn-out. Through allowing ourselves to have a healthy balance of stress and self-care, we are able to avoid lowering our tank to dangerous levels and experiencing burnout. Dr. Jacinta’s advice highlights how being knowledgeable in the mismatches that cause burnout, along with the symptoms of burnout, we can articulate where we are at and the best forward steps to make. 

For coaches, understanding the complexity of burnout with its multiple causes and symptoms is crucial in helping your clients avoid and evade burnout. There are many pathways to success, and as a coach recognizing burnout in your clients can help you facilitate their resilience and balance within their careers and personal lives. Dr. Jacinta’s full webinar is on our website here:


IOC's Tips of the Week are authored by Austin Matzelle