Keeping up with Coach Karina with Karina Bognon

08 / 04 / 2024

Read Time 5 minutes

Coach Karina has been in the game for almost two decades. And her passion for her job is evident. As a coach, Karina has helped 1000s of individuals with professional and life coaching, while her background in recruitment meant she had the honour of placing over 60 000 people in jobs. Despite Karina’s obvious propensity for people and coaching, she refuses to put herself into one sort of box. “Life’s not one-dimensional!” she says.

Karina started in the corporate world at the tender age of 18, before moving on to get her triple degree in human behaviour, which certainly paved the way for her current passion. However, Karina ended up in ICU in 2010, which caused her to take a step back and re-evaluate her life. “I wanted to change my profession because I was burning out, and I reached the real ceiling. I was a director at 27. I was in the corporate world since the beginning of my career. It was beautiful and wonderful, I learned so much and kept a curious mindset. But I needed to make a change,” she admits.

Coaching Becomes a Calling

It wasn’t long before Karina found her calling as a professional and life coach, even penning a book on preparing people for the workplace, climbing the corporate ladder, conflict resolution and maintaining a life-work balance. “I lot of people simply do not look at their future, even in the most nurturing environments,” she says.

“As a coach, I provide individuals with the tools to set up their career trajectory, especially for those in their 30s and 40s. Retirement comes so quickly, so it’s important to have a goal, followed by a strategy. Then the real work begins as it’s time to take action and deliver, deliver, deliver.”

War on talent

While her job is working with individuals to find their skills and passion, Karina also believes that the onus is on the employer to identify key individuals and don’t get too complacent. “When it comes to employees, happiness is a serious factor to consider. Don’t just assume they will stick around. They want to be validated and appreciated, and the best way to do this is through promotions, salary increases and opportunities.”

“Are you meeting with your guys regularly? Or are you meeting up just once a year during the performance review? Would you go on a date with your spouse just once a year? No, otherwise you won’t stay married. It’s the same concept between employer and employees.”

She continues, “When I coach employees, I teach them how to have intelligent conversations about their career path. The truth is there is a war on talent. What employers want to see is people who are thirsty. They want employees who put their hands up to learn and grow. They want proactive people. The world is there for those who are thirsty. For those who make things happen.”

Encouraging empowered individuals

Karina also talks about the importance of employers encouraging their staff to be empowered. But what does an empowered individual in the workplace mean? “It’s an individual with a growth mindset. These individuals know how to work hard and plan for the future. They know how to negotiate a salary increase. They know how to ask for a promotion, or at least put themselves on the path for a promotion.”

“That said, not everyone wants to be leaders. Some people are very happy just doing their job and not managing other people. As leaders, you must have those conversations with your employees to find out where they see themselves within the company and in their careers in five, ten, and 15 years. You must be careful with who you promote. Are you setting them up for success, or are you setting them up for failure?”

Performance Mindset

What’s really important is diversification within the team. “It’s always beneficial to have different types of team members – some who have agency and some who don’t. Some with high IQs and others with high EQs. There isn’t one pill that makes us all happy, successful, healthy, intelligent, or confident individuals. Everyone is different and it’s something we should be embracing.”

Karina also comments on a book called The Success Factor by Ruth Godwin, which talks about the four traits of high achievers. Number 1: Intrinsic motivation. Number 2: Perseverance. Number 3: Strong foundation. Number 4: Learning through informal means. “According to Ruth, these are the traits that lead to high performers. I believe mentorship, which falls within the informal learning trait, is incredibly important. If employees seek out mentors and meet with those mentors regularly, the trajectory will be outstanding.”

She continues, “There’s a behavioural equation from German American psychologist Kurt Lewin. It states that an individual’s behaviour is a function of the person, including the history, personality, and motivation, and the environment, which includes both their physical and social surroundings. So, this is almost like a beautiful equation, a beautiful formula to understand how some people cannot see their full potential. And so, a lot of mentoring, training, education and coaching must be applied to those individuals. While this may seem like a lot of effort to put into an individual just to get their job done, some people are certainly worth every penny of investment.”

Karina’s final thoughts for employers wanting to harness the talents of their people? “Get together, invite conversations, and learn to shut up as leaders. Ask your employees what they want and how they want their future to look. What are their ideas? And then take notes. Learn to have radical honesty in your business, and your employees will grow with you.”


This post is based on an episode of The Agile CTO podcast. Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

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